From £28,9408
Land Rover has finally got its hands on the new Ingenium engine. Has it been worth waiting for?

Our Verdict

The Land Rover Discovery Sport
The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is the successor to the Freelander

The Freelander's replacement goes big on prettiness and packaging, and as a result becomes the class leader

Nic Cackett
6 August 2015

What is it?

Up to this point, our enjoyment of the otherwise impressive Discovery Sport has been spoiled a little by the sole occupant of its engine bay. With Jaguar calling dibs on the first Ingenium motors off the production line, Land Rover’s compact seven-seater was stuck with a venerable 2.2-litre oil burner, a relic of the not so distant past when Ford signed the cheques at Gaydon. 

For as long as that engine remained, we urged caution, suggesting patience would be rewarded by the virtues of the all-new, incoming 2.0-litre unit. Well, that time has come: the Sport is the first Land Rover to receive the EU6-compliant Ingenium (it migrates to the Evoque next) and almost all the important figures shrink or swell accordingly. 

There are two versions to choose from: a 148bhp example dubbed ‘E-capability’ that comes with admirably low 129g/km CO2 emissions - and doubtless a very small customer base because it can’t be had with seven seats or the nine-speed automatic gearbox - and a 178bhp variant tested here which will have both these things, and be bought by almost everyone despite its necessarily higher 139g/km. 

For the record, that’s a 27g/km reduction compared with the outgoing motor, and less than Audi or BMW quote for a Q5 or an X3. It’s a similar story regarding fuel economy where the Sport’s wishful, official 53.3mpg marginally outstrips the figures claimed by the same rivals. 

What's it like?

In the real world, favourable first impressions of the Ingenium are enhanced by recalling the particulate waft and gnawing vibrations its predecessor produced on start-up. The new engine isn’t whisper quiet (we’ll come back to that) but the fact that you can’t feel it through the control surfaces - or, indeed, smell it - is a significant advance. 

With the start-up shudder gone and at low speeds, the all-aluminum unit spends its time convincing you of its better manners. It doesn't take long to be persuaded, given that one of the old engine’s worst vices was its inability to get underway without suffering chronic hesitation. Despite still defaulting into second gear (first being saved for towing or the muddy stuff), step-off is now seamless. 

The nine-speed transmission is a big improvement on the old system. Inevitably, it favours a prompt downshift or two but, this time, the endless foraging for the torque band seems cleverly prearranged, rather than irritatingly ad-hoc. 

This is important because, knowing that many of its buyers would never dream of troubling the rev limiter, Land Rover has spent its time extracting as much low-end tractability as possible. Consequently, at middling to high speeds, and with only shallow throttle input, the Discovery feels urgent with a pleasingly immediate, crest-of-a-wave kind of momentum. 

True, the 2.2-litre motor was not short on twist either but this is a much sleeker brand of impetus delivered without any nasty swell, or surge or splutter. This progressiveness feels well connected to your right foot, too; an important quality given how the rest of the vehicle does such a sterling job of making you feel well connected to the road. 

The Ingenium’s biddable urgency matches perfectly the car’s fabulous primary ride, effortlessly extending its handling advantage over the opposition, despite the secondary control's remaining bittiness. If that’s the chassis’s one deficiency, the engine’s is its irrepressible volume.

The toneless, bustling churn of the four-pot identified elsewhere hasn’t been eradicated by the Discovery’s thicker skin. While you’re not going to notice at the kind of low revs the nine-speed 'box quickly tidies you into, you will when you’re accelerating. Being noisier in this phase than the modest, much older 1.6-litre TDI VW Golf that I drove to Eastnor probably isn’t where a £40,000 SUV of the Discovery's calibre ought to be.

Should I buy one?

Don’t expect its aural quality - or a lack of urgency beyond its torquey comfort zone - dampen down enthusiasm for the Ingenium, though. The suspicion that it is a good, rather than an exceptional, diesel engine is, really, a broader debate relating to the industry's pecking order.

Truth be told, so convincing are the Discovery Sport’s merits elsewhere - practically, dynamically, aesthetically - that we’d have settled for less (not unlike the first adopters of the earlier example). As it is, the car’s new-found efficiency, refinement and responsiveness easily eclipse its older sibling - and just about everything else for that matter. 

Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 180

Location Eastnor, UK; On sale Now; Price From £43,000; Engine 4 cyls, 1999cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 178bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 317lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Kerbweight 1884kg; Gearbox 9-spd automatic; 0-60mph 8.4sec; Top speed 117mph; Economy 53.3mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 139g/km / 22%

Join the debate

Comments
24

6 August 2015
Great to see Land Rover Discovery making class leading figures combining a new Euro-6 engine with a 9-speed auto-box.

6 August 2015
fadyady wrote:

Great to see Land Rover Discovery making class leading figures combining a new Euro-6 engine with a 9-speed auto-box.

Class-leading? Which figures? I don't recognise any of them - mpg, CO2, 0-60, top speed as being class-leading.

6 August 2015
Brand new engine so a photo of the engine-bay rather than a close-up of the badge on the tailgate, say, might have been appropriate.

6 August 2015
.. but I actually like the look of these things when they go by on the road. Have to say also, it sounds as though the 'ingenium' engine has suffered what many JLR products seem to be plagued with, and that is 'overhype'. Giving it a name like ingenium adds to the expectation of sheer brilliance and I don't think it's quite lived up to it.

6 August 2015
Was the old engine really that bad? My last three vehicles, two Freelander 2’s and an XF have all had the 2.2 engine and the progress and development made by JLR with this engine in each vehicle has been remarkable. The original 2008 Freelander was grumbly and only just ok on fuel consumption. The improvement in the 2011 model was very significant for the improvement in refinement and the reduction in fuel consumption and Co2. In the current XF this engine is remarkably quiet and extremely fuel efficient. I drove the Discovery Sport earlier this year with the 2.2 engine and it did not seem half as bad as is being reported here. The fact that I have seen so many Discovery Sports on the road already would indicate that many others have not been put off by the old engine either.
However, the fact that JLR are now producing their own engine and one with such competitive Co2 emissions can only help JLR to sell more Discovery Sports. If JLR develop the engine further, like they seem to do with most of their products it may yet become recognised by motoring experts as an “exceptional” engine. The fact that it has made an already impressive vehicle even better, should be enough to keep mine and many others custom with JLR.

7 August 2015
Harry P wrote:

Was the old engine really that bad? My last three vehicles, two Freelander 2’s and an XF have all had the 2.2 engine and the progress and development made by JLR with this engine in each vehicle has been remarkable. The original 2008 Freelander was grumbly and only just ok on fuel consumption. The improvement in the 2011 model was very significant for the improvement in refinement and the reduction in fuel consumption and Co2. In the current XF this engine is remarkably quiet and extremely fuel efficient. I drove the Discovery Sport earlier this year with the 2.2 engine and it did not seem half as bad as is being reported here. The fact that I have seen so many Discovery Sports on the road already would indicate that many others have not been put off by the old engine either.
However, the fact that JLR are now producing their own engine and one with such competitive Co2 emissions can only help JLR to sell more Discovery Sports. If JLR develop the engine further, like they seem to do with most of their products it may yet become recognised by motoring experts as an “exceptional” engine. The fact that it has made an already impressive vehicle even better, should be enough to keep mine and many others custom with JLR.

Euro 6.

6 August 2015
I'm just amazed that the author gave anything less than a super white hot glowing review of a JLR product. Well done for the objective comments on the engine (putting aside the 'not quite true' class leading observations) - now if you could only be a fraction more objective on all JLR vehicles (including this one) that would be ace!

6 August 2015
I wish Nic Cackett would simplify his style of writing: Whilst this is by no means his worst effort, reading his articles shouldn't be such hard work.

6 August 2015
I've been struggling with the article too. 2 stars. What does this mean, in a few easily understood words?...: "Don’t expect its aural quality - or a lack of urgency beyond its torquey comfort zone - dampen down enthusiasm for the Ingenium, though. The suspicion that it is a good, rather than an exceptional, diesel engine is, really, a broader debate relating to the industry's pecking order."

6 August 2015
Adrian987 wrote:

I've been struggling with the article too. 2 stars. What does this mean, in a few easily understood words?...: "Don’t expect its aural quality - or a lack of urgency beyond its torquey comfort zone - dampen down enthusiasm for the Ingenium, though. The suspicion that it is a good, rather than an exceptional, diesel engine is, really, a broader debate relating to the industry's pecking order."

I, agree, utter, tosh! Did I use too many commas there?

Runs Anthony Ffrench-Constant close...

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