Cotswold Motoring: Land Rover Discovery Sport
Luxury off-roader or countryside workhorse? Toby Aiken weighs up the Land Rover’s latest incarnation
The Land Rover Discovery has long been the archetypal country workhorse. Strong, dependable, rugged and solid as a rock. Conversely the Range Rover Sport has always been the template for a luxury off-roader. So what is to be made of the Discovery Sport; is it a luxury off-roader, or a country ready ‘Chelsea tractor’?
To tell the truth before testing it I had no idea. I liked many aspects of it to look at but had no real concept of how it would perform in an urban or rural environment. Annoyingly the week before the test I was visiting my parents on Exmoor so could have given it a real off-road test, but never mind. Gloucestershire has its fair share of challenging terrain so off we go.
Let’s start with the interior. It’s well appointed and has a really good quality feel. Tick for the Chelsea Tractor category. But it also feels sufficiently robust and utilitarian for the country use so another tick there.
Engine and gearbox are more than capable with plenty of torque across most of the rev counter and it goes well in traffic too, so once again it’s satisfying both camps. But a good drivetrain is only workable off-road if the chassis and suspension are equally up to the task.
‘The Discovery Sport really does enjoy the best of both worlds, quietly accomplishing your daily needs and then mixing it with the gentry in the evening’
Luckily, despite it’s comfort and capability in the urban jungle, it can handle pretty much everything you throw at it in the rural landscape too. Granted I didn’t give it a full ‘Greenlane’ experience, but on rough, wet and slippery terrain it didn’t make me work that hard to make ground so I can’t mark it down for that.
It doesn’t quite have the ground clearance of the Discovery, but then the old faithful disco couldn’t turn up to a black tie dinner at a country house without turning a few noses skywards, the newer model perhaps, but the Sport would still look somewhat classier. And to be fair, if you are looking for a full scale workhorse you probably wouldn’t consider the Sport anyway... this is in many ways a perfect car for Land Rover’s intentions. It can hold its own off-road, but can take you in comfort and a certain degree of style to the country dinner after your hard day enjoying country pursuits.
Yes, the Range Rover Sport can do the same, but the Sport is very, very big. And to many may appear a little too showy. Plus it’ll add a minimum of £22,000 or so to the price tag. The Discovery Sport really does enjoy the best of both worlds, quietly accomplishing your daily needs and then mixing it with the gentry in the evening.
It’s understated, yet stylish; comfortable and capable, so regardless of what you need it for, if you have interests in the country and the town, then this could be the best all rounder available. The alternative would be the Range Rover Sport, but at anything up to (depending on spec) twice the price, that’s just crazy. Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Luxury From £43,000, model on test £47,475
Land Rover Discovery Sport