When my family and I arrived in the USA from Australia, we needed a car quickly. Defenders cost silly money here so I put up with a V6 Jeep Commander, but I soon replaced it with this Discovery 3 SE (or LR3 as they’re called here), with the 4.4-litre V8 engine.
Over the years I’ve added a raised air intake, ladder, bull bar and spotlights, Nitto Terra Grappler tyres and Black Magic ride height sensor rods.
We’ve had many journeys to Moab, where I never fail to be amazed by what a capable vehicle she is. Our first couple of trips were on our own, so we stuck to moderate trails: Fins and Things (our first Moab trail), Seven-Mile Rim (a couple of very tippy bits of slickrock), Gemini Bridges, and more. The scenery is amazing.
My family isn’t as keen on getting off the pavement. My wife has even got out and walked and one of my daughters has been in tears. My other daughter loves it, though! The tears occurred on the Schaefer Switchbacks in Moab – pretty easy terrain, but there’s a 1000ft drop to one side.
Hell’s Revenge, just a couple of miles out of Utah, is an amazing trail. Driving nearly 45º slopes of slick rock where all you can see is sky can be pretty intimidating, but the Discovery takes it all in its stride, impressing a number of Jeep owners. It’s more capable than me – I just had to trust Hill Descent Control.
The downside is fuel economy. We took our caravan to Moab, driving over a 10,000ft pass against headwinds. Our average mpg? Six. I’ve also enjoyed trips through Nevada to Area 51, Sedona in Arizona and Yellowstone – and we’ve been to Bonneville in eastern Utah for Speed Week.
Driving on the salt flats is amazing. If you drive a few miles from the track everyone drops below the horizon and you feel like the only people on earth – until you hear a jet car scream down the track. You get a feeling of how big and empty the western US is there.
Also, a shout-out to disco3.co.uk – a great support group.
Originally featured in the June 2014 issue of Land Rover Owner International. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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