When the Discovery 2 was unleashed on the public during late 1998, other than some new trim and styling changes, aesthetically nothing really appeared to change over the popular Discovery 1. However, under the skin the engineering was improved, drivetrains became more sophisticated and running gear was upgraded.
The option of Active Corning Enhancement (ACE) delivered handling that genuinely was class leading for its day, rigidity was enhanced with the addition of an extra chassis crossmember and track was increased by two inches. An option on higher spec models was self-levelling back air suspension, a fantastic asset for towing. Extending the overhang at the rear by five inches also increased load space, allowing for a more practical working vehicle.
The engine changed from the well-known and loved 300Tdi over to the new, five cylinder, Td5 diesel similar to the Freelander’s Td4 from 2001. Although not improving on the Tdi's fuel efficiency, it provided extra smoothness and torque – making it a real winner. The V8 petrol engine may have sounded great and offered the joys of V8 ownership, but destroying a gallon of petrol every 16 miles explains why it was never a big seller, even when fuel was cheaper.
Although the increases in weight, length and width may have cast doubt on maintaining off-road ability, the addition of traction control and Hill Decent Control (HDC) ensured the Discovery 2 could still mop the floor with its rivals in the rough.
Just to make sure that people knew this, Land Rover even took on a 20,000-mile global journey for the model’s launch in 1998. With prices starting at £25,500 it was good value too, especially when the Range Rover P38 was a £38,975 start for the base model.
So there we have it, think the Discovery 1 and 2 are the same car? Think again. Incredible value for money and utterly brilliant, a properly maintained Discovery 2 is an absolute joy to own and drive. You can find a number of them for sale in the LRO classifieds.