For those of you who were forced to read the new guy’s content last week, you’ll remember that I own a 2001 Land Rover Discovery. Many of you wished me luck, laughed at me, and were excited to read more (I hope). Reader Forest writes:
Growth hack for car bloggers: buy a land rover! The stories write themselves.
Well Forest, you got that right. Except the stories don’t write themselves as I sit here at my desk sipping coffee. I’m back today with not another story, but with a feature on a feature! Yes, believe it or not, the Disco actually has unique equipment.
Besides a leaky sunroof, I do have a cassette player. Want to join me in blasting Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell? I’m kidding for the most part, but today I am going to highlight my absolute favorite terrible feature on my Disco: the cup holder.
Yes, I said cup holder because there’s only one. Well technically there are two, but they must be in use at the same time. About my cup holder? Well, it’s horrendous. It’s actually one of the worst ones I have ever seen in a mass-produced vehicle. I am not counting McLarens, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis that have one stuck in somewhere randomly. Those don’t count. They are performance-oriented, not family oriented. I am referring to vehicles produced for the “general public,” which my Discovery was. For Queen Lizzie’s sake, it was a family vehicle. We need cup holders here in the States! Not sure where my Right-Hand Drive overseas friends put their tea as they drive their Discovery IIs through London, but I cannot imagine it was in the cup holder. Okay, enough yapping. Shall we take a look?
Here’s a look at the HVAC system in my Discovery 2. Do you see that little-tiny cup icon? Let’s zoom in. That’s where the cup holder stays flush within the dashboard when not in use. Oh, and Forest, that Meatloaf offer still stands on the table. I’ll let you pick what side we listen to.
Look at that! A little cup of an unspecified liquid with a swirly bendy straw! It resembles those old-school plastic ones that used to come in the Cheerios boxes as a prize. How cute of you, Land Rover. Thanks for that little pizazz. However, would you personally dare place an unlidded cup in your Discovery’s shallow cup holder, knowing that it has the body roll of an elephant riding a unicycle? Maybe sipping your Mott’s apple juice out of your pink swirly straw will make you feel better about your Discovery purchase, as you await a tow truck on the side of the interstate.
I haven’t even shown you the actual cup holder yet, but you are probably thinking, “oh come on. It can’t be that bad. This kid’s exaggerating!” Prepare yourself!
Well folks, here it is! Are you laughing, crying, underwhelmed, searching for Discovery’s on Craigslist, or hoping to place your large McDonald’s soda in it? Look at how shallow it is and take notice of its location: directly below the HVAC system and stereo. In theory, any sized beverage you place in the cup holder will not only eliminate all climate control access, but will also impede your stereo presets. What were you thinking, Land Rover? Even those tiny little water bottles your mom used to pack in your elementary school lunch box would block climate access. Yet Land Rover expected you to put your open-lid beverage, with a giant swirly straw coming out of it, in a shallow small area of your Disco.
Yikes. I don’t typically use plastic water bottles or eat at fast food restaurants but if I did, I would certainly have the wrong car for this. Take a look at how my obnoxiously large Hydroflask fits in the cup holder (hint, it doesn’t).
But luckily Land Rover thought of us Hydro Flask owners nearly 25 years ago and included this neat little clip by the passenger’s knee to hang it.
Or maybe that clip is for wealthy Upper West Side Manhattan wives to hang their Prada or Louis Vitton or whatever fancy bags they would have had in 2001. Either way, my friends at Solihull get some redemption points.
I get it, the year was 1999 when these came out. Cup Holders were hardly an engineering thought; they clearly had to focus on trying to make these last until 50,000 miles. I just find it comical that of all places, they had to place it right there. Fun fact, this was rectified on the 2003 Disco II facelift. Land Rover stuck cup holders on the side of the center console, a clear afterthought. They (the cup holders) are extremely hard to find, are sought after in the Disco community, and sell for nearly $100! That’s crazy.
You might think I’m exaggerating, but give me some credit for rockin’ this 22-year-old thing every day as a commuter college student. It’s older than I am, but I hope you already knew that… P.S. send me your extra swirly straws!
