Extrovert in dirt
Under the ownership of Indian conglomerate Tata, Land Rover’s fortunes have risen meteorically. The Discovery Sport, is the latest and possibly most desirable model, given its affordability, styling, size, technology and driving experience. Carsguide drove the Si4, the only petrol variant, second on the affordability list and crammed with luxury kit. Accentuating its striking looks is a range of stylish alloys and an extrovert palette including two-tone combinations. The familiarity between the Disco Sport and, for example, the Jaguar XE is strong. The Si4 has the same engine as the XE 25t, the 2.0-litre turbo four (177kW/340Nm). Electronic items in and around the cabin are familiar, as is the operation of the infotainment and general switchgear. You can spot the common parts under the bonnet — and they even have the same distinctive smell in the cabin. The “Depth of Capability” mantra is set in stone at Land Rover. The Disco Sport will go just about anywhere and back thanks to a raft of technology and robust design. Hallmark Terrain Response gives the ideal set-up for any driving style and environment. It has proper 4WD and is built tough to take a hammering. The Si4 has ample power and torque for any task plus towing capacity of 2000kg. Dust it off and the Disco Sport serves as a classy urban runabout with luxury car features and ride. The Si4 has dual-zone climate control, premium satnav, leather, a
A relatively new design, the Disco Sport has an advantage over some rivals, particularly in driver assist features. It gets standard autonomous emergency braking, collision mitigation, radar cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, front and rear park aid and park assist, 360 degree camera with junction warning and wade sensing. The maker claims 8.0L/100km and 8.2 seconds for the 0-100kmh sprint. Widespread use of aluminium cuts weight and torque vectoring directs power to the wheels with grip to help in all driving environments. Diesel models have their own appeal but this petrol variant has excellent throttle response and plenty of verve across the rev range, aided by the silkyshifting nine-speed auto transmission. Sounds like too many cogs but when you can’t feel it operating, it doesn’t matter. The Si4 might not have the torque of the diesels but it has a snappier feel and revs out quicker, imparting a degree of sportiness that’s a pleasant surprise given its 1744kg mass. Plus you don’t get stinky diesel on your hands at the pump.