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2005 Discovery

caneaucaneau Posts: 14
edited March 22 in Land Rover
I should have titled this discussion the "wussification" or "castration" of the next Disco but I don't want to jump to too many conclusions...yet. I really don't understand Ford. Their trucks are some of the best in the world. They use the money they make off their wonderful trucks to play around with a bunch of other, smaller ideas, say Volvo, Jag, Aston Martin, or even cars inside of their circle, or should I say oval, for example the GT or T-bird. Then somewhere along the lines they buy one of the three most well respected off road nameplates (Jeep and AM General/Hummer being the other two). So far so good for Ford, they've saved one of the few remaining British car companies, gained access to some great off-road technology, and added yet another mark to its global network. This is where the good ends and bad begins.
One would think that a company like Ford who sells over a million half-ton pickups per year, many with the quite capable FX4 package, and incorporate some of those ideas into their Land Rover brand. Unfortunatly, that's too obvious and common sensical of a solution. Instead, the new Disco, LR's last remaining true SUV (apart from the Defender which isn't of course isn't imported to the States) will be based on the current Explorer, complete with an IRS.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Explorers or IRS's, the former is a wonderful soccer mommy car and the latter makes my Intrepid handle great, but neither should be ever seen in one of the world's expedition vehicles (and this is coming from a long-time Jeep owner). First of all, the Explorer platform isn't a great platform to begin with. The body-on-frame design makes the cars too heavy for city driving but the IRS makes them next to useless on anything more challenging then a dirt road. The platform has already seen it's first casualty, the Lincoln Aviator, which will be canceled in '05. Word of advice to any Ford Execs if they read this, if something fails, don't use it again. If something's working, improve on it, and sell it to the same clientelle.
Second, the Independent Rear Suspension. Not to try to sound poetic, but I think the incorporation of an IRS on an SUV (an H1 being the exception) automatically dooms the car as a mommy mobile. Many people bought the Disco simply to a vehicle that you could turn on the TV and see it blazing through the Sahara or being floated on a raft through the Amazon. When was the last time you saw an Explorer leave the pavement? These same people already HAD a choice before to buy a "wussy" SUV and guess what, they chose a Land Rover. That being said, there is a good chance they ,or others like them, will again choose a Land Rover. I simply do not understand why one would want to take that choice away and replace it with nothing more than a glorified Explorer?
So, rather than complaining without a solution, here is my idea for Ford. There are over a million F-150's being sold per year. That tells you something: you must be doing something right. Take the new F-150 platform, shorten it (the Disco only has just over a 100 inch wheel base), and give it an IFS and a live axle in the rear standard using the Rancho shocks from the FX4 package, with a live axle up front as either a no charge option or part of a greater off road package. That way, you'll be satisfying two birds with one stone. First, you'll make the soccer mommies happy by giving them the go-anywhere feeling of owning a truly capable SUV that's still managable in the city. Also, you'll make enthusiasts happy by giving them an improved version of their beloved truck rather than trying to ramming a rebadled, overpriced Explorer down their throats all the while trying to convince them that it's still "the real thing".
Just my humble opinion.
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Comments

  • ogo1ogo1 Posts: 7
    What Ford is planning to do to the Disco is one of the reasons why Ford is such bad shape. I really think that the people who call the shots are living in their own little world, TOTALLY disconnected from the real world.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    they will turn the Disco into a "Junior Explorer" or just a British-built Escape???...even bean counters (hopefully) have more brains than that...after all, they seemed to have improved quality control with Jaguar without turning it into a British Mustang...it is quite a distinctive car, altho some parts do come from the Ford parts bin...and, from one who does not know (me), why is IRS so inferior on an offroad vehicle compared to a one-piece axle housing...wouldn't IRS offer greater flexibility as the vehicle tilts to-and-fro, compared to the one piece???...thanks to those who know this stuff...
  • russlarussla Posts: 74
    typically, a solid axle, is better at keeping both wheels on the ground in slow moving off road activities, it is possible to get in twisty (frame,not a curvy road) situations where vehicles with independent suspensions, end up lifting one of the wheels off the ground, which does no good for traction. In that type of situation, you'd want all for wheels on the ground, to pull you thru. Also with Solid axles, you have a fixed about of clearence under the axle, maybe in some wierd loading situation, the IRS would actually give up some clearance at the differential. they are also mechanically more complex, and therefore provide greater opportunity for Murphy to visit. ie, you would have 8 CV joints (plus 4 u joints on the prop shaft) on a IRS/IFS vehicle, as opposed to 6 or fewer joints on a live axle setup. wheel bearings on the solid rear axles are essentially self lubing (from the differential oil) IRS, would need to be serviced like the fronts.

