Cylinder Index about to be reduced

Having written about the concept of a cylinder index, mine is about to be reduced by three: I’m replacing the Range Rover.

The Range Rover is fast approaching 10 years old – it was registered on 1st August 1997 – and has 125,000 miles or so on the clock. That’s approaching the point where spending some serious time on the engine is called for, and for work reasons I need something newer.

So, there’s at least two good reasons (age and car allowance) for something new. And another Range Rover is, at the moment, out of the question. The replacement is another Land Rover, but a Discovery this time. Registered between March and September 2004, so barely three years old, black with black leather interior and chrome side steps. Yes, it’s a bit “blingy”, but it does look good.

I’ve been researching for a while, saw two yesterday, and had a long think overnight. I came to the conclusion that I’d have to put in a lot of time to find a noticeably better deal than either of them, so I went back this morning and agreed a deal to trade in the rangie. I’d have liked to get another £500 off, but I’m happy with the deal we agreed.

Its got pretty much every single gadget that LR offered as part of the vehicle, both in terms of creature comfort and technical ability on and off road. I’d need to pay twice as much for a decent, newer, Rangie, and it would still be older and higher mileage than the Disco. And cost more to run and maintain. So, no more “status symbol” for me, but still
a very nice car.

But … the rangie has been a hobby for the last 6 1/2 years and the gateway to some fun experiences and a bunch of new friends, so I’m going to be very sad to see it go. I’ve never had a car that long, and certainly not one that’s been anything other than just “transport”.

I know they’re only lumps of metal that move you around, but there have been so many friends and experiences around it…. If I get half the pleasure and fun from the new one (and I hope I will), I’ll be very happy. I hope to be collecting it in a few days time.

I’ve said for a while I’ll replace the Rangie with a Disco II, and that I want another V8. Well…. while coming to a decision, I drove both a V8 and a Td5 — almost within minutes of each other. Neither feels markedly different from the P38A, other than the obvious differences in power and sound.. The driving position is very similar – unlike the older Discos which seemed more “legs straight out” when you were driving. There’s a little less shoulder room around the door pillars (most noticeable if, like me, you have the seat right the way back), but more headroom. The newer Bosch V8 is more refined and definitely has more poke in the Disco application. It’s not quite as refined a ride only having air suspension in the rear, but it’s still pretty smooth. ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement) makes a HUGE difference to the cornering, that’s a big plus in terms of the handling.

The car I’m getting is an ES Premium spec from the very end of the production run (04 plate) so it has even more creature-comfort gadgets than a HSE P38A. Fold-in wing mirrors and reversing distance sensors are two of the most noticeable. Underneath it’s got traction control, hill descent control, and center diff lock. But it does lose a little in
terms of luxury car feel in some respects; for example the central locking has much more of a “clunk” on the disco, and the sunroof action isn’t as smooth. The instrument console is more “chunky SUV” than “luxury car” as well: the row of switches down either side of the binnacle that were a feature of the original Disco I.

It’s also got the fold-out “occasional” seats for a total of 7 passengers on occasions, which seem to be more common than not throughout the range. I can get into and out of them, but I wouldn’t want to be there for much more than 15 minutes. The normal back seats have a little less legroom but more headroom thanks to the “stadium seating” and the stepped roofline.

The only downside is that it’s just over 6′ tall; enough that I’ll have to be “let in” to the local tip which has a 6′ height restriction on the entrance. Most garages are 6′ 6″, so that’s fine. I think it comes up to 6′ 5″ if you have the sunroof open (it’s a lift then open design rather than disappearing into the roof as on the Rangie.

A friend who lives near me had a P38A for a while and he commented that the Disco doesn’t have quite the same “road presence” as the P38A. In particular, he found that driving in London people would pull out in front of the Disco more than the Rangie. I find a lot of that is downto how you drive: I don’t get cut up when I’m driving Yvonne’s Focus!

The Td5 is a background rumble when cruising and quite intrusive when being worked hard. I’m researching power options at the moment: I don’t want to take it too far because it will just get noisier, but I might try remapping the ECU.  I’m also intrigued to try some of the different maps that come with the Rovacom: if nothing else because people report widely different MPG figures for the Td5 and I’m wondering if the fuel map is part of that. Some are getting as low as 21mpg, others are getting more like 29. Some of that’s driving style, some of it doesn’t seem to be.

If you’re wondering about the future of my P38A website, it will continue to exist. I’m not throwing that amount of work away, even though I think I’ve largely reached the point where I’ve collected most of the pertinent information on the P38. I do have some plans up my sleeve to expand the scope to a wider audience and I will certainly be adding Disco and Td5 information as it grows.

The first major outing for the new Disco is a planned trip to North Wales in a few weeks time. Before that trip I want to get a decent car kit fitted and also the invertor I got recently. I’m also wondering if this is the right time to get a decent camping fridge for the planned summer trips. That’s all to be decided right now… let’s get the new beastie in and get used to it before I start messing with it.

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