2020 Land Rover Discovery spied with hybrid power in pipeline

Electrified Land Rover Discovery spied for the first time, with mild-hybrid power prioritised for end-of-year refresh

A mid-life refresh for the third-generation Land Rover Discovery is imminent and a development mule for the more versatile Range Rover sibling has been spotted on roads for the first time, near Land Rover’s Coventry headquarters.

On sale in the UK for almost three years now the current car is very much right in the middle of its lifecycle, but this may not be a full facelift. Key rivals such as the Volvo XC90 and the Audi Q7 have received recent updates, and both those cars are now available with electrified powertrains too - something the Disco currently lacks.

Best SUVs to buy

That’s why what will be perhaps the biggest update coming to the L462 Discovery will be the availability of hybrid drivetrains, but a plug-in option may still be a wait away, with 48-volt tech to be prioritised with this new version of the Discovery coming later this year.

In a bid to reduce the company’s fleet CO2 to comply with tough new EU CO2 targets, 48-volt mild-hybrid tech is playing an increasingly important role across Jaguar Land Rover’s business, introduced on the latest Evoque and already confirmed for the all-new Defender, due on roads later this year. 

As such, mild-hybrid versions of the Discovery seem a given, but may require new engine developments. The only mild-hybrid versions of the similarly sized Range Rover and Range Rover Sport both use a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine in combination with a 48-volt starter generator. At present, no large petrol engine is offered in the Discovery, with the petrol line-up capped to 2.0-litres in size. Diesel is still what sells the Disco, and as such, mild-hybrid adaptions of the existing, big selling 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder units may make more sense from a sales-mix perspective. 

All petrol and diesel versions of the new Evoque feature mild-hybrid tech when equipped with an automatic gearbox, but whether Land Rover can adapt the Discovery’s current underpinnings to accommodate this across the line-up remains unknown.

The car spied here is a hybrid Discovery using a petrol engine, according to registration data. There’s no obvious plug-in socket on the mule’s bodywork and the front grille - where the charging flap is located on the plug-in Range Rovers - has been masked off, denying access to a socket here and all but confirming mild-hybrid tech is underneath.

Look to the latest versions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, and the “P400e” plug-in hybrid system, using a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged JLR Ingenium engine alongside a 13.1kWh battery, provides hybrid options in other large Land Rover models. However, a plug-in hybrid Discovery may not be part of the 2020 update - so far we’ve only spotted this mild-hybrid variant.

Elsewhere, this refresh - due towards the end of the year - should see only extremely mild exterior design revisions applied to the otherwise fresh third-generation Discovery shape.

Fancy a hybrid seven-seater? Then head over to our sister site DrivingElectric for their guide to the best hybrid and electric seven-seat cars...

Recommended

Best SUVs to buy 2020
SUVs

Best SUVs to buy 2020

We name the top 10 best SUVs and 4x4s you can buy on the new car market today
15 Jul 2020
Facelifted 2021 Land Rover Discovery spied for the first time
Land Rover Discovery

Facelifted 2021 Land Rover Discovery spied for the first time

The Land Rover Discovery will soon receive a minor cosmetic update – as well as a new mild-hybrid diesel engine lifted from the Evoque
26 May 2020
Best 7-seater cars on sale 2020
Best 7-seater cars - header
7-seater cars

Best 7-seater cars on sale 2020

We pick the best 7-seat cars that provide the best practicality across a wide range of price points
12 Mar 2020
Land Rover Discovery review
Land Rover Discovery - front
Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery review

The fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery isn't cheap, but it's one of the best all-round family cars money can buy
6 Mar 2020

Most Popular

New Suzuki Across 2020 review
Suzuki Across

New Suzuki Across 2020 review

The Suzuki Across is essentially a rebadged Toyota RAV4, but it brings plug-in hybrid power to the Japanese brand for the first time
24 Oct 2020
New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck
Fiat Panda

New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck

The Fiat Panda has been overhauled for 2020, with a new infotainment display part of the package alongside a new look trim structure
23 Oct 2020
New BMW 4 Series 2020 review
BMW 4 Series

New BMW 4 Series 2020 review

We get a first taste of the new BMW 4 Series in range-topping M440i xDrive guise
21 Oct 2020