The music is about to stop for Land Rover's long-serving Discovery, which for 2005 will be replaced by an all-new model, the LR3. Built on a new platform, the LR3 is longer, lower, and wider than the Disco, but the greatest change in dimension is the wheelbase, which is more than a foot longer. The design is closer to that of the Range Rover but retains the Discovery's stepped roofline. The spare tire moves from the tailgate to the undercarriage, and a two-piece tailgate replaces the side-hinged rear portal. Mechanically, the LR3 again uses a V-8 engine, but the chassis utilizes a four-wheel independent suspension with active damping and adjustable ride height. Wheel sizes range from seventeen to twenty inches.
A new, Terrain Response System features a knob on the center console by which the driver selects one of five modes (street, slippery, dirt, sand, or boulders), which then optimizes the electronic throttle, the traction control, the center and rear locking differentials, and the suspension height. The system doesn't select low range, but it can advise the driver to do so.Inside, the vastly improved interior is much roomier and seats seven forward-facing adults (with the optional, flat-folding third-row seat). A rear-seat DVD player is available, but buyers must supply their own copy of Saturday Night Fever. The LR3 goes on sale this fall.