Land Rover Discovery Sport Review
Since Tata took over the Jaguar Landrover Group there have been some substantial and rather groundbreaking changes in the vehicle produced in both camps. The XJ had a complete overhaul, turning it into a something entirely new, whilst still making it distinctive in the market. You could never mistake an XJ for any other car, and much the same is still the case. Moving over to the new Range Rovers, they set the new bar in terms of looks and luxury and it introduced the Evoque at the smaller end of the market. With the Landrover brand things have been a little slower to catch up, but now the Discovery Sport, and imminent new Discovery, means all is aligned again.
The Landrover Discovery Sport, a logical replacement for the long departed Freelander, is a more versatile proposition than its predecessor. Think of it as an elongated Evoque (not hard considering they look so similar), with an extra row of seats, but without the Range Rover badge, and you would not be far off the mark.
The Discovery Sport comes as a 7 seat configuration with the rear 2 seats tucked nicely away until you need them. This means you have a substantial boot for the kids stuff and/or the dog when you are not acting as a school-run taxi, however a quick tug of two straps and, voila, you have a 7 Seater, with no boot. And when I say no boot, what I mean is you may just about be able to squeeze a laptop bag or handbag in the back. So, if you are doing the school run 7-up then your charges will be having their bags on their laps. This is, however, pretty standard in all 7-seat SUV’s. Even with the likes of the Volvo XC90 (reviewed here), you get hardly any boot space when 7-up.
What you do get with the Discovery Sport, as mentioned earlier, is versatility. The 2nd row of seats can slide forwards considerably to give 3rd row passengers a reasonable amount of space and the 60/40 split of the 2nd row means you can stagger the seats as necessary. Access into the 3rd row is relatively easy too since the 2nd row folds forwards, or even flat pretty easily. Which can give you a huge boot. However, having isofix seats fitted on row 2 may make things a whole lot more difficult for 3rd row access. This is again nothing unusual in a seven seater.
Comfort wise, the Discovery Sport is rather a pleasant place to be. Passenger headroom throughout is generous and there is a good quality feel to the whole vehicle. The driving position gives plenty of adjustment and can easily accommodate the tallest of drivers, whilst rear leg-room is not too compromised. You do sit in the Discovery Sport, rather than on it like the outgoing Discovery, which makes it a little less intimidating to drive but visibility does suffer a little as a result.
Specification wise, the Discovery Sport is well appointed and comes in a variety of trim levels like its cousin the Evoque (tested here). The entry level SE has a pretty generous specification which includes 1/2 Leather Upholstery, Climate Control, Heated Windscreen, Heated Front Seats, Cruise Control, DAB Radio, Bluetooth Hands Free, Rear Parking Sensors, and 18³ Alloy Wheels. The SE Tech adds Satellite Navigation, Auto Lights & Wipers, Powered Gesture Tailgate, Front Parking Sensors and Front Fog Lamps, for a fairly reasonable £1,500 premium over the SE. The HSE, on test, gives you full leather upholstery with 8-way electric front seats, Panoramic Sunroof, Xenon Headlamps with Auto High Beam Assist, Reversing Camera, Keyless Entry, the excellent Meridian 380w Sound System and 19³ Alloy Wheels along with a few minor upgrades. The HSE Black gives you even larger 20³ Black Alloy Wheels, privacy glass, and all bits of exterior trim are Black to give it a more aggressive look.
The HSE Luxury gives you Climate heated & cooled front seats with more adjustment, heated steering wheel, a whole load of parking assistance technology, Landrovers InControl Apps, configurable interior mood lighting, different 20³ Alloy Wheels and again some other minor tweaks. The range topping HSE Dynamic Lux builds somewhat on the HSE Black with more assertive body styling whilst retaining the luxury feel on the inside. We predict the HSE will be sufficient for most peoples requirements giving you all the tech and luxury you need.
There are only 2 engines available for the Discovery Sport, their powerful and torquey Ingenium 2.0TD4 available as a Manual 180hp or 180hp Auto (tested), or their 2.0TD4 150hp E-Capability engine. Fuel economy for the entry level 150hp engine is impressive at a quoted 57mpg combined whilst acceleration is a little pedestrian taking 11 seconds to get to 62mph. The 180hp manual improves on performance greatly reducing the 0-62mph time to a more agreeable 9.4 seconds whilst fuel economy still remains in the 50’s. The jewel in the crown is certainly the 180hp Auto which carves another second off the 0-62mph time yet retains the combined mpg figure of the slower manual. This is down to the clever and rather smooth 9-speed transmission. All engine variants are paired to 4-wheel drive giving you sure-footed control in almost any driving conditions.
To actually drive, the Discovery Sport feels very car like. Think of it as more like an estate on stilts rather than an SUV. It feels nimble and the steering is responsive at all speeds. The 2.0TD4 Auto combination is certainly the best giving you the power where you need it whilst remaining nice and refined at speed. The technology behind and inside the Discovery Sport is also impressive, but not invasive like it can be on some vehicles. There are still things to touch and interact with which in fact makes the car easier to use than other vehicles going for a completely touch screen interface. As a replacement to the Freelander, the Disco Sport is an excellent successor, it is easier on the eye, more versatile, more economical and still pretty capable. Admittedly, like many school-run SUV’s the furthest off-road it will go is up the kerb or on the drive, but you know it can happily cope with some green-laning and adverse weather too.
As a company car proposition, no it is not the cheapest and the likes of the Nissan X-Trail (reviewed here) will be more P11d friendly, but they will not have the prestige of the Land Rover nor necessarily the quality. To lease, the Discovery Sport would set you back upwards of £400+VAT (for business users only) on a standard 3+35 / 10,000 miles per annum contract (with the occasional deal to be had under £400.
In summary, the Discovery Sport is an excellent 7 Seat alternative to far less attractive MPV’s with a high quality feel and the sure-footedness and secure feeling offered by an SUV.
Facts & Figures (Discovery Sport 2.0TD4 HSE Auto):
Engine: 2.0l 4 Cylinder Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 9 Speed Automatic
Top Speed: 117mph
Fuel Economy (Combined): 53mpg
CO2 Emissions: 139g/km
If you would like to find out more about leasing the Land Rover Discovery Sport, or any other vehicle, you con contact JCS Fleet using the contact form below or by calling us on 01223 911 761.