Which is the ultimate off-roader? Video, pictures and comparison test
26 March 2010

Land Rover Discovery or Toyota Land Cruiser, which is best? Autocar.co.uk pitted the two against each other to find out the answer.

These two may pander to the recreational off-roader market, but neither has forgotten its core values. For many owners, they represent nothing less than the only practical form of transport.

Alternatively, you can watch the video by clicking on:Land Rover Discovery v Toyota Land Cruiser

Both have just been revised, offering leather-lined cabins containing equipment lists to make a limousine blush, yet, beneath it all, both are hard-as-nails off-roaders, separate chassis, low ratios, unfeasible approach angles and all.

On test are the range-topping Land Rover Discovery HSE, at £48,795, and mid-spec Land Cruiser LC4 at £41,267.

See the Land Rover Discovery v Toyota Land Cruiser pictures

The figures

On paper the Land Rover has the advantage. Both cars have 3.0-litre diesels, but while the Land Rover's has six cylinders and 242bhp, Toyota's is a four-cylinder rattler with 171bhp. The Cruiser gives 302lb ft, the Disco 442lb ft - one reason its 0-62mph time of 9.6sec is over two seconds clear of its rival.

Off-road potential is all Land Rover's too. It is ahead in terms of ground clearance, approach, departure and breakover angles. Only the Toyota's wading depth is better.

Interior

In the Discovery you are greeted by an interior of a class and quality you'd not complain about in a car costing half as much again.

In the Toyota you wonder how it can cost this much money - there's no design cohesion, just an instrument pack and scatter of switches. However, this is an off-roader, and it does have a back-to-basics honesty.

Driving

On the open road, the spec sheet advantage of the Land Rover is even greater. It is quieter, has more precise steering and an incomparably superior ride.

Off-road, the two are more evenly matched. During the best part of a day in a snow covered forest, where one went so did the other. Even so, we'd still rather go mud-plugging in the Disco, as life in it is a whole lot more comfortable.

Living with the car

You're expecting another Land Rover whitewash, aren't you?

Well, the Toyota is more spacious, most noticeably in the second-row seats. The back seats will also flip more easily in the Land Cruiser too.

It also has an aura of dependability that the Land Rover doesn't. It feels all but immune from mechanical failure.

The verdict

The Land Rover issimply too broadly talented to allow itself to be rolled over by a car as crude as this Toyota. Different conclusions may be reached in different regions of the world, but we threw everything at these two that any UK owner could possibly want, and there's only one winner.

The postscript

During the forest section of this test we were looked after by Selwyn Kendrick of Nationwide 4x4, a professional off-road instructor for the past 20 years.

While he admires the Land Rover, it's the Toyota that captures his heart. "They just keep going - quite unstoppable," he says. "The Discovery is wonderful to sit in, but if I needed a car to depend upon, it would be the Land Cruiser every time."

All of which goes to show there is no right or wrong here, just opinions.

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Land Rover Discovery reviews, news and videoSee all the latest Toyota Land Cruiser reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Land Rover Discovery

The Land Rover Discovery has an unbeatable combination of practicality, off-road ability and on-road manners

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Comments
30

26 March 2010

Brilliant! Thanks for doing this test. More, please.

I was quite surprised at how good both the Land Cruiser and the Discovery looked in this environment, especially since the Land Rover has lost some of its workmanlike air with the plasticky bits added recently.

It's easy to see why your off-roading expert admired the Land Cruiser's indestructible feel. I imagine that fragile technology can make the more flashy Land Rovers seem a bit vulnerable in the long-term.

26 March 2010

[quote Autocar]Both have just been revised, offering leather-lined cabins containing equipment lists to make a limousine blush, yet, beneath it all, both are hard-as-nails off-roaders, separate chassis, low ratios, unfeasible approach angles and all. [/quote] I thought the current Discovery was like the Range Rover, and was of unitary construction, rather than having a separate chassis.

26 March 2010

[quote Autocar] While he admires the Land Rover, it's the Toyota that captures his heart. "They just keep going - quite unstoppable," he says. [/quote]

Well...they actually really are unstoppable... ;)

Jokes apart, I still think I would rather have the Disco; although it's not the reliability champion, they haven't been that bad recently and it looks much better than the Landcruiser. Although I still can see why one might prefer the Landcruiser...however, if it was my money, I would try and get a Merc G-Class, since it's stylish, quite luxurious and pretty good offroad too :)

 

- Follow your own star -

26 March 2010

@Dan McNeil v2: the Discovery (and RRS) have, in effect 2 chassis. The body is monocoque, but there is also a ladder chassis.

26 March 2010

How does one pick up an 'aura of immunity to mechanical failure'? Do you mean it feels well built? Because solidity and reliability have nothing in common.

26 March 2010

[quote lbft]

@Dan McNeil v2: the Discovery (and RRS) have, in effect 2 chassis.

[/quote]

Given Land Rover's famously poor quality control that means you'll break down even faster.

http://www.insideline.com/porsche/jd-power-dependability-study-porsche-least-problematic-land-rover-most-issues.html

26 March 2010

It's simple. If you need a 4x4 that really will perform offroad with incredibly ruggedness and reliability and you're not too bothered about the last word in design, you buy a Toyota; if you want what is effectively a faux 4x4 (faux because it is designed overwhelmingly with road use in mind and has a record of huge unreliability going back two decades) that'll impress the neighbours and be nice to sit in, you buy a Disco. There's no shame in either choice. They are actually cars made to completely different design briefs.

26 March 2010

my choice would be the discovery well at least until the warranty expired and i'd be hoping i had bought the toyota

26 March 2010

Did Ford take the Discovery(LR3) replacement's designs with them when they sold Land Rover?:

2011_ford_explorer_f341.jpg

http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2011_ford_explorer_f341.jpg

that sure looks awfully like what an updated Disco could/would have look(ed) like. The clamshell bonnet, blacked out A-pillars and perforated bar grille are all L/R design cues. Even the oval escutcheon on the grille looks ready-made for the L/Rover oval badge. Nice car though.

26 March 2010

Whilst the Disco has some failings I have to say that the Land Cruiser's interior is nothing short of discracefull in this day and age. No effort has gone into it at all. Disco is the clear winner for me.

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