Land Rover Discovery Sport Review — A Versatile Way Of Discovering New Terrains

By Rahul Nagaraj
Rating:

Land Rover had a successful run with their Freelander 2 in India. However, the boxy design was getting a bit outdated for the Indian market and Jaguar Land Rover had big shoes to fill while retiring the ageing Freelander 2. In 2015, the company finally introduced its replacement, the Discovery Sport.

The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport offered a fresh new look, yet sticking to Land Rover's design lineage. The SUV came packed with a host of new features and equipment.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

Later in 2017, Land Rover introduced a refreshed version of the Discovery Sport. The new SUV carried forward a similar design, with only subtle changes overall. However, one major update was the brand new 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine.

We got to drive the Land Rover Discovery Sport recently to see if the new engine can up the ante, while also setting a new benchmark for the British manufacturer.

Design & Styling

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

On the styling front, the new Discovery Sport carries forward the exact same design as its previous generation. The Discovery Sport is a proper SUV with a rather intimidating stance. It loses the boxy design of the Freelander 2 while offering a more sporty look, inspired by its sibling, the Evoque.

The front of the Discovery Sport offers a bold look which screams Land Rover. The smooth flowing bonnet, with the sleek honeycomb grille and the large badging over it, offers a clean look. The front fascia is further accentuated by the stunning LED DRLs that surround the projector headlamps.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The design smoothly flows to the sides and the rear as well. The side profile of the luxury SUV offers a simple design (not that we are complaining), with a contrasting black roof.

The rear perfectly coexists with the front, with a smoked tail lamp cluster having circular LED units. The rear carries the all-important ‘Discovery Sport' badge on top of the registration plate.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The rear design is not as evolved as the front, however, it does grow on you over time. Overall, the Land Rover Discovery Sport offers an intimidating stance, with a huge amount of road presence.

Interiors

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The Interior design of the Discovery Sport has also been carried over from the previous model, with little or no changes. Land Rover offers the SUV in two formats: five-seater and 5+2 seater option.

The front dashboard offers a very basic and functional design. It also lacks the premium feel and overall finesse as seen on some of its German rivals. The large windows make the all-black cabin feel a little less claustrophobic.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The dashboard comes with brushed aluminium accents around the air-con vents and the centre console; offering some nice highlights to the otherwise blacked-out interiors.

All the buttons, knobs and switches are neatly laid out within easy reach to the driver. However, there are certain controls which are oddly positioned. Few such examples are the power window switches, as well as the controls for the electrically-adjustable ORVMs. Quality of the switches could have been better, although there is not much to complain about.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The leather seats are generous in size while also offering a good amount of comfort. However, they were a bit firm for our liking. The driving position on the Discovery Sport is sufficiently high, offering good visibility of the road ahead.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

Our Land Rover Discovery Sport came with the 5+2 seating option. The rear seats too were decently comfortable, with a good amount of both knee and headroom. However, things get bad in the third row due to the extremely limited space; best suited for kids.

Key Features & Equipment

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

For a car in its price range, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is expected to come loaded with features and in that aspect, it doesn't disappoint. The SUV we got to test, came with eight-way electrically adjustable front seats, three-memory seat functions, front and rear parking aids, rear parking camera and a host of assist functions.

The Discovery Sport also offered multiple USB charging ports, along with 12-volt charging points. The luxury SUV has got an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This system is similar to the one seen in the Evoque and offers all the vital data and information while also including in-built navigation.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The entertainment system further extends to the displays at the back of the front seat headrests, for the rear passengers. The Discovery Sport we tested also has a large glass roof.

Some of the other equipment on the SUV include Terrain Management System (TMS), Hill Descent Control, Electronic Traction Control and Roll Stability Control.

Engine Specifications & Performance

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE trim we tested comes powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel engine. It produces 148.31bhp and 382Nm of torque and is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Although 148.31bhp doesn't sound a lot for the size of the SUV, it still manages to be surprisingly good and well-refined. The engine is tuned perfectly, with a linear power delivery. There is minimal turbo-lag from the engine and the SUV swiftly gains good pace in a short span of time.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The engine is perfect for cruising, with little or no noise coming inside the cabin. The automatic mode offers smooth gearshifts during relaxed driving but there is a slight bit of jerkiness at low speeds.

