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Since it became available in January 1999, the Discovery Series II, an upscale sport-utility vehicle with a split personality, has boosted Land Rover sales 30 percent.
While basically a carry-over model for year 2000, changes include a stand-alone rear air conditioning option and a provision to keep the transmission in sport mode until deselected. (Prior to this fix, the "sport" setting reverted to "normal" each time the vehicle was shut down.)
In addition, Series II Discoverys come in two new paint hues, Alveston Red and Kent Green, and color combinations have been expanded: Whereas in 1999 only certain interior/exterior combinations were produced, customers can now mix and match.
Land Rover completely redesigned its Discovery last year, and although its overall look is similar to the previous model, 85 percent of its parts are now new. To signify this, it was renamed the Land Rover Discovery Series II.
Fresh styling and a wider stance give it a more confident look. A host of new features to improve safety, comfort and convenience came with the retouching, too — the interior has been redesigned for improved outward visibility, increased roominess and easier operation.
Tackling mud and curves with confidence
But the biggest change to the Discovery is its handling. While the previous model felt tentative in transient maneuvers and leaned through corners, the new one feels firmly planted and tackles curves with confidence.
In spite of its refined roadworthiness, the Discovery Series II has not lost Land Rover's renowned off-road capability. It still features lots of suspension travel to climb over rocky terrain. It arguably remains the ultimate off-road utility vehicle.
The Discovery’s optional Active Cornering Enhancement (ACE) system has won numerous accolades. It’s the technology that gives the previously wallowy midsize SUV sports-sedan poise on uneven surfaces and when cornering.
The newest model is 4 inches wider and an inch shorter than the previous version, and the rear overhang has been extended by 6 inches for greater cargo capacity. Land Rover took an evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) approach to the design of this second-generation Discovery because owners and potential buyers said they loved the looks of the first-generation. So, while every body panel is new, the Discovery Series II still wears its distinctive, utilitarian appearance — as if it's ready for an African safari.