Between the green Land Rover and Steve Winwood cassette, I’m assuming you watch It’s Always Sunny?
Also, those look brilliant compared to the cupholders in my old Escort, which were just a couple of inch-deep circles in the console ahead of the shifter. Think about turning and your drink flies in the footwell.
I’ve never even seen an episode. Time to start now
Enjoy the madness! It’s a great show filled with loathsome characters.
B5 Audis might actually be worse. There’s only one cup holder, not two, and the risk of condensation dripping onto the stereo is high. I personally believe Audi was aggressively judging anyone who wanted to have a drink in their car.
Dripping condensation onto an already broken stereo should be okay… haha. Go get that XL Baja Blast from T-bell and enjoy it in your B5
…..or the cupholders in the first two generations of the new MINI Coopers….which are only large enough to hold a Red Bull can……except the later cars that had one back behind the center console that you could actually fit a water bottle into – you couldn’t reach it again, but it was there!
What do you mean?? Mini’s could hold a giant Red Bull can laying down on the rear trunk lid! See “Red Wings Mini.”
You shouldn’t be drinking and driving anyway.
Two words. First and last name. Not mononymous like Bono or Madonna or Cher. His friends call him Meat. In formal settings, he is called Mr. Loaf.
We all know he would do anything for love, except “that”.
It’s never explained what “that” is.
Pineapple on pizza?
Hold a spider in his bare hand?
What is it Meat Loaf?
Laughs in 987/997 cupholder.
Best cup holder by far is the one up on the dash by the A pillar of a GE8 Honda Fit (2009-2014). Fight me.
“But luckily Land Rover thought of us Hydro Flask owners nearly 25 years ago and included this neat little clip by the passenger’s knee to hang it.
Or maybe that clip is for wealthy Upper West Side Manhattan wives to hang their Prada or Louis Vitton or whatever fancy bags they would have had in 2001. Either way, my friends at Solihull get some redemption points.”
Actually it’s for (genuinely) hanging your takeaway bag from, so you don’t spill curry on your seats
Yep, that’s a curry hook. I [probably] remember British car reviewers of the time complaining when a car didn’t have a curry hook. Never a mention of terrible cup holders [, probably].
Wow, I had no idea. That’s an interesting fun fact
I recall magazine reviews at the time specifically mentioning that Land Rover had added this hook to the facelifted Discovery, because owners of the original Doscovery had previously been using the low-range/diff-lock gear lever for this purpose.
My Acadia’s console cupholders are fine. But GM added a little, perfectly aimed, amber LED in the overhead console that produces a perfect little glow so you can make out what’s down there.
Never owned an Acadia, but I have been in plenty throughout the years of carpools and always noticed that. Enclave and Traverse also had? Enclave for sure.
Ooooh look at you with your TWO cup holders! FAAAANCY. (Land Cruiser 80 series owners)
It looks like they borrowed that design from the 80s/90s Ford Taurus 😀
Not a great benchmark!
The 1984 Dodge Daytona had the same setup. Great minds think(?) alike.
It appears that our lives are becoming increasing parallels of each others. That said, my Jetta once again rises to the occasion to be somehow worse. It too has only one that pops out of the dash (often jamming in the process), yet is infinitely more complicated and worse in almost every way. Instead of having 2 solid holders for drinks, a small and flimsy arm pops out that can move to contain only the smallest of drinks, without any of the structural integrity yours offers. Not only that, the bottom is a flap that often gets stuck part of the way down, so when you put your drink in it suddenly drops an inch or so. To top that off, it somehow has even worse positioning than yours, being mounted directly above the radio and the hvac, managing to block all dash controls along with the center ac vents(the only ones that have any airflow on a mk4) and being in perfect range of any drinks spilling onto the radio when you inevitably hit it while trying to shift. Oh, and did I mention that if a drink is in it it sags in just the way that your hand hits it when you shift.
I was actually planning to write about the cup holder in my MKIV golf. But I was going to say how awesome it was. They are amazing. They will hold big ole cups and small ones. They are very very far from the shifter (at least in the MT I had) and were easy to maneuver.
