Trying to figure out which of these cars to buy? We compare the Land rover discovery 4 vs Range rover sport and 2017 land rover discovery vs range rover sport to make an informed buying decision as to which car to buy in 2020. This comparison has been carried out on the basis of prices, engine specifications, mileage, and features of these cars.
Land rover discovery 4 vs Range rover sport
Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 HSE
Price when reviewed£56,060 (as tested) £51,220 (starting price)Quick verdict
One of the most likeable cars we’ve driven all year – the Discovery is a huge family holdall that will also happily cross the Sahara tomorrow. Whether most people need its capabilities is a moot point, but it provides good performance and a very fine cabin environment, and technology that will keep the whole family happy
Read full verdictFor
- Feels genuinely premium – but more than that
- Almost regal and stately
- Doesn’t have the same ‘nasty person’ image as a Range Rover Sport
- Genuine to-the-moon-and-back capabilities
- Brilliant towing and off-road skills
- Weighs more than two tonnes
- Drinks fuel
- Cabin not as ultimately versatile as the best MPVs
- Sat nav occasionally threw a wobbler
A car industry executive once told us that no matter how good his company’s new model was, he knew it wasn’t going to sell many, because people in the UK were badge snobs. Look around you at how many BMWs and Audis there are on the road, and its hard not to conclude many people buy based on brand.
And one brand that seems to polarise more than most is Range Rover. To some, the Range Rover is the king of cars; to others, the sign that there’s a footballer’s-wife wannabe of a bully behind the wheel. But what about Range Rover’s little brother, Land Rover? Land Rover has always had a different image. More countryfied, much less showy than a Range Rover. So given that the Discovery4 shares much of its innards with the Range Rover Sport, could it be the perfect answer to those who want a 4×4 but not the image that comes with Range Rover territory? We loaded one with a family’s clobber for a week in Cornwall and set off to find out.
2017 land rover discovery vs range rover sport
Design evolution, not a revolution
The Discovery 3’s been around since 2004 and you’d be forgiven for thinking the Discovery 4’s the same car. Its form is very similar, but when Disco 3 became 4 in 2009, the car underwent some significant changes.
On the outside, old Discovery 3’s grey plastic mouldings and utilitarian style were binned in favour of a fully colour-coded exterior and more shiny bits. It’s a handsome and distinctive shape offering all the bluff, chunky qualities you expect from an off-roader. But the colour details, lights and grilles of this car are a little chintzy to our eyes, removing some of the qualities that once signified Land Rovers as true working vehicles you could bash about a bit. So much so that Discovery 4 would pass for a Range Rover.
And it’s an impression that continues on your first encounter with the Discovery. Its scale seems vast. In fact, it’s not much longer, wider or more difficult to park than other SUVs or MPVs. It just seems very tall, a sense accentuated by that third rear window that runs up into the roof. Pop open the boot, and you’ll discover the same split up-and-down tailgate that Range Rovers get, too.
That boot means you can fling the glass part open and up and then chuck light bags in easily – all the time being sheltered from the rain. But drop the lower section too and you’ve a flat deck that will support the weight of two rugby-players and proved to be the perfect perch for popping wellies on to small people. In fact, the boot itself is so deep that with the lower tailgate folded down, six foot of us couldn’t reach all the way to the back of the boot to recover the footballs and cricket bats that had ended up their every time we got to the beach.
Climb aboard and that sense of size hits you again. The Discovery rides on air suspension so it can hoik itself clear of rocks and rutted (off)roads. But it also drops to an “access” level to make getting in and out easier. This doesn’t happen automatically though and the first few times we parked up, we forgot to select it, which made getting in and out a fair old climb.
On board, you’ll start to understand why so many well-to-do families and farmers rate these cars. You’re sitting at van-driver height and really are king of all you survey. But unlike so many, tank-like modern cars with their gun-slit windows, the Disco scores with its airiness. You’re high up but the beltline of the car is low compared to your hip point, so you don’t feel hemmed in. And unlike many, pointlessly “sporty” family cars, the window line doesn’t kick-up as it runs to the back of the car, so kids in child seats get a great view out, too.
