Top Land Rover Discovery Sport Picks:
- Most sensible: Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0 TD4 180PS SE Tech auto
- Most fun: Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0 TD4 180PS HSE Dynamic Lux
- Don’t bother: Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0 TD4 150PS SE
- Must-have tech: Rear-view camera on SE and SE Tech, Dual-view screen allowing passengers to see the TV and the driver, the sat nav
Land Rover has stolen a march on premium SUV rivals by offering the Discovery Sport with seven seats. Top Gear reckons they’re a ‘major selling point’, although Carbuyer points out the entry-level version has only five ‘to save weight’.
According to What Car? the Sport’s job is to bring a flavour of the larger Discovery to a wider audience. There’s only one diesel engine but in two power outputs. What Car? prefers the ‘stronger 178bhp version’, badged 180PS. Even then, straight-line performance is ‘pretty poor’ compared with an Audi Q5 or BMW X3 and, according to the Telegraph, it’s ‘not the quietest diesel.’ Top Gear disagrees. Paired with the optional nine-speed automatic gearbox it reckons you’ll have ‘an experience that isn’t that far detached from a Range Rover.’
Four-wheel drive and the clever Terrain Response system that offers different driving modes according to the conditions is standard meaning, says Top Gear, that the Discovery Sport ‘will do all the off-road stuff you expect – and much more.’
What Car? gives the driving position five stars but recommends adding lumbar support on the lower trims. The Telegraph praises the dashboard’s ‘robust materials and user-friendly simplicity’, although it reckons the touchscreen can be slow to react.
There are four core trims but Carbuyer’s favourite is SE Tech for its powered tailgate and sat nav, although it says this last feature looks ‘dated’ compared to rivals’ systems. It notes the model is only the same size as a VW Golf but makes ‘excellent use’ of the space. If the third-row of seats seems cramped, you can slide the middle row forward. The doors open 90 degrees for easier access, while both seat rows fold to create 1,698 litres of load space.
As an all-rounder with a strong image, the Discovery Sport is hard to beat, especially in 2.0 TD4 180PS SE Tech auto trim. Proof of its desirability exists in discounts of just 6% but the flipside should be a decent resale price when you’ve finished with it.
Land Rover Discovery Sport Rivals:
Little comes close in terms of quality and refinement, smooth engines and secure handling but the steering is uncommunicative, options are expensive and unlike the Discovery Sport, it has only five seats.
Not the most impressive of the premium SUVs. On the one hand the quality is top-notch, and it’s refined and well equipped but the ride quality is disappointing, the diesel engines are noisy and the styling is unadventurous (although you could say that of the Audi Q5, too).
Being a BMW it’s no surprise the X3’s handling is good, the ride is comfortable and the engines (they’re all diesels) are powerful and efficient. However, it drops points for its lack of standard safety kit (the Discovery Sport is strong in this respect) and its high price.
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Hyundai Sante Fe
The Santa Fe is one of a select band of mainstream, seven-seat alternatives to the premium-badged Discovery Sport. That said, it’s just as expensive, refinement is below par, and the manual and automatic gearboxes aren’t the best. On the flipside, it’s well equipped, comfortable and practical, and has a longer five-year warranty compared with the Discovery’s three years.
Best review: Carbuyer- Score: 4/5
Previous Land Rover Discovery version:
Land Rover Freelander 2 (2006-15)
This last version of the venerable Freelander was the largest and most resolved. It has a tough interior and is brilliant off-road. That said, the two-wheel-drive versions are more reliable because there’s less transmission hardware to go wrong – and it does. Be wary of the automatic versions.