Why wait until a mid-cycle update to address the less desirable parts of a car? With new powertrains and new technologies on offer, Discovery 2021 makes a more compelling case with its blend of luxury and capability.
- Peppy mild-hybrid transmission
- Significantly improved infotainment
- More capable than most SUVs
I do not like
- Weighty on the highway
- Limited cargo space with the third row at the top
A visual change for model year 2021 is the addition of the mid-level R-Dynamic trim. This suit, which is likely to be Land Rover’s volume trim, livens up the Disco’s body with some glossy black accents alongside black 20-inch alloy wheels and a two-tone interior available. My tester looks pretty sweet with those dark pieces that contrast well with the Lantau Bronze paint ($ 700). There are other slight changes to all Discovery variants as well, such as a lower rear badge and more attractive headlights and taillights, and as with many automakers, expensive options abound. These 21-inch wheels cost $ 2,000 more, while upgraded LED headlights with automatic high beams and a distinctive running light add $ 650. The black contrast roof will also earn you another big one.
The interior doesn’t change much, with a few slight pinches and creases here and there. There’s a new toggle switch, which feels pretty good in its action. The 18-way electric heated front seats ($ 1,850) are pretty comfortable, and the second row is now more comfortable thanks to some thicker seat pads. There is also a lot of space in the middle row. The rear seats, however, remain quite cramped for adults, and when they’re not stowed, there’s only about 9 cubic feet of cargo volume, which isn’t much at all. Keep the return routes hidden, though, and you get a solid 45 cubic feet of stuff storage – enough for between six and 10 bags of mulch, depending on whether you need to use the rearview mirror.
What I like most about Discovery’s interior is the variety of interesting materials. The tops of the door panels have clever diamond embossing with lots of cushioning. The finely mottled topper 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 junk, including a hidden compartment behind the climate controls and a two-tier storage compartment under the center armrest. The large bottles easily fit into cup holders, which is a nice change of pace from most of Discovery’s Teutonic competition.
Land Rover fans will likely be more excited about the new technology within Discovery 2021. Namely, the new Pivi Pro infotainment system, which lives on an 11.4-inch touchscreen and comes standard on every Discovery trim. . The standard kit includes a Wi-Fi hotspot with 4G LTE modem, wiredAnd and up to nine scattered USB-A and USB-C ports. Wireless charging will earn you an extra $ 350.
Land Rover has clearly taken its owners’ criticisms to heart, because the new system starts up almost instantly after Discovery starts, although the built-in navigation still takes some time to initialize. However, once it does, the map is snappy and easy to manipulate, and a single search bar easily handles company addresses and names. You can get step-by-step directions on the 12.3-inch screen or on the color head-up display, both standard. Bouncing off screens happens quickly, thanks to a quick access dock on the left side of the touchscreen. It’s a hell of an improvement. As always, the updated Meridian surround sound system ($ 1,250) also sounds great.
As for safety tech, you get automatic emergency braking, a surround camera system, blind spot monitoring, and a standard heavy lane maintenance assistance, but adaptive cruise control commands an extra $ 1,325.
New powertrains are ready for the journey in Discovery 2021. My tester brings the exclusive engine, a 3.0-liter turbo in-line-6 that emits 355 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. For a little extra efficiency, that six-pot connects to a 48-volt hybrid system, as well as an eight-speed, four-wheel-drive automatic transmission with a two-speed transfer box. There is a lot to do under the body, but I don’t really notice it; all I experience is smooth, sufficient acceleration and a start-and-stop system that can stay off for a while, only to get going with just a thrill.
The ride quality for something that can wade nearly 3 feet of water and tackle 45 degree inclines is impressive. The Discovery 2021 feels decently soft on the road, though the sharp highway expansion joints can make it look a bit truck-like. There is some steering lean in the center, so expect to do more than a few microcorrections to stay in the same lane position. But overall, the Discovery is very comfortable. If your travels take you off the beaten path more often than not, I’d recommend snapping for the $ 1,100 Active Locking Rear Differential and the $ 1,150 Towing Package which adds automatic terrain modes and a scan system. at low speed. The latter also includes a tow bar to take advantage of the nightclub’s 8,200-pound tow rating.
Of course, something that big with permanent all-wheel drive won’t be the thrifty user in the block. Discovery 2021 is rated at 18mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway, numbers that aren’t too hard for me to reach. It’s not mind blowing, but it beats the supercharged 3.0-liter in output, which was rated at 16 city and 21 highway.
The 2021 Land Rover Discovery R-Dynamic S is priced at $ 63,250 (including destination) to start with, which isn’t bad for everything that comes standard, but if you want to keep the price as low as possible, a Discovery base will set you back $ 55,250. Once you start tinkering with options, though, my tester goes up to $ 72,285, which is a bit high, and there are a lot of competitors out there. If you prefer to give top priority to luxury and road handling, the Audi Q7, Genesis GV80 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class lean more in that direction, all also available with a third row. The Audi Q8 and Porsche Cayenne are two rows, but they are definitely more exciting to drive, even if they cost a lot more. There’s also a call from inside the house: the Land Rover Defender looks nicer and is more capable off-road, but its less expensive variants aren’t as pretty as the Disco.
That puts the 2021 Land Rover Discovery in a nice sweet spot, straddling the line between the sleek mall-crawler and the mighty rock-crawler, and a host of updates for 2021 will make this three-row SUV even more compelling.