All-new engines for pricier Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery has received a comprehensive overhaul for the 2021 model year, headlined by powerful mild-hybrid six-cylinder diesel and petrol engines, Jaguar Land Rover’s next-generation infotainment system and plenty of other new in-car tech.
You will pay for it, though, with pricing at the entry level now a pinch under $100K at $99,900 plus on-road costs – more than $27,000 higher than before.
Launching in Australia in the first quarter of 2021, the big news with the new-look MY21 Land Rover Discovery is that the 177kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and the more powerful 225kW 3.0-litre V6 diesel have both been deleted in favour of the British car-maker’s latest 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder diesel that features 48-volt mild-hybrid technology.
Badged ‘D300’, the latest member of Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium engine family produces 221kW and 650Nm of torque – 4kW and 50Nm less than the outgoing SDV6 but said to deliver greater efficiency and lower emissions, while still towing up to 3500kg.
The smooth-spinning 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol engine also benefits from the clever mild-hybrid tech that claws back energy while braking and assists it when overtaking and ensures a smoother stop/start operation.
In the MY21 Discovery, the P360 produces 265kW and 500Nm of torque.
At launch, the D300 diesel will be available across six model variants – S, SE, HSE and the same three grades combined with the sportier R-Dynamic trim – while the P360 petrol will be limited to three: R-Dynamic across S, SE and HSE.
The new entry point of $99,900 plus on-road costs for the S D300 represents a $27,044 increase over the current S grade with the 2.0-litre SD4 engine, or $14,766 over the S with 3.0-litre SDV6.
In its defence, Land Rover claims the Discovery S D300 is fitted with more than $32,000 worth of additional features compared with the SDV6 it replaces.
These include 20-inch wheels, a full-length panoramic roof, LED headlights and tail-lights, active dampers, a wade sensor, seven-seat capacity, 14-way electric front seat adjustment, leather upholstery for the front positions, the Pivi Pro infotainment system, DAB+ digital radio, a virtual instrument cluster, a powered tailgate and driver assist features that include blind spot assist, clear exit monitor, active cruise control, high-speed AEB and rear traffic monitor.
The exterior changes are largely limited to the redesigned lights front and rear, a bolder grille, revised bumpers and new wheel designs (from 19-inch alloys through to a huge 22-inch option), while the new-to-Discovery R-Dynamic trim level adds some extra visual menace with its gloss-black accents for the wheel-arches, roof, grille and mirror caps.
As the S D300’s equipment list suggests, if you’re looking for change you will definitely find it inside the Discovery’s cabin, where there’s been some significant improvements.
There is a new multifunction steering wheel with haptic-touch responses, and a new toggle-shift gear lever in place of the old rotary controller.
But without doubt the biggest change is the introduction of JLR’s latest Pivi Pro infotainment system encased within a new curved 11.4-inch glass touch-screen.
Where once Land Rover lagged the competition, the new Disco should be at the very top of the class for on-board tech. Not only is Pivi Pro significantly faster it is now continually upgraded thanks to over-the-air updates.
Claimed to be far more intuitive to use, the engineers who created it say that now 90 per cent of its functions are never more than just two taps away.
Pivi Pro is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compliant and can connect up to eight devices via Wi-Fi. There are now also nine USB chargers, plus a wireless charger.
The same infotainment system incorporates Terrain Response, the 360-degree cameras and a new ‘Clearview’ transparent bonnet – a useful addition when off-roading.
Like its bigger brothers, the most recently updated Range Rover Sport and full-size Range Rover, the Discovery now gets cabin air ionisation that scrubs allergens, toxins and harmful particles from the air within the interior and can be remotely operated using Land Rover’s smartphone app.
Boosting comfort, the Discovery’s second-row seating now features longer cushions for greater support on long journeys. The same seats can also slide backwards up to 160mm for extra legroom, while all three rows are heated.
Ventilation has been improved in the second row thanks to repositioning of the air-vents to the centre.
Both the second and third row can fold within 12 seconds using the Pivi Pro system to provide up to 2485 litres of space – a number that’s still among the best in its class.
The Disco’s two-metre-long load bay enables it to carry a domestic dishwasher, for example, while the fold-down inner tailgate can now support up to 300kg.
Off-road, like before, Land Rover claims the Discovery remains the most capable in its class and is able to raise its standard air suspension by up to 115mm, enabling the vehicle to wade up 900mm.
How much does the 2021 Land Rover Discovery cost?
S D300 – $99,900
SE D300 – $106,100
HSE D300 – $113,700
R-Dynamic S D300 – $105,200
R-Dynamic SE D300 – $111,400
R-Dynamic HSE D300 – $118,600
R-Dynamic S P360 – $105,200
R-Dynamic SE P360 – $111,400
R-Dynamic HSE P360 – $118,600
*Prices exclude on-road costs