They call this the car that saved Land Rover. We tend to agree.
The 113-inch wheelbase Discovery 3 was launched with the 2.7 TDV6 diesel and the relatively rare in the UK 4.4-litre V8 petrol version, both with a six-speed auto gearbox and a manual option on the diesel. Most have independent air suspension and a few early models were built with coil springs.
WHAT TO CHECK
Forget the stories of multiple problems (mostly electrical in origin) on early Discovery 3. Land Rover quickly dealt with these, and affected vehicles have been sorted. If you want a good one, a good service history and proof of cam and fuel belt changes at 105k miles or 7 years is vital, and if it’s all with a franchised or specialist dealer, so much the better. A floaty feeling when driving can mean worn dampers, knocks and bangs suggest tired suspension bushes, as does uneven tyre wear. The diesel should start instantly with a smooth idle and be responsive to the throttle. A lumpy initial idle needs investigation. With the door open, listen for two clicks from under as you select and deselect low ratio, and confirm the vehicle drives in low box. Lower the air suspension, then select off-road height which should be reached in a few seconds if the compressor is in good order. The electronic handbrake should be just audible – no screech.
REASONS TO BUY
Probably the most practical, do-anything vehicle on the planet. Easy to drive, comfortable and quiet, and safe. Vehicles registered before 31/3/06 have lower road tax. Superb towing ability. Terrain Response (most models) is a boon in winter snow, even if you don’t drive off road.
V8s fuel consumption. Many Discovery 3s have been worked hard with minimal maintenance. Early coil-sprung models do not have Terrain Response. Standard wheel size of 17-inch is ideal, but larger diameter wheels with lower profile tyres can introduce road noise and a bumpy ride.
V6 turbo diesel,
324 lb-ft torque.
4.4-litre Jaguar V8 petrol,
Poor: £4000 – £6000
Average: £6000 – £9000
Good: £9000 – £17,000
Excellent: £17,000 – £30,000