Land Rover Discovery 2021 review: a bit of everything

I think I’m finally out of disco fever jokes.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Why wait for a mid-cycle refresh to deal with the less desirable parts of a car? With new powertrains and new technologies, the Discovery 2021 presents itself more convincingly with its blend of luxury and capability.

As

  • Smooth and dynamic hybrid powertrain
  • Significantly improved infotainment
  • More efficient than most SUVs

Do not like

  • heavy on the highway
  • Limited cargo space with the third row up

A visual change for the 2021 model year is the addition of the mid-level R-Dynamic trim. This outfit, which will likely be Land Rover’s volume trim, elevates the Disco’s bodywork with glossy black accents alongside 20-inch black alloy rims and an available two-tone interior. My tester looks pretty cute with these dark pieces that contrast well with the Lantau Bronze paint ($ 700). There are other light modifications to all Discovery variants as well, such as a lower rear badge and more attractive headlights and taillights, and like many automakers, expensive options abound. Those 21-inch wheels cost $ 2,000 more, while upgraded LED headlights with automatic high beams and a signature traffic light add $ 650. The contrasting black roof will also cost you another big one.

The interior doesn’t change too much, with a few small nips and creases here and there. There is a new shift lever, which is quite nice in its action. The 18-way electric heated front seats ($ 1,850) are quite plush, and the second row is now more comfortable thanks to thicker seat padding. There is also plenty of room in the middle row. The rear seats, however, remain narrow enough for adults, and when unstacked there’s only about 9 cubic feet of cargo space, which isn’t much at all. Keep the return paths hidden, however, and you get a solid 45 cubic feet of storage – enough for between six and 10 bags of mulch, depending on whether you need to use the rearview mirror or not.

What I like most about the Discovery interior is the variety of interesting materials. The rods of the door panels have a nifty diamond embossing with plenty of padding. The finely mottled top of the dash is also quite fabulous, as is the real aluminum trim which is cool to the touch. There are plenty of places to store your pocket waste, including a locker hidden behind the climate controls and a two-tiered storage compartment under the center armrest. The large bottles fit easily into the cup holders, which is a nice change of pace from most Teutonic Discovery competitions.

Land Rover fans will probably be most excited about the new technology inside the Discovery 2021. Namely, the new Pivi Pro infotainment system, which lives on an 11.4-inch touchscreen and comes standard. on every Discovery version. The standard kit includes a Wi-Fi access point with a 4G LTE modem, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and up to nine scattered USB-A and USB-C ports. Wireless charging will cost you an additional $ 350.

Land Rover has clearly taken owners’ criticisms to heart, as the new system kicks in almost instantly after Discovery starts up, although the built-in navigation still takes some time to initialize. However, once done, the map is quick and easy to use, and a single search bar easily manages addresses and business names. You can get the step-by-step instructions on the 12.3-inch gauge screen or the full-color head-up display, both of which are also standard. Bouncing across screens is done quickly, thanks to a quick-access docking station on the left side of the touchscreen. It’s a hell of a thing. As always, the upgraded Meridian surround sound system ($ 1,250) also sounds great.

When it comes to safety technology, you get automatic emergency braking, a panoramic camera system, blind spot monitoring and heavy lane keeping assist, but the adaptive cruise control orders an additional $ 1,325.

Land Rover’s latest infotainment system is not only much easier to use, it is also much easier on the eyes.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

New powertrains are featured in the 2021 Discovery. My test model carries the top-of-the-line engine, a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that develops 355 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. For a little more efficiency, this six-pot connects to a 48-volt mild hybrid system, as well as an eight-speed, four-wheel-drive automatic transmission with a two-speed transfer case. There is a lot going on under the body, but I don’t really notice it; all I feel is smooth, sufficient acceleration and a stop-start system that can stay off for a while, only to restart with barely a thrill.

The ride quality for something that can ford almost 3 feet of water and tackle 45 degree inclines is impressive. The Discovery 2021 is decently smooth on the road, although sharp freeway expansion joints can make it feel a bit like a trucker. There is a bit of steering incline in the center, so expect to make more than a few micro-corrections to stay in the same lane position. But overall, the Discovery is very comfortable. If your travels take you off the beaten track most of the time, I would recommend going with the $ 1,100 Active Locking Rear Differential and the $ 1,150 Trailering Package which adds automatic terrain modes and a shift system. low speed exploration. The latter also includes a towing hitch to take advantage of the Disco’s 8,200-pound towing capacity.

Of course, something this big with permanent four-wheel drive won’t be the thriftiest around. The Discovery 2021 is rated at 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, numbers that aren’t too difficult for me to achieve. It’s not mind-blowing, but it beats the outgoing 3.0-liter supercharged, which has been rated at 16 cities and 21 highways.

Need to mulch your flower beds before fall? Just drop the third row and fill that bad boy with all the tree pieces you can get your hands on.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

The 2021 Land Rover Discovery R-Dynamic S is priced at $ 63,250 (including destination) to start with, which isn’t bad for everything standard, but if you want to keep the price as low as possible, a Discovery Basic will set you back $ 55,250. Once you start picking out options my tester climbs to $ 72,285 which is a bit heavy, and there are a lot of competitors. If luxury and handling are your preferred priority, the Audi Q7, Genesis GV80 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class lean more in that direction, all of which are also available with a third row. The Audi Q8 and Porsche Cayenne are two-row affairs, but they’re decidedly more exciting to drive, even if they cost a lot more. There’s also an appeal from inside the house – the Land Rover Defender looks cooler and performs better off-road, but its cheaper variants aren’t as nice as the Disco.

That puts the 2021 Land Rover Discovery in a cute little ideal spot, on the border between a posh mall crawler and a mighty rock crawler, and a slew of updates for 2021 make this three-row SUV even more compelling.

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