Defender vs Discovery 5: Which Is Better Touring 4WD?

Why Did The Defender Beat The Discovery 5?

This was a tough decision.

These cars are very similar. Engines are similar, dimensions are similar, towing credentials are similar. They play in the same sandbox.

Yet, they have very different personalities.

In the end, I decided that Discovery is the better all-around car while the Defender is the better towing offroad tourer.

Let me share a few reasons why:

  • The D5 wins the rear boot space contest by a country mile. This is great if you’re carting 2 kids and all of their stuff to school, but in the context of towing and touring, it’s less important. Both cars’ 1900 kg rear axle cannot be upgraded and, if you start trying to fill the back of the car with gear after hitching up a 300 kg TBM, you’re likely to exceed it way before you run out of room. I must concede, however, that the D5’s rear space is much more usable due to its hatch, rather than swingout, rear door design.
  • The D5 has a more premium, luxurious interior. Although fantastic, it is almost too nice for our purposes. The beatiful recessed buttons won’t like sand, dust and water. The Defender’s luxo-utilitarian interior nails the balance of comfort, usability and durability perfectly.
  • The Defender is more easily modified. It’s been in production for less than 2 years and already we’re seeing a plethora of interesting, useful aftermarket options coming out – albeit mostly from the USA. I think this trend will only accelerate – and give Defender owners more upgrade options. The D5, meanwhile, has now been in production for almost 5 years and aftermarket options that are available for it are mostly mild and/or cosmetic in nature.
  • The D5’s wheelbase is 90mm shorter, which will make it more maneuverable in the street, but less stable when towing large vans. That being said, it also has a shorter rear overhang, which I expect to offset for the disadvantage.
  • The D5 has a slightly lesser ground clearance.

Overall, the D5 is a great car with an athletic, luxurious, refined personality while the Defender is, well, more of a capable, practical 4WD.

The former is a city SUV that can also take you offroad without flinching while the latter is a touring SUV that can also live in the city.


  1. Such great info… we agonised over this and checked everything out including the L300. The defender won the heart and mind contest by a mile and that sweet mild hybrid and supercharged straight 6 closed the deal.

    1. Hi Iain, sorry it took a while to respond. Congrats on your decision – the Defender is a beast. If you see this – how are you finding it, 6 months later?

  2. I am not sure if the comment about the D5 having a shorter rear overhang is correct. I compared the Defender 110’s rear overhang (to the tow hitch) with the Disco 5 side by side at the LR dealership, and I drew the conclusion that the Defender would be a more stable and capable tow vehicle because of the much shorter rear overhang compared to the D5. The departure angle difference between the Defender and the D5 says it all.

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