    For fire roads and ski trips and the usual campsite jaunts, I don't feel IRS would be detrimental. If you're planning on rock crawling/Moab and that type of activity, it would be more of an issue, but really, of all the LRs sold, how many are actually going to do that?

    There are also the issues encountered when lifting vehicles, IFS and IRS, have their own set, about caster /camber, and CV angles,change in track, where as people have lots of history with the issues encountered when lifting solid axles. bumpsteer, caster, tracking rods, etc

    Ford should make some LR version to compete in the BMW / Lexus class and a 4 dr defender for the hardened 4x4 crowd. I agree that the exploder is not the optimal foundation for that market if they want to compete with X5 an the Lexus 330

    Regards
  • caneaucaneau Posts: 14
    Russla, good explination of independent versus live axle suspension.

    I must say though, for fire roads and ski trips, I've taken my Intrepid and it's done just fine. I really think that there are enough SUV's on the market which can handle any sort of level terrain. Heck, even the commercial for the H2 shows it traveling in a straight line across the most level snow I have ever seen. Ford even has quite a few of these, the Escape, Freelander, Explorer, Expedition, and Range Rover, just to name a couple. I honestly think that they have every possible market segment covered when it comes to around-town SUV's.

    As for lifting, in all my years of off-roading, I think I may have seen one seriously lifted Disco. Their stock suspension is actually decent for most rock crawling or awkward terrain. I agree though, each type of suspension has its own tricks when it comes to modification.

    When it comes to the luxury SUV segment, I really think that Ford has it's contenders already in place. The Range Rover is the top of the heap, uber-SUV. The Navigator is the glorified rich mommy-mobile with xenons and a nav system. Now the Aviator nameplate is being replaced with a luxo cute-ute (see NAIAS article) to compete with the RX 330, X5, MDX, and the like.

    LR has been making a 4 door Defender for years though, called the Defender 110. The Defender lineage is actually one of the longest running and successful lines of cars in the world, being sold as hard working British SUVs for around 50 years. They were just overpriced when brought to the states ($40k for a VERY simple car). If I were in Ford's spot, I would take the D90 and D110, give them those safety and emissions requirements, and give the $26k Wranglers a run for their money. The Disco would then take it's rightful spot as the ultimate expeditionary vehicle to complement the Defender.

    On a final note, there already is a British-built Escape, it's called the Freelander. The Disco will be around the same dimensions as the current Explorer, hence why they're building it on its platform.

    Happy rock hoppin'
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    are they replacing the Aviator with something else???...a different vehicle or just a new name for Lincoln's version of the Explorer (altho I like Aviator console/floor shifter much better than any column shifter...
  • When did Ford take over LR? Are they still considered an import. I have been looking for new suv and do not want American made. Had both Fords and Chevy with many problems. Nissan. was the front runner with the new big Armada till I came across the Disco 7 pass. Was real interested till I read this thread.
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476
    I can assure you, Land Rover's reliability is not any better than any domestic marque.

    FYI, Land Rover, along with Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Volvo are part of the PAG, or Premier Auto Group, owned by Ford. Ford has owned PAG for several years now.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    Yup, IRS is so terrible offroad that the notably off-road incapable vehicle, the Range Rover, uses IRS.

