These days, if you want a family-sized SUV with five or seven seats, four-wheel drive, an economical diesel engine and a tidy driving experience, you’re spoiled for choice. However, only one model brings something of the great outdoors to the table and that’s the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
It was launched in 2015 as a replacement for the popular Freelander 2, as well as a kind of cheaper and more practical alternative to the hugely successful Range Rover Evoque, launched in 2011. Today, 2015-reg examples of the Sport and Evoque start at around £13,000 for cars with 100,000-plus miles. At this money, they have the old-school 187bhp 2.2 SD4 diesel engine but the Sport has seven seats rather than the Evoque’s five and is four-wheel drive, whereas the Evoque is likely to be two.
Unfortunately for the model’s early adopters, shortly after the Sport was launched, the 2.2-litre diesel engine was replaced by the new and improved EU6-compliant 2.0-litre Ingenium motor, available in 148bhp and 178bhp outputs. The 148bhp version was offered with a choice of two (badged eD4 as before) or four-wheel drive and a manual gearbox as standard, whereas the 178bhp 2.0 is four-wheel drive and available with an optional nine-speed automatic gearbox. This transmission is by far the most popular across the Sport model range. So equipped, the 178bhp 2.0 TD auto is our pick. Later on, a 238bhp version joined the line-up.
On the matter of two-wheel drive, few eD4s were sold, which tells you all you need to know about this drivetrain’s suitability. However, it still looks the business, costs less to run and is cheaper to buy so may suit you, depending on circumstances.
A petrol engine didn’t arrive until 2017. Also from the Ingenium family, the 2.0 Si4 petrol unit comes in 238bhp and 286bhp outputs. Both are rare but entertaining and, if you don’t do the mileage necessary to justify a diesel, worth considering.
For many people, the Sport’s seven seats will be a big draw. They were standard on early models but, with the arrival of the Ingenium engine, became an option, albeit a popular one. Note, though, that Land Rover calls the arrangement 5+2, a hint not to expect much in the way of third-row space.