While the success of the Freelander 2 was overshadowed by the stylish Range Rover Evoque, there is no denying that the car offered a comfortable drive experience and was accompanied by great off-road capability. However, before Land Rover introduced the mildly refreshed Freelander 2, they had already started work on its replacement -the Land Rover Discovery Sport. And now that it is finally here, can it up the ante and set a new benchmark for the brand? Find best offers on Discovery Sport
EXTERIOR AND DESIGN ;
The Discovery Sport has a lot of similarity in styling to an Evoque. Many onlookers even asked if this is the new Evoque and we realised that in colours like white and silver, one could mistake the Discovery Sport as a Range Rover Evoque. Once, the new model year Evoque makes its way into India, we shall note that there is a major difference between the two. To speak of the styling, it has a sleek front grille with pulled back headlamps and DISCOVERY embossed above the grille stating that this is a part of the Discovery family. Land Rover has discontinued the Freelander2 and this is its replacement. There will three families under the Land Rover brand, Range Rover, Discovery and Defender.
The Discovery Sport is the newest member of the Discovery family and it is based on a new platform, which will be used for more Discovery products in the near future. The side profile of the Discovery Sport has a sloping roof, a design that is similar to that of new-generation Land Rovers. The Land Rover design DNA has been retained the clamshell bonnet and the floating roof. The Discovery Sport is certainly a looker.
INTERIOR AND SPACE ;
On the inside, the Discovery Sport is straight and simple. Purposeful, yet classy. It cannot be termed very premium but the build quality is solid and built to last. The finish in some areas does feel ordinary. The instrument cluster has twin dials and is lit in white, having a simplistic design. A new centre console comes in place and houses the gear dial which rises for use only when the ignition switch is activated. A new touchscreen infotainment system is seen in this SUV which is easy to operate even while driving, however, it takes time getting used to the interface .The driving position is not very tall but near perfect, and offers good visibility. The seats are firm, well contoured and comfortable. The seats also have electric adjustments. The vehicle over all is pretty spacious and has air vents for all rows. The huge panoramic glass roof further makes it feel spacious. The unique thing here is that every passenger gets a USB charging point which makes it a total of seven USB ports.
The Discovery Sport is slightly longer than the Freelander 2 and hence it also comes as a seven-seater option. Hence it makes this compact SUV a good option for a larger family. But its only the kids who can occupy the third row comfortably . The seven-seat version gets a space saving spare tyre instead of the full-size spare which is found on the standard five-seat version.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;
There is only two engine options on the Discovery Sport – both use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel unit, producing two outputs – 148bhp and 177bhp.
However, our test car used Ford-derived 2.2-litre diesel and the Sport’s most noticeable connection to the past is unmistakably that engine, which currently shadows everything the car does with the clatter and gunsmoke odour of yesteryear. Denying the car the new four-cylinder Ingenium oil-burner from launch was clearly the model’s on-paper Achilles heel and, to a greater or lesser extent, that’s the way it plays out on the road.
However, although the direct-injected 2.2-litre motor is not a paragon of refinement or efficiency, its later-life development has at least ensured that it produces the unmistakable surge expected of a modern blower-equipped diesel.
On stream, its 310lb ft of torque is a plentiful amount, and it feels that way. For a car that tipped the scales on the wrong side of two tonnes when we weighed it, a sub-9.0sec 0-60mph time is very decent. So is the 9.0sec it takes to get from 30mph to 70mph, very slightly bettering the time we recorded for the much-admired 2.2-litre engine in the Mazda CX-5 a couple of years ago.
In fact, the soft underbelly of the package is at times evident less in the 20th century motor and more in the 21st century gearbox to which it has been shackled.
Rather inevitably, the nine-speed automatic transmission’s keenness to keep the engine spinning at its productive mid-range pitch means that you’re going to have to live with a lot of downshifting – particularly on the motorway, where the never-ending 47.5mph per 1000rpm final ratio cannot be trusted with even modest acceleration.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The Discovery Sport deals with speed bumps well and rides smoothly at higher speeds, especially on the motorway. Clever adaptive dampers (called Adaptive Dynamics) are available as an option, but there’s really no need to bother spending the extra.
Things can get a touch bumpy around town in the Discovery Sport, though. Expansion joints and worn surfaces unsettle the suspension a little, a problem that is exacerbated by fitting alloys larger than the 18in rims that come as standard with SE and SE Tech trims. 20in wheels are certainly best avoided.
There is a fair amount of body lean when cornering in the Land Rover Discovery Sport. As a result, it feels a bit sloppy along twisting, country roads compared with an Audi Q5 or a Jaguar F-Pace. Fortunately, though, the Sport holds the road well and has reassuringly precise steering, so you always feel confident and in control.
All models come with Terrain Response, a system that allows the driver to select from a variety of four-wheel drive modes tailored to different surfaces, such as grass, mud and sand. It means the Sport is better off-road than just about anything else in this price bracket.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
The Land Rover Discovery Sport comes loaded with features like seven airbags (driver and front passenger, driver knee, side airbags for first two rows). It also gets features like ABS with EBD, Electronic Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability Control, TPMS, Emergency Brake Assist and Trailer Stability Assist. In terms of after sales service, Land Rover still has a long way to go before it can match the service quality levels as well as the network spread of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.
Land Rover has enhanced its product against the German rivals and there is no denying that the Discovery Sport is far more superior product. The company has invested more on the underpinnings and this what makes the Discovery Sport a better buy for those who need capable off-roaders. If you only want luxury, then pick the Range Rover Evoque.This is more luxurious and is at par worth competition, but not an capable off-roader as the Discovery Sport. Our personal pick is the Discovery Sport, as we like to love to go off the road very often.