And if you really have got a big brood or a rugby team to ferry around regularly the two, pop-up rear chairs in the boot floor happily accommodate six-footers. Just don’t expect all seven people to be able to bring all their luggage along.
Almost too good for grubby kids
The cabin really is a lovely, special and very premium-feeling place to be. But, we kept asking ourselves, is it a bit too nice? After our muddy walks and beach days, it felt wrong to get inside the cream-leather and light-coloured carpets of our test car without first stripping off. But then marketing people probably think wipe-down plastic mats and a 50 grand premium SUV do not make happy bedfellows.
On the road, the new twin-turbo V6 diesel means that the slothful ways of the Discovery 3 are banished to distant memory. Helping it along is a new 8-speed automatic gearbox, which you can override with steering wheel paddles. The new combination of engine and gearbox certainly makes for rapid progress in a vehicle that weighs 2.5 tonnes, but you’ll be reminded of all that weight when you really need to stop. The brakes work just fine, but it’s easy to encounter the laws of physics and properties of momentum on roundabouts in between sections of dual carriageway.
But as a car to chomp through 400 miles of motorway in, an air-suspended Discovery has few equals. That high-up view, air-cushioned ride and an engine which is barely ticking over at 70 mph make it uber-relaxed. On country roads it’s less good. Here, air suspension means it bounces and rolls around, so passengers in the back won’t thank you for trying to make progress. In comparison, the average MPV feels like a hot hatch.
King of the rutty road
Of course, many people who buy a car like a Discovery do so for its abilities to tow a horsebox across a muddy field or get to their house at the top of the hill in the midsts of winter. And here it really has no equal. Off-road, Land Rover still rules the roost. The same Terrain-response selected fitted to Range Rovers meaning our foray down a much muddier than expected, then flooded, farm track was brushed off with ease. To misquote an old beer advert, the Discovery will take you places other 4x4s cannot reach.
Meanwhile, towing a damaged track car to a new storage place proved so little strain for the Discovery that we didn’t actually notice the tow-rope had snapped half way to the destination. It’s little wonder you see so many of them pulling horseboxes and caravans up and down the country.
But where you go in it, you and your family can be entertained or distracted by what is – for most of the time – one of the best infotainment systems in the business. Land Rover clearly has the sense to realise that, with the number of electronic devices the average family now posses, it’s no longer sufficient to provide just one 12v charger and USB port in the front. So instead you get two 12v ports at the base of the dash, two USB ports in the centre bin, then another charger and USB port for the second row passengers, along with a further one for those in the very rearmost seats. Navigation, phone and music for the car as a whole is accessed through the familiar Jaguar-Land Rover high-mounted touchscreen.
It’s not the best around but made much better than the installation in the Jaguars by having physical shortcut buttons for radio, media, navigation and phone menus. A black mark to the navigation though for first freezing and then giving up altogether in the centre of Bath during a torrential thunderstorm. We were also a bit confused why, at every occasion it alerted us to a traffic delay ahead, upon asking it to ignore or route around the issue, it threw us back to the home menu screen, rather than the navigation route map.
In contrast, the optional Harmon Kardon Logic7 sound system gets a big thumbs up. With its 17 speakers, it produces a deep and rich sound, regardless of where you’re sitting in the car.Verdict
To live with for a week, over 1,000 miles and a family load of people and kit, is to understand why you see so many of these cars on the road. It possesses a business-class aura that makes the experience of traveling in it feel special and ultimately enjoyable and very likeable. At this level, and if you need its abilities, there is little that will better a Discovery. So advanced, luxurious and complex has it become, that it’d make you question buying a Range Rover.
