I have three Discos, one in the US and a 95 Tdi & 2002 TD5 in Europe.
The 97 V8 just keeps going. Bought this one with 60K and now have 165k on it.
Only repairs that have been needed are the gear shift switch (under brake - $25), starter ($180) and the large ball joint behind the hub ($600). Vehicle has been maintained but not babied.
This is a real 4 x 4 and will go almost anywhere.
Towing is no problem.
The 4.0 litre engine is a bit underpowered in these years but it is a heavy vehicle and not a sports car.
Ride is more like a truck but has a very solid feeling.
Now that the 97's are getting on in years you can find some that are fairly inexpensive.
Ride height and view.
4 x 4 capabilities, interior finish (no squeaks or rattles even now), exterior finish very good for 16 yr. old vehicle.
To be honest almost all vehicles can be improved upon and it really doesn't pertain to a 16 yr old vehicle.
In my opinion the best thing that Land Rover NA could do is import the diesel versions to the US.
If they offered a diesel Disco they would absolutely kill the competition.
My 2002 TD5 in Europe is a 2.5 litre 5 cylinder automatic. I average about 26 mpg on the highway at 75 mph.
The new diesel Discos have a 6 cylinder Tdi motor with loads more horsepower and get about the same mileage due to better technology.
I bought my 97 DISCO to tow my 24' sailboat about a year ago. so far, the only thing I had to replace was the catalytic converter. The dealer wanted $700 for repairs!!! I went to a local mechanic who did just as good of a job for $150!! So dont go to the dealer. It looks great on the road, although it feels a bit top-heavy sometimes, and a ton of fun off road!! I use it sparingly, mostly for towing my 3500 lb sailboat around and it does the job very very well. Switches do go bad, but if youre looking for a fun beater, not a daily driver, this is the truck for you.
exterior, towing ability, off road ability, fun to drive
I have a 1997 land rover Discovery SD the entry level model. It doesn't have a sunroof which is okay with me. The truck has a rugged frame and strong body. The discovery is built to withstand alot of abuse despite it's shiny exterior. The truck has been reliable what many fail to understand is that the truck is a rugged piece of machinery that require maintenance. but unlike many other vehicles the Discovery is a straightforward truck to own with a few tool set and time. I have a five inch lift with 34" tires on mines and it puts hummers and jeeps to shame.
the bodystyle nothing else looks like a discovery. great 4x4 system doesn't need lots of lift and huge monster tires to rockcrawl. you get looks in it you feel powerful.
I bought mine with 100,000 kilometers on it and intended to use it as a tow vehicle for my Caravan. After the first trip, I was disappointed with the lack of power from the 3.9 V8. I took the vehicle to a performance workshop and had a "Unichip" fitted. The transformation was amazing. This Disco now flys and returns a very respectable fuel mileage.
Fantastic seats, great all round vision and very easy to get in and out of. The fact that most of it is mechanical and not electrical as the Series II Disco, is a big plus. Less to go wrong.
Go back to making the same solid axle Discoveries as this one. The newer Discos are too electrically complicated.
I am the happy second owner of a '97 Disco. All I can say about this vehicle is that it is a tank. Goes where you point it without complaint. It chews up trails, scales steep hillsides/mountainsides with ease, and carves a path in deep snow. Gas mileage is average for an SUV of this size, so if gas is a concern,look elsewhere. And on-road manners are something to be desired. In addition this is the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. Got it with 75K and it now has over 240K on it and it's still chugging along. Granted there were repairs now and again, but in true Rover style, whatever broke or failed this truck always got me to my destination.