Everyday use: ★★★★☆
Off-road ability: ★★★★☆
Kit & accessories: ★★★★★
Theft of: ★★★☆☆
Theft from: ★☆☆☆☆
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Here are our top tips on things to consider when buying a Discovery 1. Discuss prospective buys on our message boards and for the definitive view, get an LRO buying guide. See below for details.
Cracked bores. Can develop on the 3.9 V8 petrol version of the engine. Look for white exhaust smoke, gradual loss of coolant and radiator hoses that feel hard from pressure inside.
Camshaft rattling. Expect it on start from cold, but it should stop immediately: continued rattling means camshaft and follower wear.
Timing belt. If you're not 100% certain when it was last changed, do it immediately. Early 300s shred timing belts due to misaligned pulleys.
Smoke. Let the engine idle for a minute then rev it: blue smoke is oil (bore wear), while white is water, maybe caused by a cracked block.
Head gaskets. Tend to go at about 150,000 miles.
If you've got a flat spot at 2000-2500 revs and it hardly accelerates from there, the Tdi lift pump is on its way out.
Water leaks. Behind the aluminium housing that holds the water pump is a P-shaped gasket – look for leaks. This should be changed when the water pump is changed but often it isn't.
Stiff gears. If gear selection is stiff on the initial LT77 manual gearbox (changed at 1993), it could be because someone's filled the box with EP90 gear oil – it should be auto transmission fluid.
Whining. Any Disco could have been used for towing, and that can work transmission components very hard. The LT77 will start to whine and feel loose when changing, while the later R380 boxes may crunch when changing into third, or on the third-to-second downchange.
Mainshaft wear. Come on and off the accelerator, listening for slight banging and feeling for hesitation in taking up drive – though this is difficult to distinguish from other driveline wear such as propshaft universal joints and differentials.
SUSPENSION, WHEELS AND TYRES
Worn suspension bushes. Listen for klonks when going over uneven ground with the wheels turned. Steering may also feel a little vague and handling in corners sloppy.
Rear radius arm bushes. Accelerate, then lift your foot off. If there's rear-steering, they're probably worn.
Rusted discs. They go from the outside edges inwards, so there's less braking area. This affects the rear more than the front; wheels may lock up. It's not uncommon for the whole braking system to be neglected so if you're changing discs, it makes sense to change wheel bearings at the same time.
Check brake flexipipe deterioration, corrosion of metal pipework and chafing against the chassis.
Steering wobble. Worn components can give steering wobble, sometimes made worse by worn suspension. A Disco with general wear can steer badly, and fixing just one or two components won't solve the problem. Front swivels are often a contributing factor: DIY-able with care and patience.
Power steering pump. Its central shaft can work forward, push the fan belt, and wear the belt prematurely – listen for the belt chirping. If a new belt tensioner doesn't sort it out, check the pump pulley. There's a lip on each side and the belt must be running central on the pulley. If it isn't, you'll need a new pump.
Leaks. Shine a light under the front of the vehicle, looking out for leaks from power-steering components. The steering column can become stiff. Replacing the joints can improve its feel considerably, but sometimes just a squirt with 3-in-1 oil will fix things.
Starting problems. These are often caused by the immobilizer unit, located on top of the heater housing behind the radio.
Other known electrical issues on the ES and ES Premium models include a jammed sunroof causing the motor to burn out, failed electric seat mechanisms and non-functioning heated seats.
EXTERIOR, BODYWORK AND TRIM
Rust. Front inner wings can rust spectacularly, rotting from the headlights right back through the A-post – and the rears are nearly as bad. Open the front door and shine a bright torch all the way down the A-pillar to check for rust (it's only visible when really bad, unless you remove the plastic sill trim). Rear floors rust horribly and rot can spread to the wheelarches. When bad, even the seatbelt mounts can be pulled right off by hand. While you're at it, look for signs of paintwork blistering and feel around the wheelarches for roughness.
Hinge wear. Open the doors and lift at the outside edge to feel for hinge wear (especially at the rear).
INTERNAL STRUCTURE AND INTERIOR
Leaks. Very common on Discos. Check sunroofs, from the top of the back door, through the footwells if rusted and through rear wheel-arches.
Seats. Fold and unfold all of them, checking for rips and stains. If the driver's seat is like sitting in a bucket, buy a seat diaphragm – it's held with clips.
WHAT TO PAY
For detailed pricing info see the latest issue of Land Rover Owner International magazine.
FASTEST 0-60mph: 10.8sec, 3.9 V8i
SLOWEST 0-60mph: 17.2sec, 300Tdi
FASTEST top speed: 106mph, 3.9 V8i
SLOWEST top speed: 91mph, 300Tdi
HIGHEST POWER: 182bhp at 4750rpm, 3.9 V8i
LOWEST POWER: 111bhp at 4000rpm, 200Tdi
HIGHEST TORQUE: 231lb ft at 2600rpm, 3.9 V8i
LOWEST TORQUE: 140lb ft at 3600rpm, 2.0Mpi
BEST FUEL ECONOMY: 26mpg (combined), 200Tdi/300Tdi
WORST FUEL ECONOMY: 16.5mpg (combined) V8
FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 100 litres
■ COST OF OWNERSHIP
CO2 EMISSIONS: n/a
ANNUAL VED RATE: £215
INSURANCE GROUP: 11 (Mpi), 12 (V8, Tdi)
LEZ COMPLIANT? Yes
WEIGHT: 1919kg (200-series V8) to 2053kg (200Tdi/300Tdi)
LOAD SPACE: 1290 litres (to roof), 1970 litres(seats folded)
APPROACH ANGLE: 40º
DEPARTURE ANGLE: 32.5º
RAMP BREAKOVER ANGLE: 149º (Tdi), 151º (V8 and Mpi).
WADING DEPTH: 500mm
TOWING CAPACITY (trailer with over-run brakes): 3500kg
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