And it’s on that note we can’t help sounding a note of caution, or questioning how many people – families in particular – really need its talents. The complexities and luxuriousness of this vehicle – not to mention its offroad and towing ability, add a great deal of weight, which you’re aware of when you drive the car and in its fuel consumption – we averaged 27mpg. This will dent its appeal to many. Some wouldn’t be seen dead in an MPV, but a car like a Ford S-Max costs half as much, has more of the cubby holes and clever storage solutions families find useful and will do 95 per cent of what a Discovery will do, 90 percent of the time.
Go-anywhere qualities may go hand-in-hand with Land Rover’s brand, but we can’t help feeling that with the next-generation Discovery, Land Rover could afford to take a step back towards its more practical, simpler roots. At the very least, that would create some clear separation between this and the Range Rovers, which, with its opulent Luxury and all round abilities, the Discovery 4 is treading on the toes of.
THINKING OF BUYING A LAND OR RANGE ROVER?
The Land Rover has been with us for over seventy years, a modest, no-nonsense premise that has gradually evolved into an unrecognisable international institution. From its honest origins as a utilitarian all-wheel drive, the Land Rover and Range Rover brand now represent the twin peaks of SUV ownership, be that workmanlike all-road ability, or the height of automotive luxury.
The original Land Rover enjoyed two largely uncontested decades in the market, before customer demand for greater comfort saw the introduction of the Range Rover in 1970. This divergence of brand identity has since seen several generations of Defender and Discovery produced, alongside equally numerous permutations of the original Range Rover and its own recent off shoots. These include the Sport, Evoque and Velar, all riffs on a central tenant of all-terrain ability allied with varying degrees of exclusivity and comfort.
Today, Land Rover and Range Rover enjoy an enviable if not always wholly accurate reputation for go-anywhere ability, integrity of design and build and enjoy largely unmatched desirability. The recent launch of the new Defender has only served to bolster the brand’s standing, while highlighting the fact that even Land Rover’s most rugged offerings are now being targeted not at the farmers and soldiers who put it on the map, but at a lifestyle clientele for whom appearance is more important than application.
Manufacturers are falling over themselves to produce SUVs or every shape and size today, so much so that we’re spoiled for choice. Land Rover has kept abreast of this broadening of the market, however, evolving its flagship Discovery into a more luxurious family car while aiming to meet the demands of the more outdoorsy with the next Defender. It also sells the Discovery Sport, essentially a Freelander Version 3.0, and has enjoyed similar diversification under the Range Rover moniker. Here, the full-size Rangie is supplemented by the Sport, Velar and entry-level Evoque, creating a variety of new price points and applications.
The SUV is in strangely rude health at the moment and nowhere ruder than at Land Rover, but there is increasing pressure on manufacturers to offer more environmentally sound alternatives to large capacity petrol engines and particulate-heavy diesels. The next few years will see growing numbers of towns and cities limiting or banning such powertrains from their centres, or slapping significant levies on those that are driven within them. Land Rover has hybrid drive systems in development, but for the next few years it will be pursuing its current course, one that is at odds with the national zeitgeist.
WHY BUY A LAND/RANGE ROVER?
Both Land Rover and Range Rover offer a compelling package of space, solidity and refinement that makes them hugely attractive to larger families and anyone wishing to drive in supreme comfort and arrive in unrivalled style.
Genuine off-road ability is something that buyers are looking for less and less, but it is there in spades with the Defender, Discovery and even the full-sized Range Rover. These cars offer highly complex switchable all-terrain systems that are more than a match for most planned departures from the asphalt. But what draws most buyers to the Land Rover stable, and keeps them there, is the opportunity to waft about in a quiet, cosseting cabin, sitting in a seat that’s more comfortable than your favourite armchair.
WHAT TO BUY?
There are no turkeys in the Land Rover and Range Rover line-ups and your decision can afford to be fairly subjective, led by budget and personal preference. The first generation Evoque wasn’t up to snuff in terms of interior quality and packaging, but it has recently been replaced with a car that improves on the original concept in every direction.