However, once we changed it into sports mode, the car felt noticeably more responsive even to the slightest throttle input. The paddle shifters do a wonderful job while changing gears, although not as crisp as the dual-clutch transmissions seen on its German rivals.

Drive & Handling

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The Land Rover Discovery Sport offers excellent ride and handling characteristics. The firm suspension setup of the SUV provides a planted ride for the passengers.

The Discovery Sport still has a slight amount of body roll while taking corners but doesn't take away the overall confidence while driving. The steering feels nicely weighted at high speeds and offers ample feedback to the driver.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The SUV is quite a capable off-roader just like any other Land Rover product. The Terrain Management System offers four modes: General Driving, Snow/Grass, Mud & Ruts and Sand; each helping the Discovery Sport on any tricky terrain condition. The high ground clearance 200mm and the large 19-inch wheels offer additional help.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

Though the firm suspension provides impressive handling characteristics, it does feel a bit harsh on rough roads. The car easily absorbs all the regular road undulations although the larger ones could be a bit of a concern.

In the city and on the highway though, the car is absolutely comfortable to drive. The good visibility through the large windows, along with the parking assist functions, make the car easy to park in tight spaces.

Mileage

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

Being a two-tonne SUV, the Land Rover Discovery Sport did manage to return a decent average mileage figure of around 12km/l. For the same reason, the 70-litre fuel tank on the luxury SUV offers adequate range too.

Safety Features

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The Land Rover Discovery Sport comes with a host of safety features. Some of the standard safety equipment on the SUV include airbags for the driver and front passenger, side curtains and row two passengers, audible seatbelt warning, ISOFIX child seat mounts, auto-locking and collision unlocking system, automatic hazard lights under heavy braking and 24x7 roadside assistance.

Price & Colour Options

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is available in four variants: Pure, SE, HSE and Luxury HSE. Prices for the Discovery Sportstart from Rs 44.68 lakh for the base ‘Pure' variant while the SE and the Luxury HSE are priced at Rs 51.24 lakh and Rs 60.44 lakh, respectively. All prices are ex-showroom (India).

The variant we tested out was the higher mid-spec variant, HSE. This is placed between the SE and the Luxury HSE variant and is priced at Rs 54.76 lakh, ex-showroom (India).

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The Discovery Sport is offered in a range of three colour options: Fuji White, Indus Silver and Scotia Grey. All three colours further offer an optional contrast black roof.

Competition

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The Land Rover Discovery Sport In India takes on stiff competition on the Indian market from the likes of the Germans such as the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3.

Model Displacement (cc) Power/Torque (bhp/Nm) Price (Ex-Showroom)
Land Rover Discovery Sport 1999 148.31/382* Rs 54.76 Lakhs**
BMW X1 1995 190/400 Rs 44.50 Lakhs
Mercedes-Benz GLA 2143 170/350 Rs 38.03 Lakhs
Audi Q3 1968 184/380 Rs 41.54 Lakhs

*The top-end 'Luxury HSE' variant of the Discovery Sport offers better performance figures at 177bhp and 430Nm of peak torque.

**Again, the top-end variant of the Discovery Sport is priced at Rs 60.44 lakh, ex-showroom (India).

Verdict

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a practical luxury SUV with good road presence and adequate interior space. The SUV bears an iconic nameplate and is nothing short of an all-rounder.

The new Ingenium engine offers impressive performance while the SUV's off-road capabilities are the best among its rivals. However, having said that, the only sore thumb sticking out is the overall premium feel which seems to be missing compared to its German rivals.

Rahul Nagaraj Thinks!

Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Performance, Specs, Key Features, Verdict & More

With the iconic ‘Land Rover' badge, the Discovery Sport comes across as an extremely capable and well-packaged machine. Thoughthere are certain bits that are just functional at best, it still offers more presence compared to its popular German rivals.

Photography: Abijith Vilangil

Read more on: #land rover #review
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