Used Land Rover Discovery 4x4 1998 - 2004 review

Category: Luxury SUV

There are much better alternatives

Used Land Rover Discovery 2
  • Used Land Rover Discovery 2
  • Used Land Rover Discovery 2
Used Land Rover Discovery 4x4 1998 - 2004 review
Star rating

What's the used Land Rover Discovery 4x4 like?

The series II Discovery aged very quickly. When it was launched, it immediately trounced opposition such as the Toyota Landcruiser and Mitsubishi Shogun, but it soon became outdated, its limitations shown up only too clearly by the likes of the BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class.

That's not to say it was without its strengths. The Discovery driver has a fantastic view out, there's plenty of space in the back and it's extremely impressive off-road.


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  • Superb off-road
  • well equipped
  • spacious
  • Unrefined on the road
  • dreadful cabin layout

Equipment levels were also very good, particularly towards the end of its life, and some models had seven seats, making it an alternative to an MPV.

On the other hand, however, getting into the back is awkward, the ergonomics in the cabin are dreadful, and the whole car is sluggish and not particularly enjoyable on the road. A BMW X5 is far better to drive, more refined and simply more comfortable.

Ownership cost

What used Land Rover Discovery 4x4 will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Land Rover Discovery 4x4?

Buying a used Discovery is not too painful an experience. It costs pretty much the same as a Jeep Grand Cherokee and much less than a Mercedes M-Class of the same age.

Look at servicing, too, and it's much the same story: the Discovery looks pretty good next to the likes of the M-Class and Mitsubishi Shogun. It's a couple of insurance groups lower than the Grand Cherokee, which further helps to keep running costs down.

The diesel's 30mpg also looks perfectly respectable by the standards of big 4x4s, but the V8 petrol returns just 17mpg on the combined cycle, which is well behind rivals from Mitsubishi and Mercedes.

To cap it all, Warranty Direct tells us that, when you need to have repairs done, average Land Rover dealer labour rates are among the highest.

Our recommendations

Which used Land Rover Discovery 4x4 should I buy?

The engine choice is simple - petrol or diesel - but which is best is tricky. We just about favour the diesel for its better fuel economy. However, it's so sluggish that many will prefer the V8 petrol, which is much more up to the job of hauling round such a big, heavy car.

There's very little difference - and none at all on some models - in price between the five- and seven-seater models, and the extra seats fold neatly out of the way when not needed.

Otherwise, we favour GS trim, one step up from the basic S. This is so well equipped it's not worth spending any more on the XS or ES (which bring leather trim and a CD 'changer). However, it is worth looking out for a model from after the June 2002 face-lift, when the car was remodelled to look more like the larger Range Rover.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Land Rover Discovery 4x4?