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…
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.
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…
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 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 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.
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SUV couture – there’s not a lot of it around. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Porsche Macan have something but otherwise it’s a pretty barren field for parents wanting to make an impact at the school gates.
You only have to look at the Bentley Bentayga to realise that even with a stack of cash, designers have a major head-cluck when it comes to creating something pretty that stands high off the ground.
The Discovery Sport has all the visual appeal of a surgical stocking but it’s arguably still just about the best mid-range SUV out there. Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mazda CX-5 may care to differ. The Volvo XC90 is probably the best.
Ultimately, it may come down to the badge on the bonnet. The Discovery isn’t just an SUV made by a ‘car’ company. It’s also a Land Rover, with the all the ability, heritage and kudos that goes with it.
That could be enough to sway many people…
If you haven’t seen images of the new Land Rover Defender yet, it’s well worth a Google. The replacement for the farmer’s favourite won’t be around until 2018, which makes the Discovery Sport even more important for Land Rover at present.
With the Freelander gone, there’s currently nothing to plug the gap at entry level – meaning the Sport is your first step on the ladder to Land Rover ownership.
Not that many farmers will be looking at a Sport. It’s far too street SUV for hacking across a field.One thing’s for sure though, the Sport is hugely economical by comparison.
I’m getting around 43mpg in everyday use without even trying. There are more frugal SUVs on the market and with lower emissions but for a land Rover, this is ridiculously thrifty to run…
I can’t say I’m in love with the conservative styling of the Discovery Sport but I do love the way it rides. It’s a little firm but the Land Rover becomes supremely comfortable at higher speeds.
It’s especially good a bounding along a country A-road – tackling the occasional pothole and rut with consummate ease, just as you would expect of a Land Rover.
The Sport is more rugged than the refined Range Rover Evoque but there are obvious parallels to be drawn between the two. The Disco is less of a sporty saloon and more of a heavyweight cruiser.
And if you do have an occasion to put it down an off-road track, the Discovery will be an easy-to-use and rewarding companion. It’s not quite a Range Rover but will perform just as well in the rough stuff…
I’ve been driving cars for over 30 years now. I think I’m quite good at it. There are some that feel right and others which trip me up when I slip behind the wheel and start pressing buttons for the first time.
The Discovery Sport is intuitive in most respects – just like an emission-friendly Golf or a Porsche Boxster. The Land Rover flatters drivers and makes you feel good about yourself.
It’s all very clever except for one thing… The stop-start system has a nasty habit of encouraging the engine to stall at junctions. Once could be a mistake on my part but four times in as many days is an issue.
To boot up the engine, you have to knock it out of gear and do a total re-start. Of course, I’m driving the entry level manual, it couldn’t happen with the auto. There’s no quick fix and I’ve had a couple of embarrassing moments holding up a queue of traffic behind me.
My advice is buy the auto…