Land Rover Defender vs. Land Rover Discovery

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - July 2, 2021

Land Rover has breathed new life into its lineup of rugged SUVs. The Land Rover Discovery received a welcome refresh year, bringing new tech and updated styling. Even more exciting, Land Rover revived the Defender nameplate for a reboot of the classic boxy SUV.

But which update turned out better? Here are the pros and cons of both models based on a comparison of key specs and features to help you decide which one is worth your money.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Land Rover Defender & Discovery »

What the Defender Gets Right

In base form, the Defender is nearly $6,000 dollars cheaper than the Discovery. The Defender is available in either two- or four-door bodies, and opting for the four-door ‘110’ body reduces the gap to $3,400.

The Defender is all about rugged capability, and this modern iteration lives up to the name. The Defender has more ground clearance than the Discovery, and its approach and departure angles make it more suitable for rock-hopping. An optional air suspension provides up to 11.5 inches of clearance, making the Defender one of the most capable vehicles on the market when the pavement runs out.

With the four-door body, the Defender also offers more interior space. Rear passengers get an extra inch of leg room over the Discovery, and the Defender has about 5 extra cubic feet of cargo space.

What the Discovery Gets Right

While the Defender may have a cheaper starting price, the Discovery has a better set of standard features. Leather upholstery, wireless charging, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster all come standard. Adding these features to the Defender all but eliminates the price difference between the two.

The Defender may have more second-row leg room, but the Discovery gets a more usable third row. Passengers in the way back have 33.5 inches of leg room. That’s not much compared to larger SUVs, but it’s downright spacious compared to the tiny third row in the Defender.

The Discovery isn’t an efficiency all-star, but it’s more economical than the Defender at the pump. The EPA estimates that the Discovery will do up to 21 mpg combined in terms of fuel economy, while the Defender 110 manages only 18.

Regular or Rugged?

The Discovery is a familiar genre. It still brings typical Land Rover capability, but it plays right down the middle for a three-row family SUV. That’s not a bad thing — for families who need to carry more than four, the Discovery’s third row is an asset.

The Defender is more of an iconoclast, foregoing efficiency and conventionality for a boxy shape and go-anywhere enthusiasm. It’s slightly more capable and practical than the Discovery, but it’s also less luxurious.

Our Verdict: Land Rover Discovery

Although these two models occupy the same segment, they’re aimed at different buyers. The Discovery is better suited to family duty, while the Defender has its sights set on adventure. If you need all-out capability, the Defender is as good as it gets. In most cases, however, the Discovery is likely a better choice.

Take a closer look at the Land Rover Defender »

Take a closer look at the Land Rover Discovery »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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