World War II changed the world in many ways, including what we drive. SUVs and 4x4s were born on the front lines of Africa, Asia, and Europe. The vehicles that were engineered for use in war made such an impression on soldiers that even after V-J Day, those who returned home wanted to explore the outdoors in the same capable off-road vehicles they drove in the theater of battle.
Civilian Jeeps, which were built after the war, became so popular in America that, on the other side of the pond, a group of people was inspired to start a similar movement in Britain, leading to the creation of Land Rover in 1948.
With the two brands primarily developing 4x4 SUVs, the competition couldn’t be more real. Over the years, both have not only stayed true to developing off-road aces—from the Defender to the Wrangler—but also created family-oriented SUVs with elegant touches. In their hearts, though, these automakers have largely traversed the same path.
The Grand Cherokee has positioned itself as the flagship of the American brand, bringing luxury and capability to jeepers. The Discovery has become the unconditional family SUV, taking people places few vehicles can.
That mentality—in their “Above and Beyond” and “Do Anything” slogans—has set both brands on parallel roadways toward developing capable 4x4 SUVs. Jeep’s mainstream approach has given four-wheel-drive access to a great swath of humanity, and the brand has successfully satisfied those who want a more premium experience behind the wheel with the Grand Cherokee. Jeep’s efforts don’t stop there—a Grand Wagoneer is in the works, which will supplant the Grand Cherokee at the top of the Jeep lineup.
Land Rover’s offerings have traveled a more exclusive path, but its off-road heritage has not been forgotten. With the new Defender, the brand has shown what it’s capable of while satisfying those who want a luxury experience.
With the Grand Cherokee and Discovery established as capable veterans, we asked ourselves if the luxury experience in the Land Rover is worth the premium over the mainstream but talented Jeep.
Boasting space for five and ample cargo room, the Grand Cherokee is available in seven trims; from the wallet-friendly Laredo starting at $33,645 to the asphalt-rippling 707-hp Trackhawk, there’s a Grand Cherokee for almost everyone. Its unibody structure, derived from the old but still good Mercedes- Benz ML-Class platform, has received few improvements since the fourth generation made its debut more than a decade ago. But by bringing midcycle updates to its interior and exterior design and adding new engines and trims, the Grand Cherokee doesn’t feel like it’s about to be redesigned after a 10-year run.
Our Summit tester is the head of the mainstream Grand Cherokee family and distinguishes itself from other Grand Cherokees with its 20-inch wheels, new fascia, grille, and LED lamps. Although the Summit keeps the 3.6-liter V-6 as the standard engine, we drove a unit with the optional 5.7-liter V-8, which delivers 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque via an eight-speed automatic. As with most Grand Cherokees, our Summit came equipped with the Quadra-Trac four-wheel-drive system, and its air suspension provides a smooth ride on pavement while helping clear obstacles during off-road driving.
Although the Discovery sits at the middle of Land Rover’s lineup, the SUV offers space for five passengers, with an optional third row for a 5+2 configuration. The Discovery has been around since 1989, and it was Land Rover’s first off-road-oriented family SUV. With the fourth generation arriving in 2017, the Disco now shares its platform with its bigger, more opulent siblings, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Besides changing its design completely, the Discovery got a brand-new interior that’s more advanced and elegant than ever.
For our comparison, we drove a 2020 Discovery HSE powered by the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 making 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Land Rover still offers a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 in the Disco, but the gas engine provides more horsepower and is faster. We also had our HSE equipped with the optional air suspension, 20-inch wheels, and the seating package for seven.
Our Discovery crossed the checkout counter at $76,034, but customers can get a decently equipped Disco closer to the $62,775 that our Grand Cherokee Summit costs (including the air suspension). With both SUVs priced at more than $60,000, which offers the best luxury experience?
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
WITH FAST 9 SLATED FOR A JUNE 25 RELEASE, WE EXAMINE THE FRENCHIE'S INFLUENCE
You can only ask this question in the context of a Fast and Furious film: How do you top a ’68 DodgeCharger with a jet engine in the trunk?
The Israeli Job: “Fixing” traffic control to liberate $1.2B in lost commuting time
Who hasn’t been stuck seething at an interminable red light with zero cross-traffic?
NOTHIN' BUT A GOOD TIME
TWO TYPE R’S, AND THE WAY THINGS ARE DONE AROUND HERE
WITHOUT ITS ROADSTER, PORSCHE MIGHT NOT EXIST TODAY
That was the headline on a New York Times story published on January 20, 1996, detailing the German marque’s effort to turn around its finances and reinvent the way it had built cars for more than 40 years.
HOW DID ROB CORDDRY MAKE THE JOURNEY FROM FUNNYMAN TO AUTOMATIVE HOOLIGAN? WE GO BEHIND THE SCENES
2022 Volkswagen Golf R
Drifting a Volkswagen Golf is weird. Like, really weird. The Golf has long been a beacon of front-wheel drive—and FWD-based all-wheel-drive— excellence, but getting its rear to swing wide typically meant yanking a handbrake or getting hit by a dump truck.
LETTING THE DAY GO BY
BENTLE ROLLS-ROYCE, AND AN EPIC SOCIALLY DISTANCED DRIVE UP THE PACIFIC COAST
BIG POWER, BIG LUXURY, JUST PLAIN BIG
2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV
2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport HPD
Perception Matters: Looking more like a truck is no bad thing
Don’t let the square headlights fool you too much, this is a JL with some crafty throwbacks to the ’87-’95 Jeep Wrangler. It all started when Quadratec, a shining star in the Jeep aftermarket world, turned 30 years old.
Precursor to luxury: Looking back to the Kaiser Jeep Super Wagoneer
As we put hands to keyboard on this issue of Four Wheeler, Jeep has only begun to tease us with its latest entry in the premium luxury SUV field: the Grand Wagoneer concept.
STEER YOU RIGHT
A PSC Motorsports Big Bore XD steering box solved our Jeep’s steering woes
SHINE AND DANDY
We install some Denali LED lights and the sPOD Mini6 control panel
THE GOBI JEEP
Anatomy of a JK that’s built with important and problem-solving upgrades
HOMEMADE OFF-ROAD TRAILER
’65 Ford F-100 chassis
THE MEN RIDE SHOTGUN
ON a Sunday morning last month, women from the midwest got behind the wheel of their Jeeps, some for the first time. The location was Robbers Cave State Park in Southeast Oklahoma as part of the Jeep Invasion, an organized event to support local fire and law enforcement departments, organized by Lori Spiva Long.
A POSITIVE OUTCOME ON YOUR DUI
Many vintage and performance vehicle owners are looking for an alternative ignition solution to a point type distributor and traditional coil.
24 HOURS OF MADNESS
Reliving the Sh!%box Derby: You would only do this in an old, beat-up 4x4
Let me take this opportunity to give you my take on the ’21 Ford Bronco because 4,530,229 online stories have probably failed to satiate your appetite for unsolicited opinions of Ford’s new would-be Wrangler killer.