2021 Land Rover Discovery highlights sibling rivalry

The Discovery spearheaded Land Rover’s return to the US market, making a name for itself with its rugged, go-anywhere capability. Now in its fourth generation (with the two middlemen adopting the nicknames LR3 and LR4 here in the US), the Discovery now has a somewhat different mission and must make its case as the brand’s family transporter. Even so, the Discovery’s DNA still includes more off-road capability than others of its ilk, even though the new Defender now wears the brand’s mudguard crown.

The Discovery’s power supply is a choice of two engines. The base unit is Jaguar Land Rover’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which at 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque is muscular for a little guy. Available in higher trims such as our tested R-Dynamic S model, a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six is ​​bolstered by 48-volt hybrid assist. It develops 355 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard.

HIGH: True off-road capability, quiet ride, heavy duty towing capability.

Andi HendrickCar and driver

We haven’t tested a four-cylinder Discovery, but this inline-six version hits 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and speeds the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds at 96 mph. Those numbers just cut the Acura MDX with its naturally aspirated V6, but follow the more muscular twin-turbo Lincoln Aviator and Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid, as well as German turbocharged six-cylinder competitors such as the Audi Q7, BMW. X5 xDrive40i and Mercedes GLE450. The six-cylinder Disco’s acceleration also roughly matches that of the supercharged and turbocharged Defender. The turbo thrust comes in a beat after coming out of a stop, but throttle response is otherwise good, although the eight smooth-shifting gears can be relaxed during downshifts.

According to the EPA, the fuel economy estimates for the Discovery six-cylinder 18/24 mpg city / highway are not significantly different from the 19/22 mpg of the turbo four, although our observed average was only 17. mpg. And in our real-world 75 mph highway fuel economy test, the Discovery reported 22 mpg, which matches the MDX but lags behind the X5 xDrive40i (28 mpg) and the XC90 T8 (29 mpg). The six also allows the Discovery to tow up to 8,200 pounds compared to 5,952 for the base engine. This generous towing capacity puts the Land Rover in the company of full-size SUVs such as the Chevy Tahoe and the Nissan Armada. And an optional Advanced Tow Assist feature provides automated steering for difficult reversing maneuvers.

Andi HendrickCar and driver

LOW: Luggage space disappears when all seats are used, the body easily leans in turns, harmless style.

While the sleek, wind-shaped bodywork of the current Discovery lacks the massive and heavy appearance of the original, it still peaks at 74.3 inches and its dynamic handling on the road has not completely gone away. this old model in the past. There’s a lot of sideways squish, and the body easily elongates in response to quick steering maneuvers. Three-row family SUVs aren’t generally known for their cornering prowess, but the Acura MDX and BMW X5 are much sportier. Around the skid pad, our Discovery got just 0.79g of grip, which is well below the pace of the Audi Q7 (0.86g), BMW X5 (0.89g) and even a dynamic mainstream vehicle such as the Mazda CX-9 (0.85g). g). To its credit, however, the Land Rover’s steering is naturally weighted and its handling on the road is more refined than that of the Defender. Additionally, the standard air-spring suspension effectively masks poor road surfaces, delivering a calm ride aided by adaptive dampers in the R-Dynamic S. Stops from 70 mph take up 170 tidy feet, corresponding to the X5 40i, and the Disco’s left pedal is firm through its travel.

Andi HendrickCar and driver

While most Discoverys will spend most of their time pounding the pavement, it’s a shame we haven’t had the opportunity to exercise this Land Rover in more difficult conditions than just a little snow. We previously drove a Discovery at Land Rover’s Off-Road Test Center in the UK, and it has proven to be remarkably good at going through mud and mud. The available two-speed transfer case and electronic locking rear differential are clues that even in its most family-friendly SUV, Land Rover still takes off-road capability seriously. The all-wheel-drive Terrain Response system features five different off-road settings. Included in this lineup is a Wade Mode that allows the Discovery to traverse water 35.4 inches deep, just enough for the next super storm that’s surely just around the corner. A full phalanx of exterior cameras are on hand to help avoid rocks and stumps, but prove just as effective when navigating tight garages and parking on the street. The default view is a useful split screen with top and backup views, and luckily the camera system is included as standard.

