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Land Rover Discovery

by Larkin Hill

Ooh...a Land Rover? Expensive, luxurious, yet sporty and fun! Yummy...a perfect combination. European Cars are renowned for their terrific handling and elegant interiors. The Land Rover had that, plus the ability to scale a mountain (literally).

Upon climbing in (yes, climbing!) I found my senses being spoiled by comfy leather seats and a large control panel filled with buttons of various significance. The interior was amazing, perfectly proportioned and easily accessible. Perfect! Perfect, that is until I looked out the front jaw dropped...where was half the road?! I'm by no means tall (5'7"), so the reason that my line-of-sight hit the top of the windshield dumbfounded me. I had to laugh at my brother, who is 6'2", stooping to see correctly out the front window, despite the large amount of space above him. The only logical reason I can see to put an extra four inches above the height of the windshield, is that the British are a shorter folk who like the head room, just in case they drive over a large bump. Other than that I'm mystified.

The other obstacle I had to overcome was the feeling of being both skinny and tall, nice if you're a woman, but awkward as a sports utility vehicle. Despite the waif feeling, the ride was nice. Just nice, not peppy, not really sporty, just calm and predictable. Well, the nice feeling disappeared as soon as we decided to enter the freeway. The feat was a hassle, if not downright frustrating. With the average speed of the cars traveling at a rate of 75mph, the peddle-to-the-metal speed of 45mph didn't exactly create a merge happy experience. I realize that the slight grade the Land Rover had to climb in order to get onto the freeway didn't help, but with a standard V-8 engine I assumed the acceleration would be stronger. As soon as we hit a flat surface the speed kicked in, and we caught up to those cars who had previously passed us.

Cruising along at a comfortable rate was easy, for no matter what speed, it felt as though we were driving quite slow. That was, until we came upon a curve, and whoa, was that an eye opener. It didn't exactly "hug the road", and for sure it felt like "tipsy-time" for us. While the Land Rover Discovery is about the same length as the Jeep Grand Cherokee it stands over a foot taller, making it feel as tough it were on stilts (or a very nice older style Isuzu Trooper).

While acceleration was a severe short coming, luxury remained the Land Rover's largest asset. With controls to the radio located around the steering wheel, two (yes, 2, dos, deux) sunroofs, soft leather seats, comfortable leg room, more than enough head room, a 6-disk CD changer, and tons of storage pouches located throughout the interior, the Land Rover Discovery didn't skimp on perks. While the CD changer, leather seats and sunroofs are optional, the standard equipment will not leave the snobiest of people unhappy; since the list of standard equipment covers almost anything you desire.

Overall, it was, eh, okay. While dependability and luxury are not strangers when referring to the Land Rover, it's $35,000 price tag would probably encourage me to go for a decked-out Jeep Grand Cherokee or Chevrolet Blazer, both of which offer better gas mileage, and still have a couple thousand left over to further spoil myself. However, if you're into brand names with all of the accessories, and you can afford it, I'd recommend a look. As a whole, however, it still remains just eh, not WOW!, but not ugh.