Land Rover first came up with the station wagon body option in 1949. The bodywork was wooden-framed and had enough seating for seven. The station wagon version saw the initial expansion of the brand range. These were fitted with a safari roof and included a second roof skin fitted on top of the car. The wagon option carried on into the production of the Discovery series, which began in 1989.
Discovery Series I (1989-1998)
Unlike the previous Land Rover offerings to the market, the Discovery could compete against the family car as it was the first that boasted a comfortable rise and well-designed interior. It was also formidable in terms of power with the currently popular Rover 3.5-litre V8 option though it initially had a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with an output of 80 kW. The 3.5-litre Rover V8 churned out 115 KW. For a diesel alternative, a 200 TDI direct injection turbo diesel engine was brought to the market. It boasted an excellent fuel economy at the time, though it was slightly noisier than other diesels within the same class. The 200-TDi was capable of 83 kW.
The first series was introduced in Australia in 1991 as a 3-door wagon in a 3.5L V81 guise coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox, outputting 115 kW of power and 260 Nm of torque. It sported alloy wheels and came with air conditioning, power mirrors, power steering, power windows, and a radio cassette.
The following engines were offered for the Australian market:
- 2.5-litre 300Tdi inline-4 turbocharged diesel (83 kW, 265 Nm) mated to either the initially-available 5-speed manual gearbox or a newly-offered 4-speed ZF 4HP22 automatic
- 3.9-litre Rover V8 petrol engine (134 kW, 304 Nm) linked to either of the transmission options offered the 2.5-litre diesel unit
- 4.0-litre Rover V8 petrol engine (134 kW, 304 Nm) with the same options for transmission pairings as above
Some limited Australia-specific editions were released:
- Orienteer – 1992 edition; 3-door V8 model with only 75 units built initially
- Rossignol – 1995 edition; 3-door V8i model fitted with a ski rack, rub strips, cruise control, front fog lights, and wheel arch protectors.
Discovery Series 2 (1999-2004)
In the late 1990s, the Discovery was designed and given the name 'Project Tempest.' The Discovery was launched in 1999 as the Discovery Series II wagon. It looked similar to the predecessors with a few minor inclusions such as a hill descent control that became the standard for all vehicles. There was also a self-levelling suspension and active cornering enhancement. A few changes to the diesel engine options introduced a 2.5-litre Td5 engine, which is a straight five-cylinder outputting 101 kW and an increased torque at 315 Nm. This engine powered a 7-seat ES Td5 trim (available only in automatic) and a 5-seat Td5 trim model (available in both manual and automatic).
The petrol variant is a 4.0-litre V8 unit capable of 132 kW and 320 Nm, which provided power for similarly-equipped trim levels. The transmission options for the Series II included a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.
Discovery Series 3 / LR3 (2004-2009)
Under the ownership of Ford, Land Rover revealed the third iteration of the Discovery wagon. It was a new vehicle underneath the hood, but it kept most of the exterior attributes. The stepped roof remained the same, as did the reverse C pillars and angled windscreen. The driving position was also raised into the current command driving position allowing for a full view of the surroundings. There were three engine options with the Discovery 3. These included the following:
- 4.4-litre AJ41 V8 petrol (220 kW, 427 Nm) paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission
- 4.0-litre Cologne V6 petrol (160 kW, 360 Nm) paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission
- 2.7-litre AJD TDV6 turbocharged diesel (140 kW, 445 Nm) paired to either a 6-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed automatic transmission
The 4.4-litre V8 is at the top of the range. The gearbox was also upgraded for this era to an automated 6-speed. The Discovery came with a fully independent suspension, which allowed the vehicle to be raised and lowered to adjust ground clearance.
Discovery Series 4 / LR4 (2009- 2016)
This iteration used the same integrated body frame structure though it altered some of the exterior features. These include a new front and rear light construction. The front bumper was restyled along with the grille to provide a smoother style seen on the Range Rover.
A lot of the changes made to the model were mechanical as well. The Discovery 4 wagon had two engines from the Gen III range, including the 3.0-litre V6 option capable of 155 kW. There was a 2.7-litre TDV6 as well at 140 kW. Each of these variants came with a unique offering of transmissions. The 3.0-litre unit was linked to an eight or six-speed manual transmission while the lesser 2.7-litre engine had a six-speed manual or automatic transmission attached.
The Discovery 4 Wagon featured high-spec equipment, including a surround-sound audio system, rear screen entertainment, 20-inch alloy wheels, silver roof railings, and unique stitch leather as well as a heated steering wheel. In 2014, Land Rover celebrated 25 years of the Discovery by releasing a special edition of 1,800 vehicles that were produced that year and marked XXV. They had several appealing attributes such as XXV-embossed Windsor leather seating and unique grille sets.
Discovery Series L462 (2017 to the present)
The third and present generation of the Land Rover Discovery wagon bears the closest resemblance to the Range Rover than any of the previous models exterior-wise. The lighting was modified to have sharper and narrower front and rear lights. The grille was also reduced in size and aligned with the headlights while the bumper was made more prominent.
Three diesel options became the norm for Discovery 5. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine capable of 176.5 kW is at the base. There is a 3.0-litre V6 Si6 and a 3.0-litre V6 TD6 as well, which are capable of 250 kW and 189.8 kW, respectively. All of the engine offerings are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. In Australia, two of these three engines are on offer, viz.:
- 2.0-litre Ingenium 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine (177 kW, 500 Nm)
- 3.0-litre AJD-V6/PSA DT20 turbocharged diesel (180 kW, 600 Nm)
There are 13 trim levels currently available, including the range-topping SD6 HSE Luxury grade powered by the 3.0-litre AJD engine with output further enhanced to 225 kW and 700 Nm. This luxury trim is packed with climatised front seats, digital TV, 16-way power front seats (driver and passenger), power sunroof with power blinds, and rollover mitigation system, among its many added features.
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