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

Top 10 best 4x4s and off-road cars to buy 2022
Best 4x4s and off-road cars - header image
Best cars & vans

Top 10 best 4x4s and off-road cars to buy 2022

After a four-wheel-drive vehicle with a bit more off-road clout than the average SUV? Our top 10 best 4x4s list is the place to go…
21 Feb 2022
Top 10 best large SUVs on sale 2022
Best large SUVs - header image
Large SUVs

Top 10 best large SUVs on sale 2022

Need a practical family car? Look no further than the best large SUVs on sale today
20 Jan 2022
Land Rover Discovery review
Land Rover Discovery
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
21 Oct 2021
Land Rover launches new MY23 Defender and new limited edition Discovery
New Land Rover Discovery - front
Land Rover

Land Rover launches new MY23 Defender and new limited edition Discovery

New Hard Top variants of new Land Rover Defender arrive alongside highly equipped Discovery special
14 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Best motorhomes 2022: the top 5 picks for all budgets
Chausson motorhome
Tips & advice

Best motorhomes 2022: the top 5 picks for all budgets

In the market for a new motorhome? Here are our top-five recommendations...
18 May 2022
New all-electric Volkswagen Aero B saloon to rival Tesla Model 3
Volkswagen Aero B exclusive image - front
Volkswagen

New all-electric Volkswagen Aero B saloon to rival Tesla Model 3

The new four-door VW Aero B EV could come with up to 435 miles of range and our exclusive images preview how it could look
20 May 2022
New Kia Niro EV prototype review
Kia Niro EV  prototype - front
Kia Niro

New Kia Niro EV prototype review

We get behind the wheel of a pre-production prototype version of the 201bhp Kia Niro EV
22 May 2022