Go easy on op­tions

Herald Sun - Motoring - - SHORT CUT - Craig Duff

1 It isn’t a Dis­cov­ery

The Dis­cov­ery Sport shares its plat­form with the Evoque and rolls out of the same UK fac­tory (the new Dis­cov­ery is based on the big­ger Range Rover ar­chi­tec­ture). The Disco Sport’s ver­sa­til­ity — it has five and seven-seat ver­sions with diesel or petrol — has made it the com­pany’s top-seller.

2 It is rel­a­tively sporty

Land Rover’s hall­mark is off-road com­pe­tence and this lux­ury SUV fol­lows the for­mula with a ca­pa­bil­ity well beyond what most own­ers will ever ask. That prow­ess rarely trans­lates into on-road en­ter­tain­ment but the Disco Sport is sur­pris­ingly nim­ble on wind­ing tar­mac. Re­spon­sive steer­ing and good front-end grip put its cor­ner­ing turn-in on par with many pas­sen­ger cars and it doesn’t toss the oc­cu­pants around in the process. Our ver­sion was pow­ered by a Ford-built 2.0litre petrol en­gine (177kW/ 340Nm) that en­dows de­cent ac­cel­er­a­tion if you’re not try­ing to match the claimed 8.2L/100km fuel use.

3 Nine-speed auto is ir­rel­e­vant in Aus­tralia

The stan­dard auto uses nine gears to help achieve that fuel fig­ure and the only way we could get ninth was to man­u­ally se­lect it. It’s a tall over­drive that would be ideal in 130km/h ar­eas of the US and Europe but to see it in ac­tion in Aus­tralia will re­quire a trip to the North­ern Ter­ri­tory. The eight ef­fec­tive ra­tios are pretty un­ob­tru­sive but the trans­mis­sion can hes­i­tate as the soft­ware tries to trans­late right foot pres­sure to the rel­e­vant cogs.

4 Some safety aids are op­tional

Seven airbags and au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing are stan­dard on all Disco Sports, as is lanede­par­ture warn­ing — so they should be in a pres­tige SUV. You have to pay ($1180) for blind spot mon­i­tor­ing and rear cross traf­fic alert. Adap­tive cruise con­trol is an­other op­tion — and you can’t spec­ify it with the petrol en­gine. Head off the tar­mac and the “ter­rain re­sponse” soft­ware has three set­tings based on the view out of the win­dows: sand, mud/ ruts and grass/gravel/snow. Sim­ple and ef­fec­tive.

5 Op­tions will mount up

Land Rover isn’t alone in the pre­mium SUV ranks for charg­ing big money for op­tions. It takes very lit­tle to whack $20,000 on to the Disco Sport’s start­ing price of about $67,700 drive-away. Paint other than stan­dard white will add $1340; dou­ble that for “pre­mium metal­lic” and a con­trast­ing roof is $950. An en­ter­tain­ment pack bun­dles 17-speaker Merid­ian au­dio, TV, up­graded sat­nav and dig­i­tal ra­dio for $4350; an­other $8190 will buy the “com­plete dy­namic” pack with re­vised grille and bumpers, 19-inch wheels, cen­tre con­sole with a slid­ing arm­rest, fog lights and xenon head­lamps.

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