If a Jeep is too conventional—or plain—for your outdoorsy family, consider the 2021 Land Rover Discovery: it provides a much more upscale vibe to accompany its impressive off-road capability. With room for up to seven people inside its posh, three-row cabin, the Discovery adds an extra layer of practicality over the two-row Grand Cherokee. A pair of turbocharged gasoline-powered engines are offered—a four-cylinder and a six-cylinder, both turbocharged—and all Discovery models come with an adjustable air suspension and standard all-wheel drive. The Discovery leverages Land Rover’s legendary go-anywhere reputation and backs it up by offering an optional two-speed transfer case and a locking rear differential for maximum overlanding freedom. There’s even a Wade mode that’s set up to improve the Discovery’s water-fording capability. Try that in your Porsche Cayenne or Volvo XC90.
What’s New for 2021?
Land Rover has given the Discovery a fairly thorough refresh for 2021 that includes two new turbocharged engines—a 296-hp four-cylinder and a 355-hp six-cylinder—as well as a new Pivi Pro infotainment system with an 11.4-inch display. A new grille, tweaked exterior lighting elements, and new wheel designs give the Disco a visual update, and a new R-Dynamic model—complete with glossy black exterior accents—joins the lineup. Land Rover has improved rear-seat comfort by adding additional padding to the second-row chairs. There’s a new 12.3-inch digital gauge display and a full-color head-up display for the driver; a toggle-style gear selector is also new and all Discovery models now come standard with an adjustable air suspension.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The mid-range R-Dynamic model will likely offer the best value in the Discovery lineup, but Land Rover has not yet released a full list of standard and optional features. Base S and R-Dynamic models come standard with the turbo four engine, but the R-Dynamic can be optioned with the more powerful inline-six-cylinder engine for $5550. The top-level HSE trim receives the inline-six as standard equipment. Once we learn more about how each of the Discovery’s trim levels will be equipped, we’ll update this story with details.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
All Discovery models come with full-time all-wheel drive as standard, but buyers can choose between a 296-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 355-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, the latter of which employs a 48-volt hybrid system. We haven’t had a chance to test drive the Disco with either of these new powertrains, but we expect its ride, handling, and off-road capabilities to remain unchanged. The Land Rover’s adventure-ready mission caters to those seeking an SUV for much more than just trolling the parking lot at the mall, but it comes at the expense of on-road dexterity. The Discovery’s handling isn’t as ponderous as one might expect, but it still feels clumsy and top-heavy when changing direction. The Disco never lets you forget that you’re piloting a large SUV. Overall ride quality is quite good and even harsh bumps are dealt with easily. Steering feel, however, is nonexistent, especially on-center, where a large dead spot creates a need for frequent steering corrections when cruising on the highway. If towing a heavy load is on the docket, the Disco is rated to tow up to 8200 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has not yet released fuel economy estimates for the 2021 Discovery and its two new powertrains but we’re expecting to see some improvement over the 2020 models, which lagged behind similarly powered rivals. When the Discovery visits our office for a test drive, we’ll take it on our 75-mph highway fuel economy test and report the results here.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Discovery’s interior materials are upscale and the design is appropriately posh. Luxury features abound throughout the cabin, and the level of comfort only increases as you climb through the more expensive trims. Power-adjustable, heated leather seats with optional massage function for the driver and front-seat passenger offer good support and even better cushioning; second-row seats provide fore-and-aft and recline adjustments. Without adequate space to haul gear there would be fewer opportunities for adventure. With both of its rear rows of seats folded, the Disco’s spacious cabin proved to be quite accommodating with room for 29 of our carry-on suitcases. But flip the last row of seats up and load the Discovery with the full complement of seven would-be explorers and the maximum number of carry-ons it can carry drops to just two behind the third row.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All Discovery models come standard with Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system. It features an 11.4-inch touchscreen display and advanced features such as an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot powered by a 4G LTE data connection and real-time traffic-and-weather updates. Pivi Pro debuted with the Land Rover Defender in 2020 and is being rolled out in other Land Rover and Jaguar products. It features a simpler menu layout and is capable of over-the-air updates. As many as nine USB ports dot the cabin, and novel tablet-holding accessories can be used to set up rear-seat entertainment for kids. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability is standard, as is a wireless smartphone charging pad, a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, and a full-color head-up display.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Discovery hasn’t been tested by either of the leading safety agencies here in the U.S., but Land Rover offers a full suite of driver-assistance features. A handful of features are standard but most will require upgrading to an optional package. Land Rover also offers a novel 360-degree exterior camera system that also provides a view of what is directly under the front end of the Discovery—the area blocked from view by the hood—which is intended to improve safety when driving off-road. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Land Rover offers a wholly average warranty package, with most coverages good for four years or 50,000 miles. While the Discovery does not offer complimentary scheduled maintenance, Land Rover does offer discounted maintenance packages that can be purchased through the dealer that will cover the Discovery for up to four years.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs