- Lavish interior
- Ideal for towing
- Plug-in hybrid availability
- No low range gears available
- Manual gearboxes difficult to find
- Pricier than rivals
What's the Discovery Sport like?
It seems amazing but the Land Rover Discovery Sport replaced the Freelander way back in 2014.
In both first and second-generation models, it's hugely accomplished both on and off road, with a stylish shape and classy premium interior.
Latterly, there has also been a plug-in hybrid petrol/electric in the range.
The Sport was heavily updated in 2019, and it's now based on the same platform as the latest Range Rover Evoque and the Jaguar E-PACE.
This latest model might look very much the same from the outside but under the skin, it’s a vastly different machine, with a range of new engines and a lovely interior that's been brought right up to date.
But there wasn’t much wrong with the first edition either.
For the first year of production, Ford's 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines were used, but from 2015, these were replaced by Jaguar Land Rover’s own Ingenium series.
Base models were available with two-wheel drive, which with the diesel engine, gave economy of over 60mpg.
Both petrol and diesel units were turbocharged, and while a manual six-speed gearbox was available, most on the used market seem to have the nine-speed automatic – which really suits it to a tee.
Low range gears are not available in any, although the auto has a very low first gear for off-road work, which is not used out on the road.
All models were available with either five or seven seats. In the 7-seater, the rearmost pair fold up out of the boot floor but they're only really suitable for children.
The Sport has over eight inches of ground clearance and can wade through two feet of water without damage. In the Land Rover tradition, its off-road ability is amazing over almost any terrain, and it makes an ideal towcar for a caravan, trailer or horsebox.
But in normal road use, it's also brilliant as far as I’m concerned, with good performance allied to fine economy – at least in the diesels.
The way it handles is a revelation for a largeish 4x4, with wonderfully informative steering, and great poise and safety through the corners.
Grip, no doubt helped by the permanent four-wheel drive, is amazing, and unlike some other all-wheel drive cars, its agility is excellent through quick changes of direction.
Such top-quality body control used to be reserved for the best of cars, not tall 4x4s.
But that's not the end of its driving attributes, because it also rides superbly even over rough country roads at speed, and takes potholed town roads even more easily.
Performance for the 160bhp diesels is fair, with the 0 to 60mph sprint taking 10 seconds, and economy is rated at 53mpg.
The D180 is a little quicker and has the same economy, while the D240 gets to the benchmark in just 7.6 seconds.
Petrol models are the P200 and P240 or 290. All offer good to excellent acceleration with the 240 getting to 60mph in 7.5 seconds.
The economy king is the P300e plug-in hybrid, which has 200bhp from a 1.5 petrol engine plus 100bhp from an electric motor. It’s rated at 143mpg and can do 34 miles on electric power alone.
Equipment is right up with the best – as you might expect – so that SE Tech models in the mid-range have a raft of electronic safety devices, alloy wheels, remote audio controls, a large touchscreen for ICE and sat nav, parking sensors, traction control, heated part-leather seats and cruise control.
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The Land Rover Discovery Sport is an SUV that provides a comfortable ride, advanced technology and off-road capabilities. With a range of economical engines and an interior with space for up to seven people, the Discovery Sport is ideal for family getaways as well as venturing around town on your daily duties.