In terms of older offerings, the final iterations of the last Discovery are sought after for their stately, angular architecture and versatile, hard-wearing interiors, while the original Defender, which only ceased production in 2016, is increasingly collectible.
Looking ahead, the new Defender will be in huge demand when it arrives en masse in 2020. The most desirable model looks likely to be the short wheelbase 90, with its nostalgic styling and proper second row of seats – something that was frustratingly absent from its predecessor.
If you are considering a classic Land Rover, the early Series models are the ones to plump for, while the original three-door Range Rover has also become something of a collector’s item. These cars offer a decent degree of dependability for a genuine classic, and are very useable as second or third car.
HOW MUCH TO SPEND?
These days a sensibly optioned Range Rover is a six-figure car, although the base price for the company flagship is a little over £83,000. At the other end of the spectrum, an Evoque 2 can be on your drive for as little as £32,295.
Pricing for the new Defender pitches Land Rover’s most anticipated new product somewhere in the middle, with the long wheelbase 110 starting at £45k, while the pared back ‘Commercial’ 90 will still be £35k before VAT.
Residuals are not great on either Land Rover or Range Rover products, built as they are in high numbers and commonly leased, but this means there are some bargains to be had on well-maintained low mileage second hand cars and there’s a strong national network of approved used dealers.
When it comes to the classics, there are some real bargains to be had after almost 70 years of continuous production. Really early Series Land Rovers are starting to be regarded as investment pieces, however, and it is possible to spend £135,000 on a ‘Reborn’ Range Rover from Land Rover Classic.
BUYING ON A BUDGET
There are plenty of tired old Defenders out there that can be snapped up for comparatively little and vastly improved over time without breaking the bank. Neglected early Range Rovers will likely as not be rusty, however, and those sorts of repairs can spiral.
As for new cars, strong diesel engines can go round the clock but overall build quality has been hit-and-miss in Land Rover’s recent past under the control of both the Premiere Automotive Group and Tata. Insist upon a comprehensive service history and shop around.
There are a number of different finance options to get you behind the wheel of a new or used Land Rover or Range Rover. Hire purchase allows you to pay for your car in monthly instalments with the option to buy outright at the end of a fixed term contract.
You can also get a lease purchase agreement that’s similar to a hire purchase agreement, where you make monthly payments, but lower due to the lump sum deferred to the end of your agreement, also known as balloon payment.
Should you wish to make a purchase without selling the car you already have, you can also take advantage of car equity release, allowing you to borrow against the value of your existing collection.
|RANGE ROVER SPORT 2018|
|REPRESENTATIVE FINANCE EXAMPLE|
|Total amount of credit||£61,200|
|Total charge for credit||£13,140|
|48 monthly payments of||£828|
|Final balloon payment||£34,000|
|Total amount payable||£81,140|
|Fixed rate of interest per annum||6.39%|
|Duration of agreement||49 months|
*Shown above is a hire purchase with balloon finance example, purely for indicative purposes. Please contact one of the team for a tailored quotation.
If you borrow £61,200 and pay a £6,800 deposit to the dealer for a car with a cash price of £68,000 over 48 months at a Representative APR of 6.9% and an annual interest rate of 6.39% (fixed), you would pay £828 monthly with one final balloon payment of £34,000. The total amount payable including your deposit and fees would be £81,140.
BUYING AS AN INVESTMENT
No modern Land Rover or Range Rover product is likely to offer you a return on your investment unless you are looking to flip a new Defender for a small profit. There is a little more scope with a classic Land Rover or very early Range Rover, but these were volume production cars that lack the necessary scarcity today to make them really sought after among serious collectors. A highly original Land Rover is one to drive and enjoy, rather than mothball for a rainy day.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
1. CAN YOU AFFORD IT?
Even a hybrid Range Rover has a conspicuous thirst and cars of this size and complexity are seldom cheap to run and maintain. Expect to be clobbered by emissions-based charges if you drive a big diesel through town, and anticipate a healthy hit of depreciation when buying new.