Flap stuck? Just shove the cup in there, she’ll move. Won’t pop out? Smack the dash like your old CTR TV.
I see you didn’t work at a dairy queen through the winter where anything you made to take home would be melted by the heater blowing directly onto it and then drip onto the cassette deck.
One a a few places where true lack of understanding still occurs ‘across the pond’.
My German in-laws kind of, just barely grasp how much of our lives are spent behind the wheel. Distance out on the flats is measured in hours, and dear lord do you need that 16 piping hot ozs of hot brown to keep you awake during this long straits.
The Europeans who can afford vehicles of this size have no grasp they you can’t just whip into the next exit stop, sit down, grab a café au lait and a bite, fuel up and continue.
Our here its the ‘we just got gas. How many miles is it to the next station on the sign? Why do I drive an Italian car with a thimble for a gas tank? I miss grandma’s rolling velour living room/smoking lounge’
Considering I commute to school, I spend a lot of my time behind the wheel. A few international students have been shocked by my 15-minute, 7-mile commute. Meanwhile, that’s nothing for me. A blink of an eye!
Hey Weekend Rob! Nice to have new articles to peruse 7 days running. Look forward to more of you work.
As to your cup holders, they look more like cup balancers, but they appear to be the perfect size for holding a couple of tins of Skoal or Copenhagen if you want to dip and drive. Not sure where you’d put the spit cup, though.
I can confirm it is plain bad.
They borrowed an awful concept from Jaguar and made it awfuller.
In more than half the cars I’ve owned, “cupholder” meant “wedge a beverage between the seat and the handbrake and hope it stays put.” Almost anything is an improvement. But yeah, that’s pretty crappy.
That’s state-of-the-art 1990s cupholder tech right there. Can hold an 8oz paper coffee cup (as depicted) or a can of soda, what more d’ya want? Slurpees are for kids and Big Gulps are for the hoi polloi, neither of whom should be operating this vehicle.
That SAAB cup holder is awesome! It actually was more robust than it had any right to be – and importantly keeps spills away from the dashboard.
This Land Rover is terrible all around and any cup with a loose top will spill into the switchgear on a hard stop. The LR cup holders are similar to the BMW E39 cup holders – although I think the E39 might be slightly better because (maybe) a store bought water bottle would fit. Getting sugar water out of a cars switchgear can be a pain in the ass – I spent more than an afternoon disassembling the radio on my Dad’s Acura Legend after a bad trip to Wendy’s and an emergency stop. A sonicator was really helpful for cleaning up the boards, but it then needed a couple of days to dry out before the radio worked.
I had a Discovery of that vintage. By “cupholder” did you mean “the entire vehicle”?
Or a front seat passenger, when available
I see your Dicovery’s cupholder and raise the Saab 93 cupholder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV5LHXbOGN8
The Saab 93 never had cup holders.
Of course, few cars in the latter half of the 1950s did.
Cup holders from that era were terrible. My 1999 Buick had a flip out holder from the armrest/seatback in the middle of the front bench seat. It was angled down and was useless for around town. For highway driving it was marginally more useful since the soft suspension had fewer chances to nosedive.
Pre 97 xj cherokees had zero. There was an optional afterthought one that is practically as useless as yours, that screwed to the front of the arm rest though. Any manner of tiny drink that you could actually get to fit impeded arm rest and parking brake use.
Our 83 300sd had none as well, but was so smooth riding that you could put your drink on any flat surface, such as the floor, and were in little danger of it being disturbed as you effortlessly glided down the highway.
My 2004 Toyota Tundra had one of these appendix-style cupholders (no apparent use for it), but luckily also had 4 excellent cupholders in the middle console. I even forgot it had this silly in-dash holder until I recently passed it along to one of my sons and I was introducing him to all the features in the cabin. I can’t imagine the use case for these other than small styrofoam coffee cups.
On another note: Based on the evidence above, you, sir, have excellent taste in music.
Why thank you!