Land Rover Discovery 3
The Land Rover Discovery is a mid-size SUV, with off-road capabilities.
The Land Rover introduced the Discovery 3, marketed as the LR3 in North America. It retained the key features of the Discovery, such as the stepped roofline and steeply-raked windscreen.
Land Rover developed a body construction method, marketed as Integrated Body Frame (IBF), where the engine bay and passenger compartment is built as a monocoque, then mated to a basic ladder-frame chassis for the gearbox and suspension. Land Rover claims IBF combines the virtues of monocoque and ladder-frame – though it makes for a heavy vehicle, compromising performance and agility. The LR3 became the first Land Rover to be offered with a rear locking differential.
The LR3 features full independent suspension (FIS). Like the Series III Range Rover, this was an air suspension system, enabling ride-height adjustment by simply pumping up or deflating the air bags. The vehicle can be raised to provide ground clearance when off-road, but lowered at high speeds to improve handling. FIS had been seen as inferior to the older beam-axle when off-road due to its tendency to make the vehicle bottom out. Land Rover developed 'cross-linked' air suspensionto solve this problem – when needed, the suspension mimics the action of a beam axle (as one wheel drops, the other rises). If the chassis of the vehicle contacts the ground when the suspension was at its 'off road' height, the system senses the reduction in load on the air springs and raises the vehicle an extra inch.
Source: Wikipedia, 2011