2. MAINTENANCE / INSURANCE/ ADDITIONAL COSTS
A large SUV will see you visiting the pumps more often than most. They are also expensive to insure and tax, so make allowances for that. Regular maintenance is a must, as is a comprehensive service history if you are buying second hand.
Despite trading on a reputation for go-anywhere abilities, Land Rover and Range Rover running gear has been prone to failure in the past, particularly the air-suspension which is a common cause of the dreaded ‘Limp Home’ mode. Buy from an approved dealer and make sure there is a proper warranty included.
3. WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
The latest Land Rover and Range Rover families are by-and-large well-built. Take a test drive in any second-hand model, however, and ensure that all the electronic systems work, from powered sunroof and windows to the tricky Terrain Response driving modes. The best thing you can do is check through the service history to ensure all major service points have been recorded, and make sure that the car comes with a comprehensive warranty. HPI check any prospective purchase against theft, accident damage or outstanding finance.
Original Land Rovers rust in the chassis and bulkheads and it is not uncommon to find extensive repairs or even a full replacement underneath. The original Range Rover, steel-bodied and largely unprotected against corrosion, is also extremely vulnerable to rot, especially around the split-tail gate. Prices are creeping up on old Landie parts now too, so look for the very best you can afford in the first instance.
4. OTHER THINGS WORTH KNOWING
Land Rover’s own approved used network is the best place to begin your search for a modern Land Rover or Range Rover: https://used.landrover.co.uk/
The classics, meanwhile, are ably supported by a number of well organised owners’ clubs, both regional and national. Forums and classifieds abound, with varying levels of expertise, but there is no shortage of advice out there and a similar abundance of cars to choose from. There is also a wealth of technical advice, parts and fully warrantied servicing available from Land Rover Classic.
SERIES IIA LAND ROVER
A subtle but useful evolution over its forebears, the IIA Land Rover arrived in 1961, offering better styling and refinement, although there was still precious little of either. The car was offered for the first time with a diesel engine in this period, however and it was the IIA that, with its pick-up, canvas back and short and long wheelbase wagon configurations, really took hold on a global scale. This is the definitive Landie and a true automotive icon.
Bowing to popular pressure to create an off-road vehicle that is customers could tolerably drive on the open road, Land Rover produced the first Range Rover in 1970. The three-door wagon has stood the test of time, both attractive and functional, and it still influences Range Rover’s design language to this day. Powered by lazy Rover V8s and boasting dual range permanent all-wheel drive, the Range Rover created the very concept of the SUV as we know it.
RANGE ROVER VELAR
Range Rovers diversification has not always struck a chord with the traditionalists, but the Velar, its mid-priced, road-oriented lifestyle offering, is a triumph of 21st design. Exterior and interior alike, this is a head-turning car that encapsulate all that is right with Jaguar Land Rover at the moment. Its more compact dimensions allow it to cope well in cities, while a light, spacious and ultra-modern cabin is a joy to breeze about in.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY IV
The second iteration of the handsome, angular Noughties Disco, the D4 had ironed out most of the reliability issues that dogged the D3, while steadily improving refinement and powertrains. After the arrival of the controversially styled L462 in 2017, demand for low-mileage D4s spiked noticeably and the best-kept of these cars will continue to be coveted by the Land Rover cognoscenti for years to come.
RANGE ROVER VOGUE
The fourth generation Range Rover, internally coded L405, is another high point for the Land Rover brand. This stately flagship SUV, which arrived in 2012, debuted a new aluminium monocoque chassis that shaved off as much as half of tonne over its predecessors, significantly improving driving characteristics and efficiency in the process. The definitive full-size SUV, the Range Rover continues to set the standard by which all others are measured.