The Discovery Sport’s platform shift has been spurred on by the need to ensure the model can accommodate the latest generation of electrified powertrains. Just like the new Evoque, then, this revitalised junior Discovery now sits on JLR’s new Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), with motive power coming from a range of 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol and diesel engines.

The vast majority of these power plants now feature 48V mild-hybrid architecture, while a ‘driveline disconnect’ feature helps to further improve efficiency. Outputs range from 148bhp to 237bhp for the diesels, and from 197bhp to 246bhp for the petrols, but it’s only the entry-level 148bhp diesel that is offered without the 48V system.

I like the new black exterior styling trims, which break up its expansive bodywork quite effectively. And I’m very glad they weren’t tempted to copy the Discovery’s asymmetric rear-end design

In this 148bhp guise, not only is it the only RDE2-certified Discovery Sport in the range, but it’s the most efficient, too. This is largely down to the fact that it eschews four-wheel drive – and the nine-speed ZF automatic transmission with which those models come equipped – in favour of front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox. That it’s the only Discovery Sport in the UK that doesn’t feature a seven-seat layout surely helps, too. That said, it’s likely that the variant’s title as eco champion of the line-up will be usurped by the forthcoming three-cylinder plug-in hybrid, which is expected to arrive this spring.

Our SE-specification test car, meanwhile, makes use of the midrange diesel engine, which develops 177bhp at 4000rpm and 317lb ft between 1500 and 3000rpm. It’s rated to tow up to 2.2 tonnes. In addition to its ability to house these new powertrain options, the PTA underpinning’s renewed, lightened, mixed-metal construction contributes to an improvement in body rigidity. Land Rover claims that, along with rigidly mounted subframes, it allows for improvements in noise, vibration and harshness levels. Our microphone tests will no doubt determine how effective these measures have been.

Suspension is by way of MacPherson struts at the front with a multi-link set-up at the rear, while coil springs make for a fixed ride height. Adaptive dampers are available optionally, although our car was supplied without.

As before, Land Rover’s Terrain Response off-road program focuses on adjusting the Discovery Sport’s electronic stability systems, but being a Land Rover the model should nonetheless be capable of travelling farther off the beaten track than any of its immediate rivals. Brake-based torque vectoring at the rear axle should help out in this respect too, while making for tidier handling manners on the road.


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