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Land Rover celebrates 20 years of the Discovery


November 17, 2009/21.47

In many respects, we’re lucky the Land Rover Discovery is still around. In 1989, the British motor industry was excited by the prospect of a new model from Land Rover that would bridge the gap between the iconic Defender model and the Range Rover, which had become ever more plush in the 1980s. Tipped to be called Highlander (a name which Volvo owned in Europe, and Toyota in some other countries), the vehicle would capture the SUV boom but have the Land Rover pedigree.
   While an attractive vehicle, the Discovery was hardly reliable in its first incarnation, suffering from quite a few bugs. It took BMW to begin putting things right after the Rover Group was sold to the München-based car maker, and under Ford ownership, Land Rover kept improving its quality. Now, with the Discovery 4, things are looking better than ever, though as with the situation 20 years ago, the vehicle has grown far plusher, which perhaps leaves room for the Freelander to grow. Discovery has retained a sort of fashion-item status—something which qualifies it for our pages.
   Ford sold Land Rover to Tata last year, which means it’s now on to its fourth owner over the last two decades. Tata realizes it has a real asset in the brand, and isn’t tampering much; instead, it has found ways to keep the company going on its original path with some of the best four-by-fours in the world.
   To commemorate the 20th anniversary, we have two videos: one showing clips from TV commercials from the last two decades, and another looking at the early R&D days through to the release of the Discovery 4. (We’ve had to host these at YouTube for technical reasons.)

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Filed by Lucire staff

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