Discovery a good Sport
THE Discovery Sport is a neat conjuring trick that casts a winning spell. Essentially an upmarket replacement for the Freelander compact SUV, it removes the more agricultural elements normally associated with Land Rover and replaces them with a healthy dose of style from the Range Rover Evoque including sleeker lines, the same platform and a lot of the interior styling and controls.
Don’t be fooled by the smooth new looks though. This is a Land Rover and as such is designed to revel in the mud. Yes, it allows you to enjoy a life of luxury on the road but at heart it is a rough and tumble merchant eager to take on mountain tracks and rolling countryside.
For those who like the previously more uncompromising look and style it is a shock to the system, but sales seem to suggest the new way forward is a winner.
To enable the inclusion of seven seats as standard a new rear suspension design is incorporated.
The interior is luxurious without over-doing it with plenty of room for five adults and two kids in the third row of seats.
The middle row can be slid forwards giving those in the rear more leg room while the rear seats can be folded flat into the floor expanding the boot space – accessed via a powered tailgate – from 480 to 689 litres.
There is no feeling of claustrophobia as the cabin is light and airy – thanks to the panoramic roof and an excellent climate control system maintaining a pleasant atmosphere.
The fit and finish are top notch with good quality materials used and everything efficiently screwed together. If there was one quibble it was with the touchscreen which is smaller than some competitors.
That said there is a ton of neat stuff including sat nav, automatic settings for the lights, high beam and wipers as well as a raft of safety aids and helpful parking sensors and camera.
All mod cons are included such as heated seats, cruise control, DAB radio and an audio system with 11 speakers as well as a heated leather multi-function steering wheel.
The HSE Luxury model adds neat touches with 20-inch ‘Style 511’ alloy wheels, interior ambient lighting that allows you to vary the colour and shade to suit your mood, a park assist system that steers your vehicle into a suitable space and illuminated aluminium front treadplates with the Discovery legend embossed all included.
The Discovery Sport also gets JLR’s new 2.0-litre TD4 Ingenium engine – made at the company’s new multi-million pound powertrain plant in Wolverhampton – which is more refined than Roger Moore and delivers on all fronts with the help of the nine-speed automatic gearbox.
You can reach 60mph from a standing start in a shade over eight seconds, but in truth this is a premium SUV cruiser that is soothing to drive at the end of a stressful day at the office.
The engine offers 150ps or 180ps power outputs with the model I drove delivering 139g/km and 53.3mpg on the combined cycle which, for quite a large motor, is pretty good. It all adds up to a package that makes the Discovery Sport a quantum leap from the Freelander it replaces.