Land Rover Discovery Sport review


In a world where SUV and crossover models increasingly reign supreme, there’s still one name that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Plenty of pretenders to the crown have cropped up in the past few years, quite a good many of them offering fantastic cars, but Land Rover is still king and has now returned with an all-new model to reassert its dominance as ruler of the SUV roost.

Step forward the Land Rover Discovery Sport, a sleek and sophisticated new entry to the market, which builds on the stylishness of the smash-hit Evoque, but with all the typical Land Rover practicality that drivers have come to expect from the marque.

It’s at this stage in the review that we’d normally post some sort of rhetorical question, asking whether or not the car we’re reviewing is actually any good compared with its peers. In this instance, however, we’re going to make no bones about it: the Discovery Sport is fantastic. How fantastic? Well, let’s take a look!

Exterior

Carmakers tend to go one of two ways when building a family-friendly SUV; either they try to emphasis the ruggedness and capability of it and end up with something too tough and boxy, or they try and make it all cutesy and end up with something that just turns out frumpy.

However, Land Rover successfully toes the line between the two, hitting the sweet spot right in the middle, with the Discovery Sport melding together a hardy exterior that looks like it means business, without being unapproachable.

Sleek and modern, it features a much more dynamic stance and contoured body design than the outgoing Freelander it replaces, and also ditches the usual Land Rover badging on the nose in favour of prominent ‘DISCOVERY’ lettering. Clearly, then, the Discovery Sport is something that Land Rover’s proud of, and if the looks are anything to go by it’s obvious why.

Interior

That’s not to say that it’s all mouth and no trousers, however. Versatility has been a key theme that Land Rover has borne in mind while creating the Discovery Sport, and the company claims that it’s the most practical and useable Land Rover yet.

Largely thanks to its versatile 5+2 seating, which adds an extra two seats in the rear for smaller passengers or kids, it also has the option to slide the seats around and remove them altogether to free up more space in its already sizeable boot. Add five doors for easy access, and the Discovery Sport is at home on the school run as it is clambering up a mountain somewhere.

Legroom is also impressive, as is headroom all around the vehicle, meaning that despite its compact dimensions it’s extremely useable for all types of drivers and passengers in all types of different situations.

Because it’s a Discovery-badged model, it’s a bit more workmanlike in its fit and finish than, say, a Range Rover, with less leather and a more pedestrian-looking gear knob. If you’re thinking that makes it look cheap, however, you’d be wrong – tough and chunky, it features sturdy controls and an improved infotainment system with stylish graphics and quicker response time.

It also comes with plenty of on-board options, like heated seats, an optional large panoramic roof and an array of next-gen safety and driver assistance equipment like autonomous emergency braking, which automatically engages the brakes in the event of an oncoming low-speed collision.

On the road

Small SUVs are becoming increasingly fun to drive, and the Discovery Sport is no exception in the slightest. Sharing underpinnings with the popular Range Rover Evoque, the Discovery Sport shares the same composed and impressive ride, flowing with the roadway in a grown-up way despite its size.

If off-roading is your bag, the Discovery Sport doesn’t disappoint either, coming with a Terrain Response system that has different settings to tune the throttle, gears and four-wheel drive system to a variety of different terrain like grass, gravel, snow and mud. It can also wade through water in a depth of up to 600mm and has a maximum towing capacity of 2,500kg.

Only one engine is available from launch, the same 2.2-litre diesel that has previously seen action in both the Freelander and the Evoque. In the Discovery Sport, it generates 187bhp, which is enough to propel it from 0-62mph in as little as 8.4 seconds, with a top speed of 117mph.

Fuel economy is also pretty decent, able to achieve up to 46.3mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of just 57.7mpg, which equates to road tax of £180 a year.

If you can wait, Land Rover are due to introduce the new Ingenium range of diesel engines to the model, with order books having been open from this April. Available with a 2.0-litre displacement and a choice of either 148bhp or 178bhp, and boosts fuel economy to as much as 57.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 129g/km, meaning £110 a year in tax.

Verdict

With a hugely desirable badge, great looks and a practical interior, the Discovery Sport could be potentially the best choice for families after a premium SUV with the right blend of prowess and versatility.

Reasonably compact in size, it’s also perfectly suited to running around narrow roads and cramped car parks, while even the older diesel engine won’t cost you the earth to run. Starting from just over £30,000, the Discovery Sport is definitely at the premium end of the spectrum, but it undercuts several of its direct rivals and is expected to hold its value better to boot.

Add that to excellent driving characteristics and serious off-road credentials and the baby Discovery is easily one of the best SUVs on the market right now, if not one of the best new cars full stop.

For more information on the Land Rover Discovery Sport, why not get in touch with our Land Rover dealerships today?