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1997 Land Rover Discovery

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1997 Land Rover Discovery Review

Pure utility with an air of prestige.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1997 Land Rover Discovery classifies as a midsize sport utility vehicle or SUV with off-road capabilities. Built by the British-based Land Rover, the Discovery debuted in 1989 in the United Kingdom. It made its debut in the North American market in 1994.

The Discovery gains popularity for its superior off-road capabilities, but it also suffers from some reliability issues. The 1997 Land Rover Discovery comes in a single body style with three trims.

The Range

Body Styles: five-door SUV
Engines: 4.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Land Rover Discovery SD, Land Rover Discovery XD, Land Rover Discovery SE, Land Rover Discovery LSE, Land Rover Discovery SE7

What's New

The 1997 Land Rover Discovery comes fitted with a diversity antenna, and all models get a polished burled walnut trimmed interior. The optional sunroof has a dark tint, and the airbag deployment system gets revised for easier operation. The engine management system also improves for this model year. The Discovery offers three new exterior colors as well.


The 1997 Land Rover Discovery has an all-aluminum body with very refined exterior styling. Predictably, the vehicle has a strong and tall stance, with a short wheelbase of 100 inches and a total height of 77.4 inches.


The height of the Discovery provides an advantage while driving offroad, but it makes entry and exit into the cabin a bit more difficult. The driver’s seat also seems a little awkward, and some drivers may have to push their shoulder against the door while driving the vehicle.

The first two rows of seats offer enough legroom and headroom for adults to sit comfortably, but the jump seats at the rear only fit children. Up front, the gauges look well lit, and the controls seem well laid-out and easy to access. Cargo space in the 1997 Land Rover Discovery looks abundant at the rear, and the vehicle itself feels surprisingly solid.

Performance & Handling

The 1997 Land Rover Discovery offers a four-liter V-8 engine that delivers 182 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque. The engine combines with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission depending on the model chosen.

The engine offers fairly brisk and lively acceleration, but does not show an improvement over the V-6 engine used in the Ford Explorer or Jeep Cherokee. Fuel economy falls expectedly below average, and it suffers from plenty of mechanical and road noise. The 1997 Land Rover Discovery feels rather stable despite its tall height and short wheelbase, but the steering becomes unresponsive at low speeds.


The NHTSA give the 1997 Land Rover Discovery three out of five stars for driver and passenger safety in its frontal-impact tests. Anti-lock brakes improve safety ratings.

EPA Fuel Economy

Land Rover Discovery, automatic: 12/16 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Stable ride
  • Comes with anti-lock brakes
  • Powerful off-road performance

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Noisy cabin
  • High price tag

Sum Up

Pure utility with an air of prestige.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Explorer
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee

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