A group of international journalists have completed an ambitious
vehicle durability and reliability test after driving two new Land Rover Discoverys from
London to Paris ... the long way.
Departing from London on June 1, the vehicles were driven across western and eastern
Europe to Istanbul and then on across Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India where they were
shipped to Australia. The teams had to deal with temperatures above 50 C as well as hair
raising road hazards. These included gun-toting militia, ox-carts, unlit overloaded
trucks, camels and monkeys.
The Discovery's Active Cornering Enhancement (ACE) suspension - an industry first - is
credited by one journalist with saving the lives of the travellers during one particularly
violent evasive manoeuvre.
From Calcutta, the vehicles were shipped to Australia where the teams drove the V8 and
the all-new Td5 (Land Rover's own five cylinder turbocharged diesel) powered Discoverys
across the brutally rutted Gunbarrel Highway to Ayers Rock, and then on to Melbourne and
Sydney. Along the way they camped out in freezing temperatures and were coated by the
pervasive red "bull dust."
From Sydney the vehicles were air freighted to New York for a 5,60Okm drive south to
central America. After stops in New Orleans and Houston, the drivers crossed into Mexico
at Nuevo Laredo, to encounter the first of 10 border crossings.
Rough roads, and record high temperatures in the Americas were made all the more tiring
by heavy rains, as the drivers wound through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua
and the rainforests of Costa Rica.
Another ocean shipment to Spain for the final leg across the Alps brought the two
vehicles and their one-ton, 'Ifor Williams' equipment trailer to the Paris Show for the
world premiere of the new Discovery.
At the Paris stop, the vehicles had travelled more than 30,00Okm without a major
Thirty journalists from 10 countries had co-driven along with lain Chapman, event
director and Mark Dugmore, Land Rover field engineer.
"New Discovery Trek used pre-production vehicles in an unprecedented show of
confidence in the technology and robust engineering that have gone into this
project," said Tom Purves, Rover Group sales and marketing director. "Our thanks
to all who made it happen."
The Trek was co-sponsored by Texaco Havoline lubricants and coolant, Michelin Tyres,
Warn Winches, BT Mobiq satellite telephones and Land Rover Global Expedition clothing.
Additional support was provided by Garmin GPS, Nevada Communications, Ifor Williams
trailers, and Coleman camping equipment.