Land Rover Discovery 2 (1998 – 2002) Review

Land Rover Discovery 2 (1998 – 2002) At A Glance


+Brilliant off-road and better on road than the previous version. Good view out. Five-door option. Some models have seven forward-facing seats.

-Poor build quality. Dogged by reliability problems. V8s heavy on the petrol.

The Discovery 2 may not have quite broken the same ground as the Mars pathfinder it shares its name with, but it did offer 720 differences over its predecessor. Apart from the rear door panel, every body panel was new. While a revived interior and updated styling gave it less of a utilitarian feel.

Power came from the new 2.5-litre Td5 diesel, which (fact fans) wasn't a BMW engine but rather and old Rover one. Yes, the Td5 can trace its back to the Perkins Prima, which powered the Maestro and Montego. There was also a 4.0-litre V8, obviously.

A locking centre differential was still fitted, but not connected up as Land Rover believed its Hill Descent Control and traction control would make the system redundant. The customer base had other ideas though and Solihull finally relented, allowing dealers to offer it as an option.

Ask Honest John

Should I keep and restore my Land Rover Discovery 2, or swap it for a Discovery 3 or 4?

"Looking for a LR Discovery derivative that will last me next 10 years with little bother, be able to tow caravan and easy to drive - autobox etc. Having saved up, I will shortly have £20k to £25k burning a hole in my pocket. I currently have a low mileage (110k) 2003 Discovery 2 TD5 manual 5 seater which is a little tired inside, but is otherwise ok, but, it needs a little welding each year for MOT. Should I get the D2 chassis replaced with a galvanised one and while body is off replace all suspension joints / bushes, under body brake lines, replace clutch, service gearbox etc? Or buy a high spec low mileage 2008/9 Discovery 3 for around £12k then spend remainder fixing known issues - Suspension arms, brake discs, calipers, airbags / compressor hard to get at brake lines that corrode, cambelts etc... ending with a useable D3. Or buy the best low mileage SE/HSE spec 2015/16 Discovery 4 I can find and hope engine does not blow or anything costly happen in the next 10 years. Simply, restomod my D2 or buy and restomod a D3. Although I love the D4 I think this might be a money pit option. What do you think?"
Given you already have a good knowledge of each generation of Land Rover Discovery and the common problems, we think it becomes more a matter of how attached you are to your current example. If trouble-free ownership is the most important factor, then having a car you already own and know well restored to a high standard is a good way to go about this. However closely you examine another used example you can never completely eliminate something unexpected going wrong. However, if you are finding your Discovery 2 is feeling outdated then a Discovery 3 brings a little more modernity but will leave you some budget spare to ensure it is fit and healthy.
Answered by David Ross

How easy is it to upgrade a Discovery 2 to look like a facelift version?

"How easy is it to change the original lights, bumper etc on a 1999 Discovery 2 to the facelift versions? I just bought a V Reg Disco and am having trouble finding a bumper so might look at upgrading lights etc?"
As far as I know, it's a fairly common swap. But you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a pre-facelift item on eBay or at a scrap yard.
Answered by Keith Moody
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