Cotswold Mo­tor­ing: Land Rover Dis­cov­ery Sport

Lux­ury off-roader or coun­try­side work­horse? Toby Aiken weighs up the Land Rover’s lat­est in­car­na­tion

Cotswold Life - - CONTENTS -

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

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