First of all, note that the Land Rover Discovery Sport isn’t a name attached to another model, rather it’s a vehicle in its own right.
Discovery Sport is not a toy SUV masquerading as a 4WD, it is the real deal – an all-terrain vehicle from the old school. One that can be taken into tough off-road conditions where, believe it or not, even the rather crude Land Rover Series 1 would have struggled when it was launched 72 years ago.
Yet the Discovery Sport will meet all the requirements of on-road comfort and handling today’s buyer demand.
The handling, brakes and on-road feel are very good and the off-road ability is staggering.
The Discovery Sport is based on the Land Rover Evoque and shares some of its visible parts and many out of sight components with it.
There’s not a sign of sleekness or excitement in the shape of the Discovery Sport, the best way of describing its lines is ‘timeless’.
The Sport is taller than the Evoque, particularly at the rear and has a squarer tail.
A turbo-diesel 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit with either 110 or 140 kilowatts of power. It was replaced by a new design 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel.
There’s also a 177 kW four-cylinder turbo-petrol unit displacing 2.0 litres. It has 340 Nm of torque, which is very impressive for a small displacement four.
Six-speed manual and nine-speed automatic transmissions are offered and the autos are the biggest seller. It’s interesting to see that some buyers like the DIY feel of a manual. Keep in mind that today’s automatic transmission are excellent units they, so they’re no longer just for the person who spends a lot of time in commuting traffic.
It almost goes without saying that all models have 4WD. However, the front wheels can automatically disconnect in the interests of decreased fuel use when the computers sense RWD is all that’s required.
An 8.0-inch colour touchscreen works with a smartphone app that can be used to access additional apps that’s connected through Bluetooth.
Discovery Sport has many passive safety items such as ABS brakes with brake assist, and electronic traction controls. It also features rollover stability, emergency braking, hill descent control, trailer sway control and lane departure warnings. It not only is safe, but also feels safe.
Land Rover Discovery Sport comes with five or seven seats. The rearmost seats are best suited to children, but adults may find them more comfortable than they had expected.
Naturally, there’s not a lot of boot space when all seven seats are in use, but there’s huge volume when only five are being carried.
Discovery Sport is very versatile, as the second row seat can slide back and forward by up to 160 mm to give you plenty of passenger / luggage options.
The combination of good angles, plenty of suspension articulation and electronics aids make remote areas of the great Aussie bush a pleasure.
The second generation Land Rover Discovery Sport was launched in 2020 and, obviously is not covered in this review.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Some owners complain they have had lots of problems with a Discovery Sport, other say they their’s has been no trouble and they would happily buy another.
So a professional inspection from a Land Rover specialist should be considered essential.
Check for body damage, particularly on the lower corners due to contact with the ground. And at the sides for scratches, or worse, scarring.
Look underneath damage at the suspension and the protective parts beneath them.
A luggage area with lots of scars could indicate heavy-duty use on long trips.
Similarly, scarred seats and carpets could mean uncaring people have travelled there.
During your test drive listen for squeaks and rattles from anywhere in the vehicle.
If possible, arrange to test drive off-road and again listen for noises.
Make sure the steering doesn’t have too much free play, that the brake pedal isn’t too low when you press it hard.
Expect to pay from $24,000 to $33,000 for a 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 SE; $30,000 to $41,000 for a 2016 SI4 SE; $34,000 to $46,000 for a 2018 TD4 HSE; $41,000 to $53,000 for a 2017 Si4 HSE; $46,000 to $59,000 for a 2017 TD4 HSE; and $56,000 to $74,000 for a 2019 TD4 HSE Luxury.
CAR BUYING TIP
Many alleged off-road vehicles never leave hard surfaces, Land Rovers can be a major exception to this.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/