04 Nov 04. The Editor accepted an inviataion to drive the new Land Rover Discovery 3 yesterday and I can honestly say that having driven most of the world’s 4×4 lightweight vehicles, this is the best by far. The world’s Armies, the UN, Police and Emergency Services will be quesing up to buy this unique vehicle.
We drove three of the four Land Rover products, Discovery 3, Range Rover and Defender. Whilst as our readers would understand, the Defender is still the most enduring off-road vehicle of the century with a number of improvements such as drive by wire and electronic traction control, the driver still experiences the bumps and humps of the earlier vehicles. By contrast the range Rover, previously regardes as THE 4×4 vehicle for the Smart Set has now been outshone by its new rival Discovery 3. The range Rover offers huge luxury for 4×4 owners but its cross-country ability is dwarfed by Discovery 3. Whilstb in the first two vehicles the driver finishes the course with a feeling of having wrestled the vehicle over the rough terrain, Discovery 3, using its unique electronic terrin response system drives itself. On a number of occasions on flat terai9n the Editor took his hands off the wheel and the vehicle took over!
The Terrain Response system is simple to operate. The driver turns a dial to the appropriate icon and then Terrain Response™ works whether you´re cruising on tarmac, driving over deep ruts, grass, snow, mud or sand. When you turn the dial, Discovery 3´s engine, transmission, suspension and Traction settings are all reconfigured to deliver the best possible driving experience.
Electronic cross-linked Air suspension
Ride, handling, control and balance are all exceptional due to independent front and rear suspension. Computer controlled cross-linked air springs over each wheel supply further levels of on-road refinement and composure under all road conditions, helping maintain a level ride height irrespective of load (standard on all 7-seat versions). Our system also enables exceptional wheel articulation for outstanding off-road handling and Traction.
Discovery 3´s advanced 6-speed automatic gearbox features adaptive mapping, giving it an ´intelligent´ capability to adapt itself to your driving approach. Standard with petrol engines, this gearbox also features CommandShift™ which gives the driver full manual control of gear selection when required. A smooth shifting 6-speed manual gearbox is also available with the TDV6 diesel engine.
Discovery 3 is available with advanced technology, all designed to make your life simpler. Terrain Response™, for example, is an advanced but user-friendly technology that optimises vehicle drivability and comfort, as well as maximising Traction. Discovery 3´s independent suspension can use optional cross-linked air springs to provide a smooth, level ride over any surface and with any load. And its advanced satellite navigation can take you anywhere from the nearest petrol station to the far side of the world.
Discovery quick facts
* Choice of advanced 2.7 litre TDV6 common-rail diesel developing 190hp, or a refined 4.4 litre 295hp V8 petrol engine
* Terrain Response™ provides expert settings for all driving conditions (standard on all 7-seat versions)
* Four-corner independent Air suspension with electronic cross-linking and variable ride height (standard on all 7-seat versions)
* Up to seven full-size adult seats in three row
Land Rover is being remarkably coy about its intentions to bid the UK OUVs project, with some observers suggesting that the company will soon cease production of the existing Defender which is almost hand built, thus expensive. However at the Discovery launch., some observers suggested that the Discovery 3 chassis and drive system will be used as the base for the new Defender rumoured to be launched in 2008 (in time for OUVs).
Certainly with the new Discovery drive system and ch