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.

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…

Land Rover Discovery Sport – the benchmark SUV?

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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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The Discovery Sport may have all the style of a surgical stocking but it’s still the best SUV out there

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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…