Jaguar and Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system arrived with the 2021 model year and includes an 11.4-inch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot and the ability to receive live updates. (The recently announced 2023 model adds standard charging for wireless devices.) The generously-sized screen offered top-notch resolution, the voice recognition system had no problem discerning our Yank accents and the display. home displays three functions at once. But the lack of buttons or knobs for tuning the radio is a minus point (the steering wheel buttons allow you to jump between presets). Hard buttons to select the main functions would also be welcome.

Andi HendrickCar and driver

Below the screen is a pair of multitasking buttons: twist to adjust the temperature, press and twist to control the seat heating and cooling, pull and twist to adjust the fan speed. The other climatic functions are managed by a panel of tactile buttons, which sometimes do not respond. Behind this panel is a hidden storage space which, along with the double glove boxes and the multi-bay console, offers plenty of places to store your things. The console also sees the previous dial gear selector replaced with an electronic shifter, which is a change for the better by our calculations.

The latest Discovery looks slimmer compared to its immediate predecessor, but is actually five inches longer and about three inches wider. This larger box offers a spacious second row that fits three occupants, and the optional third row at no cost is tolerable for adults or older teens, although its lower cushion is barely above the ground. The trick is to go back there, which is much more difficult here than with most of the competition. The second row captain’s chairs would make this easier, but they are not available. When the third row seat is deployed, it also clears almost all of the luggage space, leaving just 9 cubic feet, enough space for just two carry-on bags. That’s less than what you’ll find in the XC90 (13 cubic feet), Q7 (14), or MDX (18). Folding the rearmost seats down gives you 45 cubic feet of cargo space, while maximum cargo volume with the two rear rows stowed is 74 cubic feet.

Andi HendrickCar and driver

The difficult access to the rearmost bench contrasts with the other seats, as the narrow door sills make it easy to get on board without soiling your pant leg. Once inside, there is a modern and well-finished cabin, less robust than that of the Defender. Two-tone leather upholstery as in our test car, or faux leather, plus brushed metal trim, conveys an upscale ambience. A panoramic sunroof is standard, and plenty of USB ports spread across the three rows can charge everyone’s devices.

Compared to other three-row family trucks, the Discovery still has some impressive off-road prowess, but it traded in that image for a more urban personality. As a result, he’s somewhat overshadowed by his rugged brother-in-law inside the Land Rover showroom. Granted, the Defender’s interior isn’t quite as lavish and its (optional) third row is even less accommodating, but it brings a more authentic safari vibe to the school bus line that the latest Disco can match.



2021 Land Rover Discovery P360 R-Dynamic S
Vehicle type: front engine, 4 wheel drive, 7 passengers, 4 door station wagon

Base / As tested: $ 63,250 / $ 72,755
Options: 21-inch shiny black wheels, $ 2,000; 18-way front seats, $ 1,350; Meridian surround sound system, $ 1,250; Black contrasting roof; head-up display, $ 970; Lantau Bronze Metallic Paint, $ 710; tow hitch receiver, $ 675; Cold climate package (heated steering wheel, washer jets and windshield), $ 600; premium LED headlights, $ 400; third row power seats, $ 300; automatic high beam assist, $ 250

24-valve inline-6 ​​DOHC turbocharged and intercooled, aluminum block and cylinder head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 183 in3, 2995 cm3
Power: 355 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm

8-speed automatic

Suspension, F / R: multilink / multilink
Brakes, F / R: 14.3 ” Ventilated Disc / 13.8 ” Ventilated Disc
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Zero all season
275 / 40R-22 108Y LR

Wheelbase: 115.1 ”
Length: 195.1 inches
Width: 78.7 ”
Height: 74.3 ”
Passenger volume: 140 ft3
Cargo volume: 9 ft3
Curb weight: 5,569 lbs

60 mph: 6.3 s
1/4 mile: 14.7 s at 96 mph
100 mph: 16.1 s
130 mph: 34.4 s
The above results omit the 1-foot 0.3-sec deployment.
Roll start, 5 to 60 mph: 6.9 s
Top speed, 30-50 mph: 4.1 s
Top speed, 50-70 mph: 4.5 s
Maximum speed (gov ltd): 132 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 170 ft
Handling, 300 ‘skid pad: 0.79 g

Observed: 17 mpg
Highway driving at 75 mph: 22 mpg
Highway Range: 520 mi

Combined / City / Highway: 21/18/24 mpg


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