Used 2002 Land Rover Discovery Series II Review

Edmunds expert review

There are two reasons to buy this truck: either you need incredible off-road capability or you need to show off to the neighbors. If you have different needs, buy a different SUV.

What's new for 2002

Discovery gets new alloy wheels, along with a standard 300-watt Harman Kardon sound system and an available factory-installed navigation system.

Vehicle overview

Like the Land Rovers of yesteryear, the current Discovery Series II exhibits excellent off-road prowess and distinctive, hardy styling. But it also utilizes advanced performance features that promise a more capable on-road driving experience. The success of Lincoln's Navigator and Lexus' LX 470 has convinced Land Rover to create a kinder, gentler SUV.

Land Rover's Discovery was originally created to fill the niche Land Rover saw between the rugged, utilitarian Land Rover Defender and the plush yet thoroughly capable Land Rover Range Rover. It has been Land Rover's best-selling model in the United States, but the new 2002 Freelander may thieve its sales crown.

Two trim levels are available; SD and SE. The trims are similar, with differences based mainly on the type of interior materials used. All models can be had with the optional rear-seat package that adds forward-facing third-row seats, a Self-Leveling Suspension (SLS) and a hydraulic rear step. Land Rover has improved the Discovery Series II range for 2002 by redesigning the alloy wheels, adding a 300-watt Harman-Kardon sound system as standard equipment and offering an optional navigation system.

The SE is the only Discovery Series II model that can be equipped with Active Cornering Enhancement, a hydraulic suspension system that reduces vehicle body lean during cornering. All models come with Hill Descent Control, a driver-activated feature that supplements traditional braking when descending steep, slippery slopes in extreme conditions. Other features include a self-leveling suspension, traction control and electronic brake distribution.

Land Rover products are known for their rugged nature, and the Discovery Series II is no exception. Taken off the beaten path, the Disco takes on difficult terrain with ease. Every model features permanent four-wheel drive and a standard adaptive automatic transmission that adjusts to different driving styles.

Beneath the vehicle's hood is a 4.0-liter V8 engine that makes 188 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. We'd appreciate more power, especially since 240-horsepower V6-equipped models like the Infiniti QX4 and Acura MDX put the Land Rover's fuel-sucking eight cylinders to shame.

Inside the Series II, both front- and backseat passengers sit high for a superior view. Headroom and legroom aren't an issue (cavernous doesn't begin to describe the overhead space), but hip and shoulder room are very tight. Entry and exit is also problematic. The quality of interior materials is quite good, though better build quality can be found on other high-end SUVs like the BMW X5.

Legendary off-road capabilities and a high level of luxury are the Discovery Series II's best points. If Land Rover could iron out the ergonomic and build-quality issues, plus give the Discovery Series II some more shoulder room, wider door openings, and increased horsepower, it'd have a candidate for best luxury SUV status. Until then, the Discovery is an expensive and quirky SUV with an interior design that falls short of its exterior style and overall capabilities.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.