From £28,9408
The latest generation of Ingenium engines make the Land Rover Discovery Sport better, but it still can't match the silky refinement of its rivals

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

13 November 2017

What is it?

To the surprise of nobody, the Discovery Sport is Land Rover’s fastest-selling model. Just how popular is it? Well, consider that more than 200,000 have rolled out of the firm’s Halewood plant since it replaced the ageing Freelander in 2014.

That popularity is likely to now get a further boost with the introduction of Jaguar Land Rover’s latest four-cylinder Ingenium engines to the range, including two Si4 petrol options – of 237bhp and 286bhp – and the solitary SD4 diesel offering driven here.

Equipped with a pair of sequential turbochargers, the SD4 promises pretty robust performance, developing 237bhp and – more appreciably – a 367lb ft slug of torque from 1500rpm. The lesser TD4 makes 177bhp and 317lb ft by comparison, though both models share a nine-speed automatic gearbox supplied by German firm ZF. This feeds power to all four wheels, with Land Rover’s now-familiar Terrain Response programme optimising the chassis for everything from motorway runs to sand dunes.

As an aside, Land Rover will from now offer a front-wheel-drive version of the Discovery Sport – a base-spec model badged Pure – but only in 147bhp eD4 diesel guise.

The addition of these new Ingenium engines to the range also heralds an enlarged colour palette, some new interior trim options and alterations to the seat foam, though the interior, with its lofty driving position, remains handsome in a workaday fashion.

What's it like?

The SD4 is decently potent but not as refined as you might expect, with its rather gruff idle literally setting the tone for an engine note that’s never what you’d call intrusive but is always present. Certainly, those hopping from the polished confines of an Audi Q5 2.0 TDI might raise an eyebrow, although anybody acclimatised to the corresponding powerplant in the Nissan X-Trail would be pleasantly surprised. You could say, then, that this engine mirrors the Discovery Sport’s status as a premium product guided by utilitarian principles.

It is thirsty, though. Its combined fuel economy of 44.1mpg is bettered even by the considerably more powerful 3.0-litre TDI diesel of the Q5, which goes to show how far Land Rover has to go before its oil-burning engines match the best in the class. Given the Discovery Sport’s otherwise strong capabilities as a long-distance family tourer, it’s a little disappointing. Much the same can be said for the new Si4 petrol engines, which, as you’d expect, are markedly more refined but fall down on fuel consumption.

But what of that performance? A 0-60mph time of 7.1sec puts the new SD4 Discovery Sport on a level with warm hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTD, although it doesn’t always feel particularly quick. Not that it should, of course - just don’t be fooled into thinking all that torque is enough to make a two-tonne SUV feel sprightly. It isn’t.

Along with that bulk, the nine-speed automatic gearbox must also take some of the blame for the Discovery Sport’s steady modus operandi.

Okay, it juggled cogs with impressive ease while meandering along the Yorkshire Dales roads of our test drive. In fact, you barely notice as the rev counter's needle gently swoops up and down, smoothly keeping the engine in its sweetspot.

But frustrations arise when you require a sudden burst of acceleration – not uncommon on undulating roads like these, thick with slow-moving farm traffic – because there’s a lengthy delay before the transmission finds the most appropriate of its closely packed ratios. With the correct cog selected, the SD4 is forceful enough, but it just takes a while to get to that stage, and it’s a characteristic that can leave you floundering on approach to roundabouts should you never actually come to a complete stop.

Elsewhere, the Discovery Sport’s ride remains impressive at a canter but suffers occasionally over more pronounced road imperfections. It’s capable but a little rough around the edges, which, if you were feeling kind, you could once again say was in keeping with the car’s designated personality.

Should I buy one?

Propelled by its new Ingenium SD4 engine, the Discovery Sport remains an attractive, likeable, dependable but expensive quantity. This new engine is a good fit for the model but doesn’t necessarily do much to elevate it as a package, particularly in terms of fuel economy.

