The 2020 Land Rover Discovery offers all the luxury and off-road capability of the larger Range Rover line, but with a more modern chassis and more fuel-efficient engines. The Discovery‘s lightweight aluminum body is impressively strong — an attribute that helps reduce body flex and thereby lessen interior creaks and rattles.
The Discovery’s design also improves performance both on and off the road, yet towing remains a respectable 8,201 pounds (7,716 with the diesel engine). This 3-row, 7-passenger luxury SUV isn’t the largest or roomiest in its class, but it’s certainly one of the most capable SUVs on the planet. Unlike rival SUVs from Audi, BMW and Lexus, the Land Rover Discovery is a true off-roader that’s capable of tackling rugged terrain and muddy fields or even soldiering through deep water.
The Discovery’s styling isn’t as brash or defining as that of the larger Range Rover or the Range Rover Sport, but it works in this case, creating a sleek, modern luxury SUV that stacks up well against competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90.
What’s New for 2020?
For 2020, the Land Rover Discovery gets a new Landmark trim that slots in just above the base SE. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard, and the SE trim gets some equipment revisions that include blind-spot monitoring and heated power folding and auto-dimming side mirrors. See the Land Rover Discovery models for sale near you
What We Like
- Lightweight design
- Powerful gasoline engine
- Excellent off-road ability
- Roomy interior
- Lots of luxury features
- Competitively priced
What We Don’t
- Lower tow rating with diesel engine
- Infotainment interface can be confusing at times
- Bottom seat cushions could use more support and length
- Poor fuel economy on gasoline models
The 2020 Discovery offers a choice of two engines. First up is the standard supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine good for 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic is standard, as is an all-wheel-drive system offered with a choice of two different transfer cases. Fuel economy figures are a rather dismal 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.
Optional on the Discovery is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 good for a slightly lower 254 hp, but significantly greater 443 lb-ft of torque. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy figures for this engine are a respectable 21 mpg city/26 mpg hwy. Oddly, while it has more torque, the diesel engine’s tow rating is about 500 pounds lower than what the gasoline engine can tow.
Standard Features & Options
The Land Rover Discovery for 2020 is offered in four trims: SE, Landmark, HSE and HSE Luxury.
The Discovery SE ($53,325) includes the 3.0-liter supercharged V6, an 8-speed automatic transmission, AWD with a single-speed transfer case, automatic LED headlights, auto high beams, Hill Descent Control, start/stop technology, an acoustic laminated windshield, sliding and reclining second-row seats, a 10-in InControl Touch Pro with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10-speaker 250-watt sound system, 4G Wi-Fi, 19-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a fixed panoramic glass sunroof, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, rain-sensing wipers, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic detection, a powered inner tailgate, power liftgate, power-folding heated side mirrors with auto-dimming feature, a rear backup camera and leather seating with 12-way power front seats.
The Discovery Landmark ($59,525) adds 20-in gloss black wheels, Meridian audio, Park Pack (traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and speed limiting plus high-speed emergency braking), navigation, 4-zone climate control, a power sunroof and the Cold Climate Pack (heated steering wheel, heated front- and second-row seats, heated washer jets).
The Discovery HSE ($60,725) adds a power gesture tailgate, 3-zone climate control, a power sunroof, InControl Pro navigation, 20-in alloy wheels, a 10-speaker 380-watt Meridian sound system, keyless entry, an interactive driver display, a power-adjustable steering column and memory for the power driver’s seat.
The Discovery HSE Luxury ($68,225) is a more advanced AWD system with a 2-speed transfer case, electronic air suspension, a panoramic electric sunroof, Windsor leather seating, 16-way power front seats, heated front and rear seats, electrically reclining rear seats, auto high-beam control, a power third-row seat with an intelligent seat-folding feature, a 14-speaker 825-watt Meridian sound system, a heated steering wheel and configurable ambient lighting.