    Right.
  • First of all, I want to find out where Edmunds received their info on the new model that is coming out to replace the discovery. I work for a Land Rover centre and the information on that model I have received from my Land Rover reps is very different from those posted on this site. First of all, it's not going to be called Discovery, Land Rover hasn't decided what to call it yet. Secondly, it is not on a Ford platform, it is on a totally new monocoque frame. Also, the only engine that will be available so far will be the Jaguar 4.2 litre V-8, which is a BRITISH engine. And from race track testing we have seen in Germany, it may give the Cayenne a run for its money. So take it from someone who is directly associated with Land Rover, the new Discovery replacement will be LAND ROVER at its best.
  • Have you ever driven or owned the new Range Rover? I wouldn't sell IRS so short. The new RR is by far one of the most capable SUVs ever made; this is coming from someone who drives and works with the vehicle every day.
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476
    He was being sarcastic.
  • The Freelander is not a Ford Escape. This vehicle was first produced in Europe as a 1997 model, way before Ford purchased them from BMW. It has a much stronger, better built monocoque frame than any frame produced by Ford, and has a 2.5 litre V-6 from a Rover 45, which is produced by the Rover Group in Britain. I just want to make sure everyone realizes that Ford isn't as involved in Land Rover as you might think. We're receiving some info on the new so-called baby Range Rover, which has yet to be named yet. From the meetings we have had with our regional managers recently, it seems like the next couple of years will be exciting for Land Rover. Don't listen to everything you hear about Ford and their dealings with Land Rover and Jaguar, I work directly with both and the ties with Ford are further than you think.
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476
    Thanks for taking the time to post here lrover1.

    Sorry but your last post confused me. First you say "Ford isn't as involved in Land Rover as you might think", but at the end you say "ties with Ford are further than you think." Which is it?
  • caneaucaneau Posts: 14
    Ok, let's go down the list.
    Yes, they are replacing the Aviator with a cute-ute type SUV. Check out the Edmunds report on the North American Int'l Auto Show from Detroit to read more about it. The Aviator in its current form was a failure because few people wanted a rebadged Explorer for almost the price of a Navigator or for more than a nicely equipped Expedition.
    Next, IRS is really good off road...so good that my rock hoppin' Dodge Intrepid uses it and it'll put a lifted Wrangler to shame on the Rubicon. It's simple physics. I remember seeing a picture comparing a Jeep Liberty (which has an IFS) going through the same ditch as a Jeep Cherokee. The Liberty had it's front two wheels helplessly in the air while the Cherokee had straddled the ditch and had 3 wheels on the ground. The way this works in a live axle suspension, if one wheel is pushed up, it pushed the other side down for greater traction or at the very least, contact with the ground. In an independent suspension the wheeels are, well, independent, so no matter what one wheel does, the other does it's own thing. This is great for road handling because each wheel independently conforms to the road providing maximum traction on fairly flat surfaces. And yes, independent suspension is even used on one of the greatest off road vehicles, the Hummer (H1). The reason being is force at speed is much better adsorbed by an independent suspension allowing the Humvee to blaze across enemy terrain at speeds of 60+ mph. Each vehicle has it's purpose and the purpose of a Disco is to get places no other cars would ever dream of. This is usually done at very slow speeds (<15 mph) and may involve rock climbing, traveling at steep side angles, or navigating narrow paths; things nearly impossible in a Humvee. That's what made the Disco or Grand Cherokee so special, they are expeditionary vehicles capable of going places few others can. So why does Range Rover (or most luxo-SUV's) use an independent suspension? For the same reason it uses the BMW 4.4 liter V-8 rather than a heavy duty, nearly bulletproof, lots-o-low-end torque engine: I have yet to see one leave the pavement. And can you blame people for not wanting to? The car costs $70k+, has leather seats, HID's, and all sorts of cool gadgets. The replacement cost of one of it's headlights alone is around a grand. Therefore, the car is aimed at a certain market: rich families who need to show off their "wilder side", not off road enthusiasts. And yes, I have ridden in a new Range Rover and yes, I will still take my former, old, beat up Cherokee off road over it any day simply because that car is designed with one purpose. Enough said about this subject, there are plenty of websites about this subject if anybody wants to read more about it.
    About any confusion as to what the next step will be with the Disco or its replacement. Edmunds might be wrong or the information being fed to dealers may be wrong. I've seen both happen in the past (sometimes projects get changed without dealers being notified or Edmunds doesn't update their website, who knows). So, since I doubt anybody in this forum is the chief product manager for LR, we can only guess as to the next step from the bits and pieces of info we hear. If the Disco stays true to it's heretige and capability even if it is renamed, great. Using a Jag 4.2 may be questionable, but with some retuning, who knows, it might turn out to be a good engine for the job.
    As for the Escape vs. Freelander, of course I know they're not the same car. I sat in a European Freelander years before they hit American shores or the Escape even existed. The reason I made that comment was because they are very comparable cars made by the same automotive group. Both use a V-6 engine, both have independent front and rear suspension, and both are around the same size and actually look somewhat similar. The last time I was in Europe (a little over a year ago), the Escape was not imported there, so that's why I called the Freelander a British-built Escape. Sorry for the confusion.
    As for involvement in the company; although I'm not closely associated with any car company, I do understand their business workings fairly well. The normal progression of a buy-out usually begins with some exchange of executives and slowly progresses to the exchange of parts and finally, models. That is why you saw the 4.4 liter V-8 in the current Range Rover, it was simply BMW's first step in integrating LR as a company before they sold it to Ford. With the Jag world, since it was brought up, the integration process is even further along with a cross sharing of models, namely the X-type which is a rebadged Ford Modeno with all wheel drive. Since none of the current models in the LR lineup were designed when Ford was the owner, we haven't seen much integration yet. Since the Disco or its successor will be the first, it is not unlikely that it will use many parts right out of the PAG or Ford parts bin. Whether that is for better or for worse remains to be seen when the 2005 models roll out later this year. We can only hope that someone at Ford will make the right decisions in the meantime.
  • The two statements pretty much mean the same thing. From what we have been told by our LR national reps, Ford has more of a "hands-off" approach with LR than it has had with some of its other foreign subsidiaries.

