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2021 Land Rover Discovery loses four-cylinder, lifting entry price to $100k

John Law

Four-cylinder power will be dropped from the Land Rover Discovery range, which will now return to an all six-cylinder lineup.

British four-by-four specialist Land Rover have moved to axe four-cylinder diesel engines from the lineup of their Discovery large SUV, while ushering in a light facelift for 2021. It’s a move that echoes a similar decision to ditch four-cylinders from the new Defender range – but in the case of the Discovery 5, it has resulted in a substantial price jump.

Without an available four-cylinder, the new entry point to the 2021 Land Rover Discovery range will be the D300 six-cylinder mild-hybrid diesel at a cost of $99,900 before on-road costs. The previous base SD4 four-cylinder diesel cost $80,734 driveaway.

Those who appreciate refinement will see the change as a positive, though: the creamier six-cylinder engine makes 221kW/650Nm, considerably more generous than the old four-cylinder car’s 177kW and 430Nm, which had a harder job of motivating the 2,100kg fifth-generation Discovery.

Land Rover Discovery 2021 rear end

The move marks a return to the previous positioning of the Land Rover Discovery, which only gained a four-cylinder with the launch of the current-generation Discovery in 2017. That move is effectively reversed with this week’s news.

Land Rover claims that despite the price rise, the 2021 Discovery brings $30,000 of extra value to this large SUV. The new Discovery naturally retains space for seven, but also gets exterior and interior styling tweaks, as well as Land Rover’s more powerful Pivi Pro infotainment system. There are updated oily bits, too.

What else has changed on the Discovery?

We’ve seen the updated Pivi Pro screens crop up in other products from JLR including the facelifted Jaguar F-Pace. It runs a separate battery which makes for near-instant boot-up with no need to wait for the car to switch on. The touchscreen is now 11.4-inches in size, up from 10-inches previously. It boasts over-the-air software updates, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.

While the interior architecture remains mostly similar, that vast touchscreen commands more attention. The centre console is more minimal now and ditches the questionable rotary gear selector in favour of a cricket-ball stitched leather shifter that we reckon is much classier. There’s also a standard 12.3-inch digital driver’s display that can display a 3D sat-nav map and assist with directions.

The fifth-generation 4×4 retains the Land Rover Discovery aesthetic from the outside. Minor tweaks have been carried out on the front bumper and side vents to add aggression, while there are new LED signatures that emphasise the Disco’s subtle menace. It’s still a great looking off-roader in our eyes – though the asymmetrical tailgate sans spare-wheel many have questioned is retained with the facelift.

Land Rover Discovery 2021 interior

Buyers now have the choice of two six-cylinder engines to power the Discovery. As mentioned, the four-cylinder diesel is gone, and so is the previous V-6 diesel engine. The new engine aligns its six cylinders in-line, though power and torque fall gently compared to the old bent-six unit – 221kW/650Nm versus the SD6’s 225kW/700Nm outputs.

The new inline-six ‘Ingenium’ diesel produces less power and torque than that engine at 221kW/650Nm against the old SD6’s 225kW/7000Nm outputs.

A 48-volt mild-hybrid system should see fuel consumption fall somewhat, though, and peak torque is now spread across a broader rev range. The D300 generates maximum twist from 1,500-2,500rpm where the SD6 produced its 700Nm across a very narrow band between 1,500-1,750rpm. As such, the new diesel retains its class-leading 3,500kg towing capacity for 2021.

The other option is a three-litre inline six-cylinder petrol engine with a turbocharger and mild-hybrid system strapped on for good measure. Outputs of the P360 powertrain are 265kW and 500Nm. This is the choice for those who are going to keep their Discovery mainly on the black-top, but we’d go for the more tractable diesel motor.

Naturally, the latest Discovery retains all of its off-road smarts, despite the fact these vehicles are often ham-strung to the school run, the Discovery is one of the most capable off-roaders available. Electronically locking diffs, hill-descent control and the ever-clever terrain response system are all present and accounted for.

What else do you get on the 2021 Discovery?

While a $20,000 price hike is steep, the new base model D300 does at least offer more kit than before. 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable leather-appointed seats, dual-zone climate control, power tailgate, 360-degree monitor, keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise and ambient lighting all make it onto the spec list.

As standard, the $99,900 D300 S will also be equipped with crucial off-road tech including wade-depth sending and adaptive air suspension. Fitting the $5,300 R-Dynamic package to the diesel brings extra black trim outside, and contrast stitching to the two-tone leather inside. All P360 grades are equipped as standard with the R-Dynamic pack.

Land Rover Discovery 2021 front end

More opulent grades are offered with goodies like 21-inch alloy wheels and a Meridian sound system. Mid-spec SE and range-topping HSE models are available with both diesel and petrol power. As you would expect with a Land Rover product, there is quite an array of options, colours and interior customisation available to the customer at purchase.

2021 Land Rover Discovery pricing: Australia

All prices are before on-road costs.

  • Discovery S D300 – $99,900
  • Discovery R-Dynamic S D300 – $105,200
  • Discovery SE D300 – $106,100
  • Discovery R-Dynamic SE D300 – $111,400
  • Discovery HSE D300 – $113,700
  • Discovery R-Dynamic HSE D300 – $118,600
  • Discovery R-Dynamic S P360 – $105,200
  • Discovery R-Dynamic SE P360 – $111,400
  • Discovery R-Dynamic HSE P360 – $118,600