That you might well consider buying a Skoda Kodiaq instead is evidence of how far that particular Volkswagen Group subsidiary has come. In fact, the Kodiaq is more refined, has a larger boot and is better equipped than the Discovery Sport, as well as being substantially cheaper.

There are other rivals worth considering – the Q5 and the new Volvo XC60 are the most likely to appeal to prospective Land Rover owners – but neither matches the off-road capability – or charm – of the Discovery Sport.

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0 SD4

Where Yorkshire Dales On sale Now Price £38,695 Engine 4 cyls, 2.0-litre, twin-turbocharged diesel Power 237bhp at 4000rpm Torque 367lb ft at 1500rpm Gearbox 9-spd automatic Kerbweight 1900kg Top speed 127mph 0-62mph 7.1sec Fuel economy 44.1mpg CO2 rating 169g/km Rivals Skoda Kodiaq, Audi Q5, BMW X3

Join the debate

Comments
24

13 November 2017

JLR should focus on getting the petrol hybrids to market asap.

13 November 2017

Discovert Sport works best at £40k - £42k. HSE Luxury is all spec the car needs. Pushing £50k for red interior flourishes and tech, unlikely to be used to any great advantage, is verging ludicrous.  You can buy a decent Discovery for £50k. Stick to HSE black or HSE Luxury is my advice. 

13 November 2017

I really like the Discovery Sport and I have seen a lot of them on the road.  Can't beleive its been around since 2014-15.  Seems to be quite a few negatives with this car which is slightly at odds with the sheer numbers I have seen being driven.  One thing I think JLR should look into is their pricing.  It's my favourite marque but they do look expensive, and that's the whole JLR range

13 November 2017

Tell me the real world fuel economy - on and off road.

Tell me how much it is going to cost to service it over a certain number of years.

Autocar really needs to improve the quality of its car reviews.

13 November 2017
max1e6 wrote:

Tell me the real world fuel economy - on and off road.

Tell me how much it is going to cost to service it over a certain number of years.

Autocar really needs to improve the quality of its car reviews.

I think What Car may be the read for you.

13 November 2017
max1e6 wrote:

Tell me the real world fuel economy - on and off road.

Tell me how much it is going to cost to service it over a certain number of years.

Autocar really needs to improve the quality of its car reviews.

 

No Disco Sport will get 40mpg even driven sedately. This version will be a fair bit worse - to be fair, this is a first drive and not a full road test.

 

JLR really dropped the ball with the Ingenium engines - unrefined, unpleasant to use, and thirsty.

13 November 2017
scrap wrote:

max1e6 wrote:

Tell me the real world fuel economy - on and off road.

Tell me how much it is going to cost to service it over a certain number of years.

Autocar really needs to improve the quality of its car reviews.

No Disco Sport will get 40mpg even driven sedately. This version will be a fair bit worse - to be fair, this is a first drive and not a full road test.

 

JLR really dropped the ball with the Ingenium engines - unrefined, unpleasant to use, and thirsty.

Economy is subjective.  My company RRS gets about 30 mpg, our runaround Disco Sport about 36.  Contrast that with the Mini Cooper I bought my mother in 2015.  She gets about 33.  I admit it is a petrol, but ultimately, the economy is in the same ball part as a 3.0, heavy, SUV. I dont know who has told it is unrefined or unpleasant to use, but it is more refined than my fathers diesel 3 Series.  Thats his words, too.

13 November 2017
When the internal combustion engine finally dies and we rake among the bones to find the all-time greats, I think it's safe to say that JLR's Ingeniums will remain in the heap, rather than being picked out and gazed upon with reverence.

13 November 2017
Good to see some deserving critisism being introduced into AC's JLR product reviews. It's a shame they still haven't been able to get on top of the development issues with the Igeniun unit, although it really doesn't help when they have to lug around so much (unnecessary) weight.

13 November 2017

Yawn

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