High wa­ter marque

The ver­sa­tile Dis­cov­ery Sport typ­i­fies the brand’s resur­gence and, off-road, leaves the Ger­man ri­vals be­hind

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

THE lat­est Land Rover is a dis­cov­ery process for the brand and for buy­ers.

The Dis­cov­ery Sport is aimed at ev­ery­thing from topend Subarus to BMWs, with a pack­age that fits more in to the com­pact SUV than its ri­vals can match.

That breadth of ca­pa­bil­ity extends from its off-road abil­ity to its seven-seat op­tion and high­lights the rapid im­prove­ments to the Land Rover line-up since it rein­vented it­self with the launch of the Range Rover Evoque.

The Disco Sport is based on the Evoque plat­form but trades the Range Rover’s fash­ion-led fea­tures for ver­sa­til­ity.

That will have Audi Q5, BMW X3 and top-end Asian SUV mak­ers dou­ble-check­ing their fea­tures and hon­ing prices in ad­vance of the Disco sport’s show­room touch­down in May.

VALUE

To en­joy a sporty drive, add $3470 to the list price of the Disco Sport.

The ac­tive driv­e­line that uses on-de­mand AWD and in­cludes the very com­pe­tent torque vec­tor­ing is a $1620 op­tion; adap­tive dy­nam­ics, which uses metal par­ti­cles in the damper fluid to help keep the car flat through the cor­ners and in­cludes a “dy­namic” drive mode is $1850.

Th­ese are re­served for the high-out­put diesel and petrol en­gines.

The vast ma­jor­ity of buy­ers will part with an­other $2500 for the nine-speed au­to­matic. The auto is stan­dard only on the $59,000 petrol model and that is sold only in Australia in base SE guise.

It is the per­for­mance pick of the range, eas­ily eclips­ing its diesel sta­ble­mates in terms of sprint times.

Not many will go for it — the take-up on the petrol is ex­pected to be only slightly higher than those who want to shift gears for them­selves.

As Jaguar Land Rover spokesman Tim Krieger notes, “this is a diesel seg­ment”.

Other op­tions in­clude a pair of third row seats at $1990 (air vents for those seats add an­other $1150), blind spot and re­verse traf­fic mon­i­tor at $1150, metal­lic paint at $1300 — or if you must, “pre­mium metal­lic” paint at $2600.

The range starts at $53,300 for a man­ual TD4 turbo diesel. Step­ping up to HSE trim level costs $57,900. Opt for the higher-out­put SD4 diesel and the price is $56,500 in base guise, HSE is $61,100 and ,top­spec HSE Luxury starts at $66,500.

SE ver­sions are fit­ted with a re­vers­ing cam­era, rear park­ing sen­sors, au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, cruise con­trol, leather up­hol­stery, lanede­par­ture warn­ing, pow­ered front seats, an eight-inch touch­screen with SD card sat­nav and the four-mode “Ter­rain Re­sponse” soft­ware that adapts steer­ing, gearshifts, throt­tle re­sponse, the cen­tre diff and brak­ing.

The HSE adds xenon head­lamps, front park­ing sen­sors, 19-inch wheels, airqual­ity sens­ing cli­mate con­trol and ups the num­ber and qual­ity of the speak­ers.

The SD4 HSE Luxury has higher-qual­ity leather, Merid­ian 16-speaker au­dio with CD/DVD tray and dig­i­tal au­dio and nine-spoke 19-inch­ers.

DRIV­ING

First im­pres­sions: the Dis­cov­ery Sport has more ini­tial body roll than an X3 and whether in petrol or diesel is no match for the BMW ri­vals in a straight line.

Then we hit the gravel and that tar­mac tilt is for­given and forgotten as the Land Rover serenely pow­ers over cor­ru­ga­tions that would have the BMW’s oc­cu­pants air­borne.

It is an ex­traor­di­nar­ily ca­pa­ble back­blocks blaster and can con­fi­dently be driven at high­way speeds on hor­ren­dous sur­faces. The torque-vec­tor­ing can be felt help­ing the com­pact SUV to tighten its line around cor­ners and the sta­bil­ity con­trol un­ob­tru­sively kicks in when

re­quired. The elec­tric power steer­ing is di­rect and well­weighted and con­veys re­as­sur­ing feed­back.

Most buy­ers won’t do more than travel down a well-graded gravel road but they won’t miss out on a re­fined ride. Noise sup­pres­sion is good and the nine-speed auto is slick head­ing up or down the cogs — us­ing the pad­dle-shifters for man­ual changes isn’t as con­vinc­ing, with a mo­ment of lag on shifts.

And the nine cogs are ef­fec­tively eight on road.

First gear is re­served for low-speed off-road ma­noeu­vring and, in com­bi­na­tion with the hill de­scent con­trol, will re­strain the ve­hi­cle’s pace down steep in­clines. It works with­out fuss and can be over­rid­den by us­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tor if needed.

In­te­rior space is good in any seat, with the slid­ing rear pews en­sur­ing plenty of legroom for 180cm trav­ellers. Opt for the third row and there’s room — just — to ac­com­mo­date adults, pro­vid­ing the sec­ond row is fully for­ward. They’re best left to smaller kids on longer jour­neys.

Some of the in­te­rior plas­tics, such as the pan­els along the top of the doors and down the side of the cen­tre tun­nel, don’t feel pre­mium but there are soft­touch sur­faces on the dash top and door arm­rests.

One quirk of the model range is the fact the range- top­ping HSE Luxury makes do with the last gen­er­a­tion in­fo­tain­ment set-up be­cause the new ver­sion isn’t yet com­pat­i­ble with the Merid­ian au­dio. It’ll be fixed for the next model year but for now it’s a case of sec­ond best for the best ve­hi­cle.

VER­DICT

This is one of the most con­vinc­ing ex­am­ples of the resur­gent Jaguar Land Rover brand.

It has a pres­tige look and feel backed by ver­sa­til­ity that goes well be­yond that of Ger­man ri­vals.

That’s go­ing to res­onate with the more ad­ven­tur­ous buy­ers in the pre­mium com­pact SUV seg­ment.

Forr tthe aad­vent­tur­rouss:: Mosstt buy­errss won’’ tt do morre tthaan ttr­raavell down aa wellll-

gr­raaded gr­raavell rroaad

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.