Voy­age of Dis­cov­ery

The Dis­cov­ery Sport adds an­other string to Land Rover’s bow, re­ports

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kentmotors -

When Land Rover in­tro­duced the Dis­cov­ery Sport they billed it as the most ver­sa­tile and ca­pa­ble pre­mium compact SUV in the world.

It was a bold state­ment but you can’t blame a com­pany that has been pro­duc­ing some of the finest off-road­ers for halfa-cen­tury for hav­ing faith in their lat­est prod­uct.

While it might wear the Dis­cov­ery name it shares much of its DNA with the big-sell­ing Evoque.

The rounded nose and black trim around the wheel arches is rem­i­nis­cent of its lit­tle brother and it also has the same front sus­pen­sion and trans­verse en­gine lay­out, as well as a near iden­ti­cal chas­sis, at least as far as the B pil­lar.

From that point, though, it’s all new. The Sport is 91mm longer with a wheel­base that’s grown by 80mm. A so­phis­ti­cated multi-link rear sus­pen­sion helps pre­serve that freshly lib­er­ated in­te­rior space.

Land Rover have used that space well, adding an ex­tra

Paul Acres row of seats (al­beit strictly for chil­dren), and gen­er­at­ing classlead­ing legroom for the sec­ondrow pas­sen­gers.

Land Rover have in­tro­duced the In­ge­nium diesel en­gine range, which of­fers im­proved re­fine­ment, econ­omy and emis­sions to the Dis­cov­ery Sport but, at launch, it was only avail­able with the 188bhp SD4 from the Evoque and Free­lander and that was the mo­tor in my test ve­hi­cle.

The Sport is beau­ti­fully put to­gether. Ev­ery­thing you need to touch, from the door han­dles to the steer­ing wheel stalks, feels sat­is­fy­ingly ro­bust and durable.

The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem has, thank­fully, been up­graded. The hi-res eight inch screen is crisp, bright and re­spon­sive. Some of the but­tons are a bit of a stretch to reach but it’s a vast im­prove­ment over the old sys­tem

The seats are firm, but com­fort­able. They’re heated and cooled too. There’s plenty of head and legroom for oc­cu­pants in the front and the high seat­ing po­si­tion and gen­er­ous glass area guar­an­tees an ex­cel­lent view.

Sound­proof­ing is ex­cel­lent. At cruis­ing speeds there’s just a dis­tant hum au­di­ble from be­neath the bon­net and wind and road noise is con­spic­u­ous by its ab­sence.

The nine-speed au­to­matic is an £1,800 op­tion but it’s worth the ex­tra out­lay. It’s smooth, re­spon­sive and doesn’t miss a beat.

Al­though the ride feels on the firm side at low speeds, as you pick up the pace it quickly be­comes more com­posed, in­su­lat­ing the cabin from most sur­face im­per­fec­tions.

The elec­tri­cally as­sisted steer­ing is a touch vague but it is pre­cise and di­rect and the car feels nim­ble and sure-footed. Land Rover have done an ad­mirable job of keep­ing body roll to a min­i­mum too.

The Dis­cov­ery Sport is a wel­come and wor­thy ad­di­tion to the Land Rover sta­ble. Its one weak­ness, the en­gine, will be re­solved with the in­tro­duc­tion of the new range of diesel units. That should be enough to turn what is al­ready a very good car, into a bril­liant one.

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