Hay Hay Hay don't knock the older landies!! I have had about 5 Disco 1"s over the years and all but one (Immobilizer fault) have never let me down. I would stay away from the Disco 2's just too many electrics in them. The Disco 1 is based on the range rover classic which has bead manufactured since the early 70's so has had all the problems ironed out over the years. There have been some problems reported with broken side shafts but more on the series landies and the defenders. I think it is the most comfortable SUV I have ever driven (more so than my Disco 4 and my 4.8 Patrol) The driving position for me is perfect
Fuel consumption is about the same as the 4.2 patrol, parts are cheap and easy to get for R31K I would say that is a good deal
There was a general factory problem with dry joints on the spider immobiliser behind the dashboard. While it was difficult to get out, it was very easily fixed. A quick workaround if you had a problem in the bush was simply to run a wire from your battery positive to your coil positive. I have never managed to break a side shaft on a Discovery 1 and I have never heard of anyone breaking one (Series land Rovers, plenty – it was effectively an intentionally designed weak point in the transmission, pretty much like a fuse). And let me say that I have managed to smash a back differential on a Discovery 1. That is also not easily achieved. The one-week point in the manual transmission is the fifth gear, which is really designed simply for coasting and should not be used with wire throttle openings. The other thing is that they were actually designed to be run with ATF – specifically MTF 94. They run beautifully on that but people are in the habit of using normal transmission oil in them and there are a few problems with that – the synchro's done shift properly when it is cold and the oil pump has difficulty circulating conventional manual transmission oil, particularly when the transmission is cold.
I have a Discovery 1 which I have had now for nearly 20 years. I think my Patrol is a far better vehicle but I have not had nearly as many adventures in my Patrol as I have had in that Discovery.
They are not bad machines but you do need to make allowance for age and some peculiar niggles which are normally fairly easily resolved if you know what you are doing. Altogether, they are currently pretty much a bargain.