This is the Land Rover Discovery Sport and it’s just had a facelift. Key changes include new mild hybrid engines to boost efficiency up to 6%. It’s got all new underpinnings with increased practicality than before, with more space inside. The Discovery Sport also has a new infotainment system. So it’s quite a comprehensive rework.
Special mention : Comfort, road presence, cabin refinement, Premium badge, you can option just about any and every adventure accessory possible. Excellent stereo.
Needs work : Exterior looks are fine but could do with a modern update
Specs: As tested
|Max Power 150 HP||Diesel / Auto|
|0-100 km/h in 10.2 seconds||Road Tax €370|
|Boot 157 (7 seats up) – 754 – 1,794 litres|
Land Rover’s strategy of expanding their three vehicle families – Defender, Discovery and Range Rover lines – continues into the 2020s as an increasingly busy time for the brand. More plugin hybrids are arriving, full electrification is coming, buying in engines from Ford is ending, and a new platform arrives next year.
The Discovery looks to be replaced by a completely new model in 2023 so these updates are made to count. From the outside you wouldn’t notice any massive differences from the previous version. You have a slightly different bumper design and new headlights. There has been an increase in quality with a nice mix of high-quality materials. It’s especially nice on the dashboard with brushed metal effect across the dials which have a nice damping and quality feel to them.
The new infotainment system is largely the same as the one in the Range Rover Evoque which uses a 10” touch screen. You get plenty of connectivity including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but you don’t get those on the entry-level trim. The screen can sometimes be a bit sluggish to respond to touch inputs and its operating system isn’t as intuitive as it could be perhaps.
In the Discovery Sport you get one of the best driving positions of any SUV. Details such as the placement of the central armrest are bang-on and you sit genuinely high so you get a proper SUV driving position. There’s an interactive driver display which gives you a configurable digital screen in front of the drivers seat which shows you a variety of information. It’s not quite as configurable as is possible but still impressive.
The switches for the electric windows are quite high on the drivers door and can sometimes accidentally get nudged. Up front the storage is very good, under the central armrest you have an enormous cubby to store pretty much whatever you need and there’s a couple of USB ports too. They’ve provided a handy rubberised mat to put keys and underneath that there’s some cup holders.
In the back, the rear seats can move across rails to create extra space and when they’re as far back as they go, there’s absolutely loads of room especially when compared to the X3 and the Q5. Legroom is especially impressive and there’s lots of headroom adding to the extremely comfortable environment. The Discovery Sport is available as a 7seater, access to the rear most seats is a little tight as the wheel arch encroaches on the access space. Even when you move the middle seats forwards, legroom at the back doesn’t improve massively, as there’s a shallow foot which pushes the passengers knees up quite high.
They haven’t thought of any clever places to hide the boot cover if you need to remove it but perhaps for the next version, they’ll add a clever little nook for it. The third row seats can be folded fully into the boot floor when they’re not needed and the middle row can fold down from the back as well. The boot is big, very simple and square which is great for loading bigger items. There’s an auto tailgate on the top two trims, you can’t get a gesture controlled tailgate but they never really work anyway, unless you’re trying to entertain everyone in the Tesco car park.
The Discovery sport is priced competitively against five seatPremium rivals like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 and it’s more versatile than them as well but when you compare it to more mainstream rivals like the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiak it’s expensive. The Discovery sports upmarket image is what you’re paying premium prices for.
The Discovery Sport once set the standards for safety in this class receiving the full five star verdict from Euro NCAP back in 2015. Automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist is standard on every Discovery Sport. Traffic sign recognition displays the speed limit on the driver display as well as blind spot monitoring which are both available from SE trim and up. There are five engines to choose from with two Petrol and three Diesels. The P200 feels pretty quick saround town and on the motorway, requiring a little bit of pushing when going to go for an overtake. The P250 offers more power although neither of the Petrol engines offer the low rev pulling power that the Diesel engines have.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of towing then it might be worth considering the Diesel D 240 because that offers better low to mid-range pulling power.
Around town the massive supersize 20 or 21 inch wheels do make a difference but if you go for the smaller 18 or 19 inch alloys the ride improves and it just takes the edge off it on the motorway. It’s still incredibly relaxing and mile munching is absolutely effortless in the Discover y Sport.
When you’re on a winding bit of country road there’s a noticeable amount of body leaning through corners. You feel some vibration through the controls and hear a degree of Diesel roar, the Petrols are smoother and quieter by comparison.
As far as choosing a trim level you’ve got to decide whether you want a regular Discovery Sport or a dynamic version the latter simply adds some sporty styling touches and costs a bit more money but it’s identical underneath. Both versions come with a hefty equipment list that includes dual zone climate control a 10” touch screen infotainment system and a full roster of off-road systems including terrain response to hill descent control and low traction launch.
You have a choice of trims from SE and HSE but we reckon this is the one to go for because you get sensible size alloys 18” so the ride is still comfortable plus you get things like electrically adjustable front seats that are heated along with leather interior. It’s possible to option a synthetic alternative interior if you prefer for no cost. For fuel economy and performance the Diesel D 180 is the best all-round engine in the lineup. You can also add some extra USB ports if you’re not fussed about leather steering wheels then you can have a suede cloth one as an alternative for no extra costs we’d also consider adding the interactive driver display more so than the head up display.
It’s a big car so the park pack helps make squeezing into parking spaces easier. It’ll steer itself into a space for you and you get a 360 degree camera, rear traffic monitor to help stop you reversing out into oncoming traffic. Its exterior dimensions disguise the space and comfort beneath. It’s a luxury vehicle that is a genuine SUV and as calm as its demeanour may be, when the going gets tough, the Discovery gets going.