Driven: Land Rover Discovery Sport Review
Here is the first drive review of the Land Rover Discovery Sport after Motor Verso were given the opportunity to test out the car on a range of test roads at Millbrook Proving Ground.
What is the Land Rover Discovery Sport all about?
Say hello to the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the replacement for the outgoing Freelander II. The Discovery Sport offers a whole new look for the mid-size SUV Land Rover model.
It is quite clear that the Land Rover carries some of the typical characteristics down from the Range Rover Sport, such as the headlights, that front grille and the famous lettering concept across the front bumper. I quite like the newly designed car and think it was a much needed lift, the Freelander looks a bit dated now we have the Discovery Sport to compare it to.
I can see some elements of the Freelander in the shape though, specifically, the car still has the distinctive C-pillar. Although there are some similarities on the outside, the Discovery Sport now incorporates 5+2 seating on the inside allowing some extra seating in the boot for small children.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport has a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine that creates 178bhp and 380Nm of torque, this power goes through a 9-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels. This means that the car will get from 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds and will do a top speed on 117mph, whilst still returning 53mpg combined.
How does it drive?
The Discovery Sport has a similar ride height to the Freelander and feels a similar size to the Range Rover Evoque.
Once you are in the car and on the move, the ride is fairly hard, but still comfortable enough and it does iron out all the flaws in the road pretty well. The Discovery Sport uses a tweaked version of the Range Rover Evoque’s steering system which works well and has a nice, alert feel. Cornering the mid-size SUV there is noticeable body roll at speed, but not really a cause for concern.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine pulls the car along well and is a good balance of power and performance. The 9-speed automatic gearbox works very well alongside this engine, and the gear changes are very quick and gentle.
Testing out the Discovery it was noticeable how refined the driving experience of the car is. Land Rover have done a great job of keeping the wind noise and tyre noise of the car down, which will make a big difference on long distance journeys.
I didn’t get the opportunity to test the car off-road, but the Discovery Sport is said to be very good according to Land Rover’s claims. The car has short overhangs on the front and rear bumpers and a solid four wheel drive system. I think we can trust Land Rover when they say that it will be good off-road.
What is it like inside?
The inside of the Discovery Sport is a beautifully clean place to be, the central console has been tidied up and in true Land Rover style there are lots chunky buttons on the dashboard.
This car is fitted with the 9-speed automatic gearbox, which is controlled by a large circular knob, and although this has been around for some time now I really like how it feels, and it does have a slightly different approach from your typical gear stick. This is also a significant player in what makes the interior feel like a tidy place.
Considering the Discovery Sport is not that big on the outside, on the inside of the car you feel like you have loads of space and don’t forget this being a 5+2 there are also some more seats in the boot if or when you need them.
I loved driving a smaller Discovery, and the package overall isn’t much different but you do get the benefits of better MPG, and cheaper insurance and tax. This leaves you feeling that you have beaten the system, getting similar styling and features from the bigger brother but in a compact and more friendly package.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport takes the mid-sized SUV to places the Freelander couldn’t have reached. The new styling gives the Land Rover brand a fresh face, the car is great on the road, and because of its heritage it will also dominate when things get muddy.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Price: £ 34,200
- Engine: 2.0 Litre TD4 Diesel
- Power: 178bhp
- Torque: 380Nm
- Transmission: 9 Speed Automatic AWD
- 0-62mph: 8.4 Seconds
- Top speed: 117mph
- Weight: 1817kg
- Economy: 53mpg
- CO2: 139g/km
Author: Paul Hadley