The best 4x4 by far?
In the 1980s car adverts were quite cinematic, and a famous Land Rover example featured a Defender climbing up a dam followed by the tagline 'The best 4x4 by far'.
SUV popularity has of course become more popular since then, but one thing has stayed the same, Land Rover make some of the best 4x4 SUV vehicles you can buy, and their reputation for off-road excellence has not diminished.
An all-new Defender came along in 2019, after 67 continuous years of the very first Defender, which ended production in early 2016.
The new Defender is a much more refined affair, reimagined for customer wants and needs in today's market, but how does it stack up against Land Rover's other model in the form of the excellent, even more refined Discovery?
Read on to discover (no pun intended) the differences between these two Land Rover icons.
Introduction and Design
SUVs have certainly grown in popularity in recent times, but Land Rover is unique in the fact that it has only ever offered SUVs. Therefore, it has a strong reputation which has seen its models sell very well the world over.
The Defender and Discovery are true 4x4 models that perform brilliantly whether it is on or off road. Many SUVs today simply offer a watered-down experience and feature 2WD and can get nowhere near the off-road capability the Defender and Discovery offer.
What is more, the Defender and Discovery names have both been around for decades and are undoubtedly some of the best luxury 4x4s you can buy, so how do you go about deciding which is best for you?
From a design point of view, choosing between a Defender and Discovery could be quite tricky. A Defender could be seen as the more iconic name, and with three bodystyles it offers more choice, but the Discovery is that little bit more refined and takes after its Range Rover sibling in certain trims.
From looks alone, the Defender is perhaps targeted at a slightly younger buyer, while the Discovery features a more reserved and refined package, which may tempt the more mature buyer.
When looking at the Defender, there are three bodystyles - 90, 110 and 130. Essentially, the larger the number, the more practical the Defender is. This is most certainly the case with the 90 as it features 3 doors, whereas the 110 and 130 are much more practical with their larger bodies and 5-doors as standard. That said, it looks the most dynamic out of all the Defenders and Discovery models - and if chosen with the V8 petrol engine, it is quite the package.
Multiple engines are available with both Defender and Discovery. Disovery models tend to be either petrol mild hybrid or diesel mild hybrid. The diesel mild hybrid offers around 300bhp and can go from 0 to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, whilst the petrol mild hybrid offer around 350bhp, meaning it is slightly quicker from 0 to 62mph taking just 6.2 seconds.
Discovery Sport models come with either diesel mild hybrid engines or petrol plug in hybrid engines. Performance is better in the latter which matches the fastest Discovery engine, whilst the former takes around 8 seconds to complete the 0 to 62mph sprint. There is also a petrol mild hybrid which takes around 7 seconds.
The Defender offers PHEV with both diesel and petrol engines, along with high performance V8 petrol engines. 0 to 62mph times tend to be between 6 to 8 seconds for the diesel models, or as low at 5 seconds for the V8 petrol versions.
It is worth noting that there is also 'Commercial' versions of the Defender and Discovery, which offer van-like load space as standard.
Interior and Technology
Interiors of the Defender and Discovery are pretty similar as they are both fully-digital and loaded with refinement and premium feeling materials. Both feature the Pivo Pro infotainment systems which give both models a real modern feel when behind the wheel and when in the cabin.
The Discovery is slightly more refined and is perhaps most similar to its Range Rover Sibling. Discovery Sport versions tend to more sporty and therefore not as refined, but their less expensive price suggests that from the off.
Defenders can be made to be very old school like the original, with interiors very much made for muddy boots, pets and transporting lots of stuff. Alternatively, they can also be made really plush and many aftermarket tuning companies offers lots of packages to make them even more desirable.
No matter which vibe attracts you, both cars come with lots of state-of-the-art technology which can help them perform brilliantly both on and off road.
In terms of practicality, the Discovery is excellent being a large 7-seat SUV. The Defender increases in practicality depending on the exact specification you go for.
In terms of the Discovery, you get the regular Discovery, or the Discovery Sport - both feature 7 seats.
- Discovery = 5 doors, 7 seats, 1,137-litre boot (drops to 258 litres with all 7 seats in place)
- Discovery Sport = 5 doors, 7 seats, 840-litre boot (drops to 115 litres with all 7 seats in place)
However, if you are opting for a Defender, you can tailor your practicality needs depending on bodystyle:
- Defender 90 = 3 doors, 5 seats (6 seats if jump seat selected at optional cost), 397-litre boot (Increasing to 1,563 litres with seats folded)
- Defender 110 = 5 doors, 7 seats (2,127 litres in 5/6 seat mode, or 550 litres in 7 seat mode)
- Defender 130 = 5 doors, 8 seats (389 litres of boot space in 8-seater mode, 1,232 litres in 5-seater mode or 2,291 litre of boot space with all rear seats folded)
Value and Final Thoughts
In a world where SUVs dominate popularity, the Land Rover name is hard to beat if you want a 'proper' SUV that delivers excellence both on and off road.
Whether you choose the cutting-edge Defender or the more refined and reserved Discovery, you will be getting one of the best SUVs out there.
Whether you want a Defender or Discovery will be decided on personal preference, but one thing is for sure, no matter which one you will pick, you will not be disappointed.
Find your perfect Land Rover at Stratstone
If you have your heart set on any Land Rover, let Stratstone help you find your perfect example, or why not let our official Land Rover retailers look after your Land Rover with our excellent aftersales services.
Alternatively, if you enjoyed this article, why not check out more like it in our dedicated blog section.