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How to Identify A Discovery

By Benjamin Smith (Disco, Range Rovers and Defender information)

(No Virginia, like the Austin Mini they don't all look alike)


  • Discovery (1989 to present): Looks more like a normal car than most other Rovers (excepting the Range Rover mk2). The leading edge of the bonnet has "Land Rover" written on it. The bonnet itself is like normal cars--it just fits inside the fenders. The spare is carried on the rear door. The most distinctive feature is the stepped roof. The roof is steps up about 6 inches just behind the driver, giving more headroom for the seats behind the driver. The VIN number begins with either "SALLJ" or "SALJ".
  • Identifying Characteristics

      If it is a 5-door, it is post August 1990
      If it is an automatic, it is post August 1992
      If the interior is Sonor Blue is was built from 1989 to March 1994
      If the interior is not Sonor Blue, is was built after August 1990
      If it is a 5-door and has side rubbing strips (halfway down the door), it was built after August 1991
      If it has anti-roll bars (anti-sway), it was built after August 1992
      If it doesn't have anti-roll bars (anti-sway), it was built before March 1994 If it has ABS [Anti-lock Brake System], it was built after March 1994
      If it has airbags, it was built after March 1994
      After March 1994 (1995 models) the dash was redesigned and different side mirrors were used
      Alloy wheels were introduced in autumn 1992
      If it is a automatic and has a Tdi engine, it was built after August 1993
      If it has a high mounted 3rd rear stop light, side marker lamps in front and rear bumper ends, it was built after March 1994.
Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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