Dis­cov­ery a good Sport

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

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.


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