Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Land Rover Discovery Gets a Refresh but It’s Still Ugly

There is no denying that the Land Rover Discovery is an extremely capable off-roading SUV. Since its debut in 1989, the Discovery has served as an off-road-focused SUV while the Range Rovers served as the luxury off-roaders. However, the introduction of the third-generation Discovery in 2017 was met with relentless criticism. The complaints centered largely around the uneven rear hatch. According to Land Rover, the 2021 Discovery benefits from minor aesthetic tweaks and major tech upgrades.

Here’s what new in the 2021 Land Rover Discovery

A photo of the 2021 Land Rover Defender outdoors.
2021 Land Rover Discovery | Land Rover

For 2021 the Land Rover Discovery gets two main upgrades. The first comes in the form of new R-Dynamic models. As the sporty nomenclature alludes, the Discovery R-Dynamic gets a sharper aesthetic with new front and rear bumpers. According to Land Rover, the model “provides assertive road presence.” In reality, the exterior tweaks a fairly minor but are highly welcomed. New LED headlights and taillights also join the fold to give the Discovery a sleeker look.

The second and largest upgrade for the 2021 Land Rover Discovery is a new infotainment system. To display its new Pivi Pro1 software, Land Rover gave the Discovery a new 11.4-inch touchscreen. This is a notable upgrade even over the all-new Defender and its smaller 10-inch touchscreen display. Aside from being larger, the new display is capable of receiving over the air updates.

The 2021 Land Rover Discovery also kicks your watch to the curb with an all-new activity key. The new key features touchscreen controls and a digital watch. Like the first-gen, it can lock and unluck your off-roading SUV.

The rear-end remains as lopsided as ever

A photo of the 2021 Land Rover Defender outdoors.
2021 Land Rover Discovery | Land Rover

RELATED: The Jeep Wrangler Just Can’t Keep up With the Land Rover Defender

Now that we’ve covered the good, we can move on to the bad and ugly. That’s because the 2021 Land Rover Discovery doesn’t fix one of the model’s largest design flaws. While the front-end now looks quite sharp with its LED headlights, the rear still features an uneven opening to accommodate the license plate.

Land Rover’s Design Director and Chief Creative Officer Gerry McGovern told Auto Express UK, “We’ve got a study going on at the moment, and I don’t want to change that asymmetry, but we do need to do something about the number plates.” That interview took place in 2017, and as you can see, not a whole lot has changed.

U.S. bound Discoveries get even shorter license plates than the European ones. The result is that the overall asymmetry is highlighted with a large opening and a tiny plate. It is important to point out that an offset license plate is not new for the Discovery. However, many older models carried a spare tire on the opposite end, balancing the rear-end.

Prices start at $53,900

A photo of the 2021 Land Rover Defender outdoors.
2021 Land Rover Discovery | Land Rover

If the Land Rover Discovery has still managed to steal your heart, here’s how much it will cost you. The 2021 Land Rover Discovery 2.0L S and its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine carry a base price of $53,900. If you want the sharper front and rear bumpers, you’ll have to opt for the Discovery 2.0L S R-Dynamic, which starts at $56,400. It is important to note that both lower trim levels share the same 296-hp engine.

Toward the top end of the trim levels, we’ve got the Discovery 3.0L S R-Dynamic, which starts at $61,900. The main benefit here is the addition of a turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine developing 355 hp. The range-topping trim is the Discovery 3.0L HSE R-Dynamic for $68,900.

If you love the Discovery’s aesthetic, you are set to own a highly capable off-roading SUV. However, if you don’t like the looks, opt for the slightly smaller yet highly capable Defender. That way, you get excellent performance and looks to match.