Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Luxury 2.0 TD4

Back in the days when Land Rover didn’t have such an exceptional model range, this would have been called a Freelander.

The first generation of that 4×4 was a dog – the second much better. This one is better still and borrows some kudos from the Discovery moniker.

Baby brother to the new, full-fat Disco, this full seven-seater sits on the Evoque chassis and is equipped with the brilliant 2.0-litre TD4 unit. It’s just about best-in-class, with 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds and up to 60mpg (combined).

Our specced up model is £58,183 with a load of extras fitted – it’s still pricey at £43,400 standard…

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Land Rover Discovery Sport – good but not the best

So here’s the thing. The Discovery Sport slots into the Land Rover range about mid-ways. It’s important to remember that because apart from the pointless Evoque convertible, there isn’t a bad car in the line-up.

The Sport wouldn’t be my first choice, even though it does have an excellent engine and is super versatile. That’s because I think there are better, less expensive SUVs to be had from the likes of Hyundai and Audi.

You are paying a handsome premium for the legendary Land Rover badge but that doesn’t seem to stop people opting for a Disco Sport. The new, full-size Discovery is very similar in looks too – just bigger and even more expensive.

Many drivers will like the lightweight steering of the Sport, which makes it very easy to manoeuvre around town. Maybe I’m a Land Rover diehard but I think it should feel like a more substantial machine, rather than a rather luxurious shopping trolley.

Land Rover Discovery Sport – let’s stay out of the mud, shall we?

I’ve just spent the weekend bouncing around the new Land Rover Experience at Eastnor Castle, in Herefordshire. It’s rather unusual that they use Defender’s for the exercise – a vehicle Land Rover doesn’t make any more.

Perhaps part of the reason is that currently, there isn’t a ‘proper’ Land Rover that could handle the Eastnore course – used for decades to test Defenders to the limit.

I doubt the Discovery Sport would get that far either, even though it is more than capable in the dirt. Who would have to scuff those 20-inch Aeroviper alloys, or risk a mud bath around the leather cabin?

Until the new Defender arrives, the Landie fleet is rather lacking a rufty-tufty model. The Disco Sport is very much an urban mobile – but its for parking on the pavement rather than a full-on off-road experience…

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

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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

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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

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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

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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…