4x44X4 TouringCar News

16 ways the new Land Rover Discovery is better/worse than the previous Discovery

The all-new Land Rover Discovery is more evolution than revolution over the previous Discovery, and it’s mostly a change for the better.

HERE ARE ALL THE WAYS we think the new Discovery is better than or worse than its predecessor, also called the Discovery. It’s a bit confusing, but Land Rover dropped the “Discovery 4” name in 2012, so we’re calling this all-new model after its chassis code of L462 and the previous model is the L319. More on that here -What do we call the 2017 All-New Land Rover Discovery?

This is written purely from the perspective of an Aussie touring off-roader, but the comparison will be generally useful for other buyers.

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The good stuff:

  • Lighter – we cannot emphasise how important light weight is, something rarely appreciated by people in the 4×4 industry. Lower weight means better performance all-round, on and offroad, lower fuel consumption, easier and safer recoveries…it’s amazing that the offroad industry really doesn’t care about weight. Land Rover are to be commended for making the Discovery appreciably lighter – 200 to 480kg depending on how you look at it – and all the other  carmakers should follow suit.
  • More effective off-road – the L319 was, and is superb, quite arguably the most offroad-capable wagon on the market. The L462 is an improvement with quite incredible traction control capabilities, and naturally that lighter weight helps too.
  • Better designed air suspension – finally, we can drive with raised suspension over 50km/h. There’s now two offroad heights, one for 75mm over stock for speeds up to 50km/h, and another for 40mm over stock for speeds up to 80km/h. The other modes such as Access, Extended and Super Extended remain the same. And the vulnerable air compressor has been relocated out of harm’s way.
Discovery 4 with the mandatory air compressor protection guard.
  • Easier access to the spare tyre – no need to raise the third-row seats to release the spare. We don’t know if the spare winch has been fixed.
  • Taller tyres – the tyres are now 255/60/19, not 255/55/19. Every little bit of extra sidewall and overall diameter helps.
  • Tailgate – no more split tailgate, just one single-piece lift up with a fold-down inner tailgate. The single tailgate is easier to open, and as before once opened the inner tailgate helps stop things rolling out, and becomes a mini-table or seat. Pretty much all the advantages of the previous split tailgate with easier opening. However, while the L462’s one-piece tailgate is longer than the L319’s it extends out only 50mm further as the L462’s curved back means the hinge point isn’t as close to the back of the car, so you aren’t getting much extra shelter under the tailgate. To some extent the tailgate design is opinion, but our panel of Discovery owners thought it was an improvement and I concur.

  • Fuel consumption and range – dropped from about 9.3L/100km in the Discovery L319 to around 6.25-7.2L/100km. While the 2.0L Discoverys have a 77L fuel tank they should be able to get further than a Discovery 4 between fills, and even further than the L462 V6 with its 85L tank. Overall, range for the new Discovery should be around 30% more than the Discovery L319. But you’ll still need a long-range tank for remote touring work.
  • Towbar- the Discovery L319 had one of the most poorly designed towbars seen on a 4×4. It hung very low and was nicknamed  the Plough. The L462 has a much better design – short overhang, tucked up high and no need for the aftermarket to step in and do what Land Rover should have got right first time.
  • Safety – the Discovery L319 was 4-star ANCAP, the new one gets a 5-star rating.

Not as good

  • Aftermarket support – not a fault of Land Rover, but right now you can buy one of everything for a Discovery 4 – snorkel, long-range tank, bullbar, spare-wheel carrier and more. The new Discovery is unsupported and may be for some time.
  • Cargo space – despite being longer, the new Discovery’s lower roofline and tapered rear end mean there’s appreciably less usuable space in the back. The floor dimensions are pretty much the same, but it’s height and width of loadspace from the windows up where you start to lose out. The less boxy rear end would aid aerodynamics and therefore fuel efficiency, and to some eyes it would look better. Me, all I see is wasted space.

Definite loss of height loadspace.
The base of the boot is a little wider and just as long. However, storage compartments to the sides are much, much smaller – that first aid kit has no chance of fitting in the L462, and there’s no nice flat ledge to store soft bags on when fully loaded.

  • Towing – the Td4 can tow only 3000kg, the rest remain at 3500kg. All L319s were 3500kg. Not that we recommend towing anything 3500kg with any vehicle the size of the Discovery, but higher ratings mean you have more in reserve.
  • Turning circle – the L462 has a significantly larger turning circle at 12.7m vs the L319’s 11.8m. A figure of 12.7m is not a problem, but it’s no longer impressive and the Discovery loses a party trick.
  • Loss of the second glovebox – in the base S model there’s no second glovebox. But all models do have a hidden storage space under the main display.

  • Third row – less spacious than before and the third-row storage pockets are relatively tiny.
  • SCR/AdBlue – now required for the diesels. Shouldn’t cause any issues, but cannot be counted as a positive. This is required by law for Euro 6 compliance.
The L319 has a reason for its offset numberplate. The L462…none at all.

Some changes are personal preference:

  • Interior setup – a big change, the L319 had a famously flexible second and third row with a true three-way second row split and fold-down seats. The L462 has a 40/60 split with a fold-down middle second row, and not quite as flat as before. However, there is an option of electric seat movement. Mostly this is viewed as a negative, but opinion is split.
Second row not quite flat, and shows the partial three-way split within the 40:60 split.

The bottom line

Overall, the L462 is an improvement and would make a fantastic tourer. The Discovery strengths of towing, off-road capability, on-road comfort and luxury have been retained and for the most part improved.

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/ or buy his new ebook!