The Land Rover Discovery is an offroad focused mid-size SUV, from the British car maker Land Rover. There have been four generations of the vehicle, which was first introduced in 1989. The current Discovery 4 is marketed in North America as the LR4.
Discovery Series I
The Discovery was introduced into the United Kingdom in 1989. The company code-named the vehicle "Project Jay". The new model was based on the chassis and drivetrain of the more upmarket Range Rover, but with a lower price aimed at a larger market segment and intended to compete with Japanese offerings. This was the only Discovery generation with four-cylinder engines.
The Discovery was initially available only as a three-door version and the five-door became available the following year. Both were fitted with five seats, with the option to have two further seats fitted in the boot. Land Rover employed an external consultancy, Conran Design Group, to design the interior. The brief was to ignore current car interior design and position the vehicle as a 'lifestyle accessory'. The interior incorporated a number of original features, although some ideas shown on the original interior mock-ups constructed inside a Range Rover bodyshell at Conran's workshops were left on the shelf, such as a custom sunglasses holder built into the centre of the steering wheel. The design was unveiled to critical acclaim, and won a British Design Award in 1989. The features that were retained included the majority of the interior being constructed from 'Sonar Blue' plastic (with blue cloth trim), map/magazine holding slots above the windscreen, hand-holds for rear passengers being incorporated into the head restraints of the front seats, remote radio controls on the instrument cluster, twin removable sunroof panels (including a special zip-up storage bag behind the rear seats) and the inclusion of a Land Rover-branded cloth fabric holdall in the front centre console for oddments storage that could be removed from the vehicle and worn as a 'handbag' using a supplied shoulder strap (relatively few of these bags have survived, making them collectable items). Despite such features the interior's basic structure was the same as the Range Rover and virtually all the switchgear and instruments came from other Rover Group cars such as the Maestro and Montego. Similarly on the exterior, as well as the necessary Range Rover panels, the Discovery used headlights from the Freight Rover van and taillights from the Maestro van. The latter would continue to bear the Austin Rover 'chevron' logo on their lenses until production of the first generation Discovery ended in 1998, ten years after Austin Rover ceased to exist.