    Also, I have driven my 2003 Range Rover on many off-road events, and it is more capable than the previous model with solid axles, just a phenomenal vehicle overall. What else could you expect for $75k!

    Also, for the '05 Disco replacement, the 4.2 litre Jag engine will be heavily modified to handle the extreme off-road conditions the current 4.6 litre V-8 is able to handle. The BMW 4.4 V-8 had to be heavily modified because it couldn't handle the extreme angles these vehicles drive in. (I know a customer who bought an '03 RR and said his vehicle didn't tip over until it was tipped sideways at a 60 degree angle!) I'm not sure why he would want to do that to a $70K+ car, but I didn't ask. So I think you are right on that one, if things go as planned, a modified Jag V-8 would be great for the new car.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    I was being sarcastic.
  • caneaucaneau Posts: 14
    Let's hope you're right lrover1. If Ford keeps its distance from LR like it did with say Aston Martin, some really incredible cars can be produced (V-12 Vanquish for example). As for the old vs. new LR, that's not a surprise. The old one if I remember right had some overhang and clearance problems and it was severely underpowered, especially in the 4.0 liter version. Also, with all the hill decent, stability, and traction control, the car practically drives itself, so for the average person, going off road is probably a lot easier and takes much less skill.
    There are only so many things you can control in a car, the brakes and handbrake, the gas, the steering, and sometimes the clutch. Regardless of how many computers you have on board, in the hands of a skilled off road driver, there are only several things that matter in a vehicle: ground clearance, wheel base, wheel movement, approach and decent angles (overhangs being a bit part of this), and low end torque. Satisfy these criteria well and you have a good off road vehicle, a Wrangler or Defender come to mind. Neither of these vehicles though have any on-board computers to aid the driver when the pavement ends, so the person behind the wheel has to make the decisions. That being said, a Range Rover is designed to make as many decisions for you as possible so you can focus on turning the wheel and not ending up in a ditch (although I am sure the next generation Range Rover will have something to the likes of "Trail Navigation Control" where its GPS and optical sensors automatically choose the easiest path for the vehicle to take and then drive for you).
    Personally though, you won't see me in a Range Rover off road any time soon...most likely because I don't have the money to own one. Even if I did, I still would invest my money in the current generation Disco or another less "advanced" vehicle. I still want to make the decisions about what my vehicle does...that's the fun of off roading.
  • Well, My wife and I are in the market of purchasing a Disco in the near future. However, when I read that Ford might be adding parts to it and changing things in this British SUV is making both of us think twice into investing our money in a LR. I been doing my homwork on this vehicle for sometime and it sounds perfect the way it is. Why fix something that ain't broke! No offense to the Ford company, but why add their parts into a British legend. Well, enough, I'll doing my homework into finding the truth about that rumor. Of all SUV's this is the one we are so eager to buy.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    The current Disco platform is aging. IIRC, the chassis dates back to a previous generation range rover (two generations back?). The ergonomics are kind of wonky. And I suspect that a more modern design could be cheaper to assemble. The current engine dates way, way back. I'm sure it is a quite a struggle for Rover to make that engine meet efficiency, power, emissions, and reliability goals.

