Land Rover Discovery Sport – class-leading, apart from the orange paint jobpary


The Germans won’t agree but the Disco Sport is just about the best car in it’s class. Tons better than the Freelander it replaced – now fitted with a 2.0 Land Rover ‘Ingenium’ engine instead of an ageing 2.2 diesel.

You just have to consider the costs of all the ‘must have’ options before running away with the idea of Land Rover ownership. It’s a mini Range Rover, less glam than the Evoque but still with a cabin that reeks of premium.

Complaints? Just that 2.0 engine which, although considerably better than the outgoing unit, just lacks a bit of punch, even in 180bhp guise.

Whether you can live with the orange paint job of our test car is another matter! Settle for a nice gun metal grey and the Sport looks superb…

My Land Rover has turned moss green – better than Discovery Sport orange


So yesterday a very rare thing happened. I washed my 1972 Land Rover. It was more a case of scrubbing the moss from the wings – trees and bushes have helped give it a green tinge.

Somehow, I can’t imagine the orange Discovery Sport parked next to it is ever going to survive for 50 years. Well, perhaps not in that colour scheme anyway!

The only orange Land Rovers I remember are the G4 Challenge versions that, for some reason, seem to be worth a lot more than a standard car.

My Series III is Marine Blue. It’s actually kind of tempting to give it an orange paint job. Would that be cool? Perhaps not…

Death of the diesel? Expect a 2.0-litre Range Rover sometime soon


There’s more than whiff of full-fat Range Rover about the Discovery Sport. So many of the dash controls come from the same parts box – the heated steering wheel, infotainment centre and electric seat controls, to name but a few.

Our top spec Sport is pure luxury, except the 2.0 diesel obviously needs to be worked so much harder than the Rangey’s V8. After driving the Range Rover around Scotland for 600 miles last month, the effortless grunt is what you really miss about this Discovery.

Today, UK Transport Minister, Chris Grayling, said drivers should take a long hard think about buying a diesel car – which suggests measures are on the way to penalise derv owners.

Perhaps it won’t be long before we see a 2.0-litre Range Rover too, as V8 diesels before a distant memory….

The biggest challenge to the new Land Rover Discovery is the Discovery Sport


The biggest challenger to the Discovery Sport is just about to arrive at a dealer near – the new Land Rover Discovery.

BMW. Mercedes and Audi all make fine SUVs but Land Rover is currently way ahead of the pack. The Discovery Sport has the quality feel of a Range Rover, without the heavyweight price tag.

The main reason why it overlaps with the new Discovery is that both offer seven seats. And given that the new Disco looks very similar to the Sport, you wonder which one will ultimately come out on top.

I’m a huge fan out the outgoing Discovery and I suspect the new model will be more agile, faster and less cumbersome. It may just come down to price but I suspect the Sport will end up the winner…

Land Rover Discovery Sport – the benchmark SUV?


Land Rover carries out road tests for new vehicles down the Fosse Way, close to where I live. I must admit, the first time I saw the Discovery Sport in the metal it had me cussing.

Why the bland, faceless styling – and how could they possibly charge so much when the larger Discovery seemed better value?

I’ve only driven the Sport ten miles to the station and back but already I can see the appeal. This is a very good car, with an exceptional engine and a cabin of peerless quality.

So while the Hyundai Santa Se, and such like are tons better value, I think a moment inside the Sport will persuade you this is a car that’s is actually worth more of your hard-earned cash.

Join us for daily reports through the week…

The laws of physics aren’t in the Nissan Juke’s favour…


Tough not comparing the Nissan Nismo RS to a hot hatchback. It sits in such a niche market that only the likes of the Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTi offer any like-for-like ability.

Car Couture doesn’t test Fords. Well, to be truthful they won’t loan us any of their motor cars when just about everybody else does. Being cynical, I’m sure that means the blue oval has something to hide. Hey ho.

Anyway, I’m told the Fiesta ST is a class-leader and having tested the Peugeot, I can imagine that both cars are considerably more dynamic than the Nissan – if only because the laws of physics  suggest taller SUVs don’t handle as well.

So why buy the Nissan – I can only suggest because it means you can see over the car in front nad, of course, you might feel ‘safer’ in a bigger car.

Which brings me back to yesterday’s post. Perhaps it’s time to stop testing SUVs…

The SUV argument has no basis – why are you buying them then?


There’s no point trying to stop the flow of people opening their wallet to buy an SUV. And I Don’t just mean the Nissan Juke – all the masses of models that now flood our market.

Why buy a jacked up car that does everything a conventional hatchback does – as well as pay more for it, suffer worse handling and higher fuel bills?

It is, like Trump, a mystery of the modern age. When I ask people why they own an SUV, the usual answer is that they like sitting higher up on the road because it makes them feel safer.

This is, quite frankly, a load of nonsense. SUV are generally less safe because they have a higher centre of gravity and don’t handle as well as a conventional car.

There is no logical reason for buying a two-wheel drive SUV, unless you need extra ground clearance for some reason. Even then, smart driving should get you out of jail on that one.

So, while one could argue that the Nissan Juke is more of a sports car than an SUV, it is perhaps the only sports utility vehicle that is worthy of mention.

Let’s torque about steering in the Nissan Juke Nismo RS


There’s more than a hint of old school madness about the Nismo RS. Like a lot of stuff from the 1980s, I’d rather forgotten what it was like to feel a steering wheel pulled from my fingers by lashings of torque steer.

Back then, we just accepted it. Nowadays, electronic wizardry has mostly ironed it out and made us all softies. So today it took a while for my brain to compute that what I was feeling through my hands was good, old fashioned torque steer.

It rather took me by surprise and demanded that I actually ‘drive’ the Juke rather than just steer it. The Nissan may be too tall and crossovery to stuff a Fiesta ST but my, it can give you some relatively cheap thrills at £22k.

Sad then, that no matter which way I look at the RS it’s still plain ugly. I keep sneaking a peek on the driveway in the hope that might change but it hasn’t. Sigh…

Naughty Nissan Nismo? The hot SUV-hatch has its charms


Having just parted with the keys for an uber sensible XC90 T8, the naughty Nissan Nismo drives like a real hooligan.

Not in a Golf R type way but a hot SUV-hatchback is a whole new concept to me. It’s so small, high up and yet so nippy.

I still can’t get my eyes around the styling but at least the interior is a better place. The trim is covered in lashings of Alcantara, the seats are firm and supportive and the touchscreen sat nav works very well indeed.

It’s all designed to give a more driver-focussed appeal. A shame then that backseat space is so tight and the boot is even smaller…

Nissan Juke Nismo RS – the little SUV with squeezed nuts


There’s a first time for everything – so what about the Juke? It pains me to spell such an aristocratic word with a ‘J’ rather than a ‘D’ but that’s progress, I suppose.

Juke was the first little car to be jacked up and turned into a pseudo SUV. It’s tons more ‘funky’ than a Ford Fiesta and like the Citroen C4 Cactus and Renault Captur, has helped create a blossoming new sector of the market.

Just to be clear from the start, the Juke isn’t the car for me. Why? Well, it looks like somebody has grabbed it by the testiculos and squeezed gently until the headlights have popped. Bonkers.

That said, I seem to pass dozens of Jukes on the motorway, so somebody is buying them. And this model is the sporty Nismo RS, with a butch bodykit and a bit more zing.

It’s practical, roomy (up front but not in the rear), offers good fuel economy and comes loaded with technology.

Will I warm to the little Nissan with squeezed nuts? More tomorrow…