The diesel engine adds $2,000 to the price. Options vary by trim and include the Driver Assist Package (adaptive cruise control and a surround camera system), the Cold Climate Package (heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and heated washer nozzles) and the Remote Intelligent Seat Fold package. Other optional package features include Terrain Response 2, electronic air suspension with 11 inches of possible ground clearance, Wade Sensing, a heated third-row seat, a head-up display and a rear-seat entertainment system.
As one would expect, the Land Rover Discovery comes equipped with standard safety features, including ABS, electronic traction and stability control, emergency braking with pedestrian detection and a full set of airbags including front-side impact and side-curtain airbags. It also has a blind spot monitor, lane-keep assist and departure warning, a driver monitor, a speed limiter, park assist and an available surround-view monitor.
To date, neither the government nor the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the 2020 Land Rover Discovery.
Behind the Wheel
We drove hundreds of miles across southern Utah and northern Arizona in the Discovery, touring stunning Zion National Park and nearing the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Weather varied from dry and warm to cold and foggy, and our altitude changed by thousands of feet during the trek — we thoroughly wrung out the crossover.
A double-wishbone suspension in the front is supplemented by an advanced multilink suspension design in the rear. These work as a cohesive team to deliver an impressively smooth ride. Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional air springs, which further enhance the ride quality. They also allow the chassis to be raised and lowered to suit the terrain.
Aerodynamics play an important role in highway speeds, both in terms of fuel efficiency and passenger comfort. Vehicles that don’t cheat the wind are loud and can be buffeted by crosswinds. The shape of the Discovery blows its predecessors out of the water in terms of sleekness. Whereas the previous-gen Series 4 had a terrible coefficient of drag (its Cd was about .40), the current model boasts a Cd of .33 — that’s sedan territory. Occupants will notice smoothness in heavy winds and a near absence of wind noise.
Luxurious on-road performance usually means compromised off-road capabilities, but not this time. In fact, we’d argue that the new crossover is even better off-road than on — and that’s a distinguished accolade. In addition to its impressive ground clearance (11.1 inches) and its approach, departure and breakover angles (34, 30 and 27.5 degrees, respectively), the Discovery will wade through water nearly 3 feet deep, which even humans have difficulty doing.
Terrain Response 2, a Land Rover technology accessed via a dial on the center console, configures the vehicle’s systems for a variety of surfaces (grass, gravel, snow, mud, ruts, sand and rock crawl) with the twist of a wrist. And the automaker’s All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) will automatically crawl over each obstacle, which allows the driver to focus on the path ahead.
We drove the Land Rover Discovery over rocks so large that we shook our head in disbelief. We climbed over sand dunes that were several stories tall without slowing. We traversed long, dusty roads still feeling pampered inside the luxurious cabin. The Land Rover never bottomed out, never got stuck and never allowed any natural impediment to stop its forward progress — and, most impressively, it accomplished every task on stock all-season tires.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Volvo XC90 — The XC90 isn’t as expensive as the Discovery, and it has a more dynamic appearance. The Volvo also offers more luxury features, like the second-row captain’s chair seating with a center-console refrigerator. While the performance with the turbocharged 4-cylinder isn’t as robust as the Discovery’s V6, you can get a plug-in hybrid model that’s both quick and efficient.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS — The Mercedes-Benz GLS is a bit roomier and offers more in the way of engine options and performance, including a high-output AMG model. But the GLS can’t tackle the same tough off-road obstacles as the Discovery, and it costs a lot more.
2020 Audi Q7 — The Q7 3.0T costs a bit more than the Discovery, but what it lacks in off-road capability it makes up for with a decidedly more comfortable ride. The Q7 also affords you a more luxurious interior and excellent crash-test scores.
Used Land Rover Range Rover Sport — A 2014-2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport has more power and luxury features with the traditional look and build that many Land Rover owners expect from this legendary British make.
For the money, we’d go with the HSE or HSE Luxury trims. Both trims come well-equipped and have the diesel engine option. Plus, they allow you to pick and choose additional equipment. If you plan on doing serious off-roading, however, go with the optional Terrain Response 2 and electronic air suspension, which are both part of the Capability Plus Package. Find a Land Rover Discovery for sale