Land Rover Discovery Sport 2019 Review
Given the subtle changes to the latest Land
Rover Discovery Sport, you might be surprised to know it is in fact an all-new
model. It starts underneath with a new platform to accommodate mild hybrid
power train (and plug-in electric, due soon). And despite the gentle exterior
changes, it has received major revisions throughout.
The design updates have been sympathetic for
good reason: the first Disco Sport was a neat styling exercise. The eagle-eyed
among you will spot that the doors, roof, tailgate and bonnet are the same but
it has a cleaner-looking face with all the lower lighting moved into the main
lenses; the rear has a revised lower bumper detail and new lights freshen it
Inside is where there has been a real step up
with a brand new facia and seating. Gone is the rotary gear selection dial in
favour of a sensible and intuitive lever. There are hints of the earlier model
with the two vertical finishers either side of the central console but it has a
more premium feel with plainer surfaces and fewer buttons.
Most impressive is the new, lower screen. It has easy-to-use rotary dials with a buttons to change their function from temperature to terrain settings. This is a big win over the more complicated lower screen in the Range Rover models; it’s extremely neat and doesn’t cause unnecessary cabin illumination at night.
Interior space is good, with 5+2 seating. It’s a slight squeeze for access and egress to the rear-most seats but flexing the cabin space between seating and luggage is easy and there’s up to 1,754 litres load capacity.
Engines and trims
Under the bonnet you’ll find the familiar Jaguar
Land Rover four-cylinder Ingenium engines. There is an entry
front-wheel-drive-only D150 model with manual gearbox (and no terrain response
feature) which emits just 144 g/km of CO2. All others are automatic and
all-wheel-drive with D150, D180 and D240 diesels to choose from and P200 and
P250 comprising the petrols. A three-cylinder plug-in hybrid is due very soon.
Trim levels are the Discovery Sport, S, SE and
HSE with additional R-Dynamic variants. S brings in some desirable features
over the base spec. such as larger 18-inch wheels, powered front seats, auto
dimming mirror, navigation, smartphone pack, traffic sign recognition with
dynamic speed limiter and power folding door mirrors making it the sensible
Driving on the road
The new Discovery Sport has much improved
manners on the road: it rides better, it handles more tautly and is simply
better composed. After many hours behind the wheel, the it showed its true
ability: being a comfortable tourer.
We drove the D180 and P200. Both offer perfectly
adequate (if not startling) performance. The diesel offered the best economy
and torque; the petrol was marginally smoother and slightly quicker at 8.5 vs.
9.1 seconds from rest to 62mph.
Driving off road
No Land Rover product launch would be without some off-road capability sections and even if you don’t plan to head into the muddy stuff, we can assure you the new Discovery Sport’s abilities are admirable. Remember this model doesn’t have the clever air suspension found on some of the larger models; it’s springs all round. Yet it coped well with all manner of muddy challenges and the clever electronics were unobtrusive yet very able.
The notable off-road improvement is with the hill descent control which now kicks in much earlier so there’s no nervous moment ahead of the car taking control; it’s all more responsive and there is much less drama than in the previous model.
As you’d expect, there’s good ground clearance (212mm), the 25 degree approach and 30.2 degree departure angles (check) mean the chances of scuffing your Disco are slim and with the ever increasing risk of floods, its 600mm wading depth is useful.
And of course, there’s between 1.8 and 2.5 tonnes towing capacity (depending on model) which should cover most people’s needs.
The Discovery Sport is a stand-out model, with
its practicality, good road manners and reassuring off-road ability. Improved
interior space and the more upmarket dashboard complete this good all-round
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter
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