Motoring and Property Editor
8:54 AM 22nd July 2020
Lockdown Wheels - Land Rover Discovery Sport On Test
I was lucky enough to watch the first Land Rover Discovery Sport roll off the production line at Halewood way back in 2014. It is now the company’s best-selling model.
Last year saw an all-new version hit the showrooms, using Land Rover’s premium transverse architecture, the aim being to deliver greater refinement and comfort whilst meeting ever more stringent global safety requirements.
What is it?
At the UK media launch I was only able to try diesel-powered vehicles, so requested a petrol variant for testing on home turf. The car was delivered the day before the UK was placed into lockdown and so I got to enjoy the car for four months instead of the usual week. So how did I get on?
First the details:
Land Rover Discovery Sport P200 S R-Dynamic
From £41,425 On The Road
As tested £48,510
200hp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine
0-60mph in 8.6 seconds
Top speed 128mph
Combined economy 28.5-30.2mpg
Emissions – 179g/km CO2
Wading depth 600mm
How does it drive?
The Discovery Sport noticeably quieter and more refined that its predecessor. This is especially apparent on the motorway where wind and road noise are all but absent.
The Ingenium petrol engine goes about its business with barely a murmur and once on the move, the nine-speed automatic gearbox ensures that power is available when needed. There is a little low speed sluggishness, which I overcame by switching the box into ‘sport’ mode.
On my favourite test routes, the Discovery Sport always felt safe and assured, and on wet days the capable four-wheel drive system ensured traction aplenty.
R-Dynamic trim is aimed at the more sporting driver and boasts larger 18-inch wheels. However, my test car had been specced with 20-inch alloys and although they were undoubtedly stylish, the rather brittle low speed ride was less welcome. A box to be left unticked I would suggest and save £1,605 into the bargain.
With time aplenty as lockdown eased, I was able to spend a day off-road exploring many of our local byways. It was a chance to push the 4x4 to the limit and unsurprisingly, I came away impressed. Steep ascents, scary descents and a little river wading were the order of the day and all were overcome with ease thanks to the capable 4x4 system which works in conjunction with clever electronics.
The only limiting factor was the low front spoiler, which required a little extra care on some of the trickier sections of the route.
An optional extra was the Clearsight Ground View system, which uses clever camera technology to display the position of the front wheels on the display screen – extremely useful when picking a safe route over challenging terrain.
Looking back at my notes from the launch, I recorded around 36mpg with diesel power. Knock off around 10-12mpg from that figure and you get an idea of what to expect from the petrol engine. Even at gentle motorway cruise, I could not get anywhere near 30mpg and this was with just me on board. Add in a full complement of passengers and luggage…
Should I buy one?
Unlike many of its rivals, the Land Rover Discovery Sport offers space for seven. Admittedly the rear seats are best suited for younger children but folded away they intrude little into the boot space and are easy to fold out when required.
The quality of the interior is also worthy of mention with premium materials much in evidence. The front seats are most comfortable.
There is plenty of the latest tech if that is your thing and the digital Touch Pro infotainment system is mostly intuitive to use.
Of course, another Land Rover ace card is the ability of all models to deal with snow, ice, a muddy field or a rutted track.
It is a long list…
I would suggest that the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 are the most obvious premium rivals. It would be easy to make a case for each, but if you need those extra seats and/or the capable 4x4 system, then there really is only one choice.
So how to sum up the latest Land Rover Discovery Sport? It offers a premium, spacious and versatile cabin and a range of refined Ingenium engines. Still as capable as ever off-road, the on-road refinement impresses too.
Economy was disappointing but you can now buy a Plug-In Hybrid model capable of up to 38 miles of fully electric running and this would seem to be the sensible choice. Or (and I whisper it), you could always buy a diesel…