    The new Disco will be completely redesigned from top to bottom. Just where it will sit in the continuum from soccer-mommy-mall-mobile to rock-crawler remains to be seen. As for the use of Ford components, Jaguar and Volvo have survived just fine under the Ford umbrella, with only the X-type arguably having gotten too much Ford DNA.
  • I like what Ford is planning on doing to the Discovery. I know that many people don't like Ford and think that this new truck just adds to their collection of a bad lineup. I completely disagree with anyone who believes in that theory. I am very impressed with what Ford has done with Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, etc. I am very excited to see the 2005 Disco in person because I know, despite what other people think, that it will, too, be a masterpiece along with all of the others...Does anyone agree?
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    I agree totally. Ford is now showing us what they can do as through the 500, S40, Expedition, F150, Freestyle, etc. I can't wait to see how they apply all this newfound quality into all their new PAG cars. After owning a Volvo, I'd never go dissing it. :)
  • Does anyone out there know exactly when the 2005 Disco is going to be on sale in the United States?
  • ewcarewcar Posts: 1
    Have been deciding between an X5 XC90 and Disc for some time. Finally narrowed it down to the Disc. Went into the dealer this weekend and specifically asked about upcoming redesign/overhaul. Was assured by salesperson that the public was confused, that Disc was going to remain the same and LR was simply introducing an entirely new car. My wife called LR customer service yesterday and was told the opposite. What gives? I'm not interested in buying a car simply to have it be the old model within 6 months. I'm also not that thrilled about dealing with people who are so eager to make a sale that they are either lying, or are so confused or misinformed by their company. Any thoughts out there? Thanks.
  • stopgo1stopgo1 Posts: 20
    I believe that both are true. There is a brand new model being introduced, the Range Stormer (or somthing like that) and the Disco is being redone for 2005. This is what I have learned from reading this board, there are others who know more than I though.

    Try reading back through some posts on the regular Discovery topic to find out more.
  • If they make Disco a soccer mom hauler, then it will be excellent because then they can sell more. SUV market is hot and there are many insecure people who would love to own a Rover. I say go for it Ford. You will win! Sales will double. Suspension should be comfortable and good for city driving with soft seats. Thats all most buyers need.

    This offroading nonsense is a big Lie!
  • You guys and gals need to visit TheLandRoverChronicle.com scroll down and find the article on future models update. They talk about upcoming Land Rover models for the next five years.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    I have the misfortune to ride in a 2000 II twice a week and I can't imagine why anyone would want one!

    Mailslot rear passenger doors - ever try getting a woman in a dress in there?

    Terrible rear cargo compartment with not a bit of soft material.

    Creaks and groans everywhere

    Underpowered engine.

    I have a theory that only reason people buy these things is that they think there is some prestige in owning a British made vehicle. Talk to some vintage British vehicle owners, they [British] are not known for building the finest vehicles, that's for sure.
  • All of those issues will be addressed with the new Discovery. Under powered? Re-engineered 300 hp Jag V8, Higher quality materials were addressed with the 2003 facelift but the 2005 Disco will be even better.
    Mailslot rear door? New Disco's wheelbase will grow more than 10 inches and entry and exit will be easier, all you will need to do is push a button and the vehicle will lower more than 2 inches.
    This active air-suspension will also give Disco a great ride and handling on-road.
    Unreliable? New Disco will be the equivelant of Jaguar. Jaguar frequently scores above Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Toyota in JD Power reliability surveys.
  • I am very excited about the new Land Rover Disco. (or whatever they decide to call it) because I am 6'1" and I just could not comfortably drive the 2004 Disco. I love the vehicles, but I just couldn't spend $40 k and be cramped all of the time. Has there been any word on a more definite release date?
  • laker3laker3 Posts: 12
    May '04 issue of Car and Driver arrived today...shows better picture of 2005 "LR3" (p. 40) then the test mules we've seen.
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