The new Discovery Sport might be easy to overlook in Land Rover’s busy launch schedule.

It’s neither as eagerly anticipated as the second-generation Range Rover Evoque that came before it or the reborn Defender that will follow it. But it’s arguably the most important of the three.

The Defender is Land Rover’s ‘halo’ model, a link to the past that underlines Land Rover’s credibility as a maker of genuine off-roaders. The much-anticipated new version should underpin the brand's credentials, even as other models in the range push further away from Land Rover's rugged roots.

That push towards more road-focused machines has been aided by the huge success of the first generation Evoque. It was the machine that arguably transformed perceptions of Land Rover, broadening its customer base considerably. It’s no surprise, then, that the new Discovery Sport seems to take inspiration from both of those cars, promising extra off-road capability and added luxury.

And the kicker is that neither the new Defender or second generation Evoque is likely to sell in the volumes the Discovery Sport does – and that’s why it’s such a crucial car for the firm, especially given Jaguar Land Rover’s well-documented recent financial troubles.

In recent years, the Discovery Sport has been squeezed by an influx of premium SUV rivals and this new version represents a chance to hit back and reclaim that ground. For Jaguar Land Rover to have a bright future, it needs models that sell in big number and make the money to invest in the technology needed to thrive in the future – and that means it needs the Discovery Sport. It’s that important.


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