Land Rover For 1999
By Carey Russ
Although it seems that almost every auto manufacturer is making sport-utility vehicles today, Land Rover is still the only one to specialize in four-wheel-drive SUVs. That is all the company makes, and is all it has made for the past 50 years.
New for 1999 is the Discovery Series II, an updated version of the popular mid-size Discovery. It features some of the most advanced technology ever seen in a 4WD vehicle. The larger Range Rover models also have significant improvements and a special high- performance model.
Discovery Series II
The Land Rover Discovery has been a runaway success since its introduction in Europe in 1989 and the U.S. in 1994. But the time has come for a new version, and 1999 sees the Discovery Series II. Although it keeps the unique profile and high-mounted "Alpine windows" of the original Discovery, the Series II is longer, wider, and more spacious. About 85 percent of all parts are new, and it is one of the most technologically advanced off-road vehicles ever built. Unlike many newer competitors, the Land Rover Discovery Series II is designed to handle serious off-road tasks as well as more civilized duties.
The 1999 Discovery Series II has high-tech features aplenty, with four-wheel electronic traction control (4WETC), the first production application of "Active Cornering Enhancement" (ACE) to reduce body lean in corners, "Hill Descent Control", electronic brake distribution to improve stopping regardless of load, and an optional "Self Leveling Suspension" (SLS). The engine is a new generation of the Land Rover 4.0-liter V8, modified for increased power and reduced noise levels. A new, dual-mode four-speed automatic transmission is used. Interior comfort levels and visibility have been improved.
Only one core model of Discovery Series II is offered, but several option packages allow it to be tailored to many needs.
Back in 1948, when the first Land Rovers appeared, the roof was canvas and doors were optional. Land Rover vehicles have become increasingly civilized since that time. The Range Rover, introduced in 1970 in Europe and 1987 in the U.S., was the first luxury SUV. The current generation dates to 1995, and has some very significant enhancements for 1999.
The Range Rover is offered in both 188-hp 4.0 SE and 222-hp 4.6 HSE versions for 1999, and in a special, very limited edition 240- hp 4.6 HSE Callaway model developed by the noted aftermarket tuner. Both the 4.0-liter and 4.6-liter versions of the Land Rover V8 have improved power and reduced noise levels. Four-wheel traction control has been added, as have front side air bags. The Range Rover's premium luxury leather and walnut-trimmed interior has been revised.