The Discovery Sport is the logical Land Rover
It's not the Land Rover you want, but it's the one you need.
Looking for an SUV which has the comfort of a Range Rover and the off-road capabilities of a Land Rover? That must be extremely expensive. Well, it seems Land Rover is offering a competitively priced car that offers all the versatility a modern family needs, and it's called the Discovery Sport.
Quite contrary to what its name suggests, the "Sport" is not the sporty declination of the mighty Discovery. The car replaced in 2014 the rather unreliable Freelander, and it feels like the brand needed its new bestseller to have a name with a good reputation. Therefore, just like the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport, we now have the Discovery and the Discovery Sport.
The Disco Sport might not be the sexiest SUV in Land Rover's range, but it is undoubtedly the most important car in the entire range with over half-a-million sold in just six years. It's not only the £32'000 "entry-level" price and its perfect size that attracts many customers. The baby Discovery is a mix of all the classy/techy bits from Range Rover, and the practicality/off-road capabilities of a Land Rover. Therefore, if you are looking for a good middle point, picking the Discovery Sport might be the logical choice.
The Sport received a significant facelift last year in 2019, which comprised of some updated head and taillights, more aggressive bumpers, and better tech. Moreover, they now added a 308 PS plug-in hybrid version which means that the entire underpinnings of the car had to be updated to welcome large batteries. The one we received from Land Rover Switzerland was a good old 250 PS 2.0-litre petrol engine coupled to a very smooth 9-speed automatic gearbox that will do just fine. It's no sports car but it will still go from 0-100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 225 km/h. On the other hand, I was surprised to discover (see what I did there) how well the two-ton SUV behaved on twisty roads. The steering is precise and the handling is admirable. But that's not why the Discovery Sport was conceived. No, the Disco was meant to become a family's best friend. In other words, a roomy and comfortable car. In this over-saturated market of compact SUVs, Land Rover had to find ways to make their car stand out. What about supreme off-road capabilities and an optional third row of seats?
Unlike some of its closest rivals (listed in the poll below), the Discovery Sport seems like the most complete package. While most SUVs are all show but no go, the Disco Sport has a panel of off-road modes that will make the car adapt to any type of terrain it drives on. Really practical if you want to take your family on a picnic on top of a mountain, or in the middle of the desert. A Land Rover will always go where other cars can't go, and in this field, the Discovery Sport is no exception. We played a bit in the mud and snow, and the car never struggled a bit. It's Land Rover magic, I guess. More than this, the baby Disco is a fantastic family car that optimizes every inch of its cabin to accommodate more space for its occupants.
Let's talk about the cabin indeed. No surprises here, you are sitting in a very well-built and luxurious interior. It may not be as classy and futuristic as the one you'd find in a Range Rover, but it goes straight to the essentials. The infotainment system is better than ever and is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for a complete synchronization between your phone and the car. There is also a new virtual cockpit that you can easily customize to display the information you want to see, and Land Rover have also added their rear-view mirror that can transform into a screen projecting the view of a rear camera. More than just a gimmick, it's truly practical when you have a lot of stuff in the trunk, or some tall people sitting in the back seats. The rest of the cabin is pretty neat, and I just regret the piano black finish on the center console that quickly gets covered in fingerprints.
The Discovery Sport could have been the least interesting car in Land Rover's lineup. On the contrary, I was surprised to find out how much effort and thoughts have been put into this car to make it as versatile as possible. As much as I am not a huge fan of compact SUVs in general, I think the Discovery Sport may be the one that makes the most sense especially because of its comfort and off-road capabilities that are worthy of its bigger Discovery brother. Add to the mix some bits and pieces from Range Rover, and an affordable price and you find yourself with a car that ticks all the boxes.
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Land Rover Discovery Sport