Buying used: Land Rover Discovery

Buying used: Land Rover Discovery
Buying used: Land Rover Discovery

Town and country needs are met by the Discovery, so how do you nab a fine example?

When you buy a Land Rover Discovery you know you’re not getting into the soft-roader market, or a crossover that looks like it could tackle a rough track but which only really has two-wheel drive.

The Discovery is the real deal. Tough, practical, large enough to seat seven and underpinned by a four-wheel drive system that really will help you climb every mountain, ford every stream.

Of course, being a genuine and luxury off-roader comes at a price. A price that starts at £43,495, and rapidly goes upwards. However, if you had £5000 you could at least get onto the Discovery ownership ladder. That would be for an early high-miler, and you’d need to roughly treble that sum to get a 3.0-litre diesel model.

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Double that again, to £30,000, and you’re into decent territory, a 2013 HSE with about 40k on the dials. Now you’ve bought one, you have to run it. Even a diesel will only get into the low 30s for mpg, while the petrols will be in the 20s – assuming you’re not off-road much or thrashing it, in which case that would be an aspiration figure.

Servicing isn’t cheap, although insurance isn’t that bad. Given all that, which model should you go for?

The year to watch is 2009. That’s when Land Rover revamped the engines on offer, replacing the 2.7-litre diesel, which struggled a bit, with the 3.0-litre unit. That’s the Discovery 4 then, and a much better proposition. Although S sounds like a top trim, it’s actually base trim, so we’d go for the full-house HSE as it threw in so many goodies.

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Remember that Land Rover does poorly in customer satisfaction surveys. There were a lot of recalls, so make sure they were covered in the vehicle you’re looking at. The most notable recall was for diesels between 2005 and 2009, where oil getting into the brake booster or vacuum pump could lead to poor braking. That’s a serious one.

Air suspension and air compressors are a known weakness among the models, and the electronics can be temperamental so make sure everything works. And watch for leaking sunroofs on earlier models too. And on later models you may not need to worry about that but you’ll need to worry about the electronic parking brake, which replaced a normal handbrake with a complicated problem.

However, normally you’d hope to get 100,000 miles before encountering serious mechanical issues. Get a sorted one and you have the perfect vehicle for transporting family and kit across countries and across country.

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