Of the many potential hurdles to fall at here, the first does not trouble the new Discovery Sport.

Emphatically, this still feels like a modern Land Rover – and in a segment now oversubscribed with top-hatted saloon cars, the appeal of that single fact cannot be understated.

Steve Cropley Autocar

Steve Cropley

Editor-in-chief
The Discovery Sport can be threaded along with the kind of linear delicacy rarely accorded to hatches, let alone SUVs

The Evoque’s success has given the manufacturer licence to repeat much of the formula. Even with its bigger skin, this is a purposeful device – not so much rugged as street tough, but simultaneously lean and big-shouldered enough to justify its visual presence.

For those switching from the smallest Range Rover, it’s worth mentioning that the edges are more apparent here – especially in the quality of the secondary ride, which occasionally stumbles from crisply rugged to downright bony, a vice not helped by the Sport’s wider failure to isolate you from the audible machinations of the suspension.

This chivvying at the comfort levels does the car a disservice if for no other reason than that the primary ride – its capacity to soak up the low-frequency hillocks of UK roads at a cruise – is generally stellar.

Again, this is the manufacturer’s unparalleled understanding of how a contemporary Land Rover must be made to handle: not, crucially, as a sports saloon might, but rather how something tall, forceful and hefty ought to.

The contrivance at work among its rivals is absent, replaced by the apparently organic fluency of an SUV not disguising its amplified body movements but instead tuning them to an inner-ear-pleasing model of consistency and linear balance.

Apart from an occasionally awkward weight at manoeuvring speeds, the same finesse has been applied to the steering, which allows this mass to be threaded along with the kind of linear delicacy that is rarely accorded to hatchbacks, let alone SUVs.

Consequently, on the open road, the car can be driven swiftly and very pleasingly. Its occasional harshness and questionable refinement notwithstanding, it is the charm of this two-way relationship that defines the Sport as ‘good to drive’ beyond all else, and wonderfully typical of Land Rover’s current output.

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