Imagine two siblings in a family. You have one that is better at arts and is a free-spirited child, while the other one turns out to be the nerdy, antisocial and pragmatic individual. However, there are bound to be some common traits between them.
The same applies to the Land Rover stable. I’m referring to the Discovery, the larger brother that’s positioned as the more practical, family-oriented car. Then you have the Discovery Sport, which stands as the smaller, sportier offering. The latter being the newer nameplate means it has a lot more to prove, so does it at least have the stuff that makes its bigger sibling so good?
It’s clear to see that the Discovery Sport’s design language takes a lot of styling cues from the Range Rover Velar. The sleek front fascia and rear end, and the smooth lines all around form a very attractive and proportionate SUV. I’d even say that the smaller Discovery Sport looks better than the full-size Discovery especially with the R-Dynamic package’s blacked-out trim where you’d normally find chrome. Body-colored wheel arches and side sills, and black 20-inch alloy wheels give the smaller Disco a more aggressive flair.
However, this comes at a cost. As capable as it may be especially with 212mm of ground clearance and the clever Terrain Response system, having these visual upgrades would discourage me from bringing it off-road. I’m sure most of you will agree.
As for the interior, it’s premium and comfortable. The R-Dynamic package gives you some sportier aluminum bits, contrasting stitching, and Titanium Mesh trim all around without being too over-the-top. But the center console and the climate controls are still clad in piano black, which is a bit of a chore to keep spotless. The car has dual 10-inch screens. The driver’s display can show useful information such as a full-screen map, and the secondary screen is the infotainment system.
The steering wheel has an interesting mix of physical and touch-sensitive controls. I often found myself turning up the sound level by accident whenever I wanted to select something else, this is because you control the volume like you would on an iPod. I also had my share of gremlins, where the infotainment would just repeatedly cut the Bluetooth connection. It also lacks any form of phone integration, but Land Rover says that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on the way. Otherwise, it’s a responsive interface with a surprisingly good navigation system that works without a phone.
As for seating, you have excellent 14-way power-adjustable chairs at the front with memory functions for both sides. The Discovery Sport is a five-seater as standard, but you can order one with a third row. Ride comfort is excellent, too. The coil springs are able to soak up all the potholes and rough roads while staying quite planted when going around corners, which shows that it has less body roll compared to other SUVs in its class. The cargo space is a cavernous 983L, making it very practical.
You have Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium family of engines powering the Discovery Sport. This particular unit has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel that puts out 148hp and 380Nm. The engine doesn’t feel and sound labored even when the car is loaded. Unfortunately, it’s quite thirsty even with careful driving. Mixed city and highway driving got me a figure of 7.5km/L. You also have to unlock the car’s fuel tank with a nozzle before you fill up. This may or may not be a minor annoyance, depending on whether you like to be hands-on with your vehicle.
So yes, I’d personally say that the smaller and sportier Discovery sibling can be like its big brother in many ways. It appeals to those looking for a more engaging driving experience while still offering all the practicality that the SUV form factor has. It’s certainly an interesting choice as far as premium SUVs go, but it’s one that will surely not disappoint.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT R-DYNAMIC S 2.0 DIESEL
|Engine||2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo diesel|
|Power||148hp @ 4,000rpm|
|Torque||380Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm|
|Dimensions||4,597mm x 2,173mm x 1,727mm|
|Upside||It’s a handsome SUV with amazing ride comfort and practicality.|
|Downside||It’s a bit thirsty, and you’d better think twice about off-roading with the R-Dynamic package.|