Ex­tro­vert in dirt

Herald Sun - Motoring - - FIVE THINGS - Peter Barn­well

Disco Sport is high on the list

Un­der the own­er­ship of In­dian con­glom­er­ate Tata, Land Rover’s for­tunes have risen me­te­or­i­cally. The Dis­cov­ery Sport, is the lat­est and pos­si­bly most de­sir­able model, given its af­ford­abil­ity, styling, size, tech­nol­ogy and driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Carsguide drove the Si4, the only petrol vari­ant, sec­ond on the af­ford­abil­ity list and crammed with lux­ury kit. Ac­cen­tu­at­ing its strik­ing looks is a range of stylish al­loys and an ex­tro­vert pal­ette in­clud­ing two-tone com­bi­na­tions.

Com­po­nents are shared Jaguar

The fa­mil­iar­ity be­tween the Disco Sport and, for ex­am­ple, the Jaguar XE is strong. The Si4 has the same en­gine as the XE 25t, the 2.0-litre turbo four (177kW/340Nm). Elec­tronic items in and around the cabin are fa­mil­iar, as is the op­er­a­tion of the in­fo­tain­ment and gen­eral switchgear. You can spot the com­mon parts un­der the bon­net — and they even have the same dis­tinc­tive smell in the cabin.

Ur­ban fo­cus loses no off road abil­ity

The “Depth of Ca­pa­bil­ity” mantra is set in stone at Land Rover. The Disco Sport will go just about any­where and back thanks to a raft of tech­nol­ogy and ro­bust de­sign. Hall­mark Ter­rain Re­sponse gives the ideal set-up for any driv­ing style and en­vi­ron­ment. It has proper 4WD and is built tough to take a ham­mer­ing. The Si4 has am­ple power and torque for any task plus tow­ing ca­pac­ity of 2000kg. Dust it off and the Disco Sport serves as a classy ur­ban run­about with lux­ury car fea­tures and ride. The Si4 has dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, pre­mium sat­nav, leather, a slid­ing sec­ond row of seats, power front seats plus sev­eral op­tion packs.

It packs the lat­est tech

rel­a­tively new de­sign, the Disco Sport has an ad­van­tage over some ri­vals, par­tic­u­larly in driver as­sist fea­tures. It gets stan­dard au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion, radar cruise con­trol, lane depar­ture warn­ing, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, front and rear park aid and park as­sist, 360 de­gree cam­era with junc­tion warn­ing and wade sens­ing. The maker claims 8.0L/100km and 8.2 sec­onds for the 0-100kmh sprint. Wide­spread use of alu­minium cuts weight and torque vec­tor­ing di­rects power to the wheels with grip to help in all driv­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

Be­ing the only petrol is no draw­back

Diesel mod­els have their own ap­peal but this petrol vari­ant has ex­cel­lent throt­tle re­sponse and plenty of verve across the rev range, aided by the silky-shift­ing nine-speed auto trans­mis­sion. Sounds like too many cogs but when you can’t feel it op­er­at­ing, it doesn’t mat­ter. The Si4 might not have the torque of the diesels but it has a snap­pier feel and revs out quicker, im­part­ing a de­gree of sporti­ness that’s a pleas­ant sur­prise given its 1744kg mass. Plus you don’t get stinky diesel on your hands at the pump.

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