Land Rover Discovery Sport : New Baby Land Rover
The growing demand for SUVs globally and great products have written the success story for Land Rover. Land Rover has been successful and was also in profit even when Tata Motors had bought it. However, now what has changed is the company’s approach as it is making lighter, faster, more efficient and greener UVs. The Discovery Sport is the newest entrant, and will be the new-entry level off-roader to earn the Land Rover badge.
How good is it? Is it a perfect replacement for the Freelander2? We lay our hands on the baby Land Rover for a spin.
The Discovery Sport has a lot of similarity in styling to an Evoque. Many onlookers even asked if this is the new Evoque and we realised that in colours like white and silver, one could mistake the Discovery Sport as a Range Rover Evoque. Once, the new model year Evoque makes its way into India, we shall note that there is a major difference between the two. To speak of the styling, it has a sleek front grille with pulled back headlamps and DISCOVERY embossed above the grille stating that this is a part of the Discovery family. Land Rover has discontinued the Freelander2 and this is its replacement. There will three families under the Land Rover brand, Range Rover, Discovery and Defender.
The Discovery Sport is the newest member of the Discovery family and it is based on a new platform, which will be used for more Discovery products in the near future. The side profile of the Discovery Sport has a sloping roof, a design that is similar to that of new-generation Land Rovers. The Land Rover design DNA has been retained the clamshell bonnet and the floating roof. The Discovery Sport is certainly a looker.
The interior styling of the Discovery Sport matches that of the other new Land Rovers. The new Discovery Sport is the perfect replacement for those who need fresh and modern styling and were hesitating too buy the Freelander2. The Discovery Sport retains high quality interiors but do not expect it to be premium. The Discovery family is about good quality but not premium and there is a difference between the two.
There is the two-dial instrument cluster with white backlight, easy to read and operate. For those not used to Land Rovers the power windows switches are mounted next to the window than the armrest. Another JLR touch is the rising gear knob when you push the ignition switch. The Discovery Sport even has a new centre console, which is simple to operate and functional. The Discovery series is more about being functional than luxurious.
What it misses is the character of the Freelander2, like bigger windows that made the cabin feel airy, the thick and chunky gear stick, the twin vertical chrome strips on the steering wheel that functioned as the horn. These aren't important but they add some more character the SUV. This is what Freelander did and but the new Discovery series has its own design characteristics.
The things that we liked about the Discovery Sport is the rear seat space and no more stadium like seating that the Freelander2 offered. Then there is also an option of 5+2 seating as well so two children can be seated at the rear making it a complete family SUV. It is available as a fine and seven-seater.
The Discovery Sport gets the same 2.0-litre turbo petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines as the Freelander2. The Discovery Sport is lighter than the Freelander2 and hence it has much better performance also. The Freelander2 was based on a Ford-designed EUCD platform, which it even shares it with other Volvos as well. The new-generation Land Rovers are utilising in-house technology and this is helping them to become independent and at the same time even moving away it's synergies from its previous owner Ford Motor Company.
The Discovery Sport's diesel engine is offered in states of tune, one is 148bhp and the second is 188bhp. These are mated to a nine-speed transmission. We have driven the five-seater 188bhp version. The engine noise is fairly low and the NVH levels are at par with competition. The power that this engine produces is good enough and what we appreciate is the instant response from the engine. There is sufficient power on tap to overtake but no V6 Diesel option on offer that some of the competition offers as well. So if we compare apples to apples the Discovery Sport is at par with competition.
Driving in city or the highway you won't run out of steam. There is sufficient grunt in the engine and makes it easy to drive. Ideally drive it in D mode, the S mode is when you want to sprint ahead but the difference isn't anything major. In D the engine is comfortable as it is mostly in its power band and this is sufficient to drive.
The ride quality of the Discovery Sport is composed and pliant. This SUV glides over potholes with a hint of stiffness that can be left. All the due credit goes to the engineering team. Drive on bad roads and you won't complain much. The suspension set up is balanced and doesn't feel rough or unsettled. The chassis too is stiffer and the alacrity is much better. There is hardly any body roll when compared to the Freelander2 and this is at par with the German rivals. The steering wheel is light and convenient to drive on city and it starts to weigh up once the speed increases. There is nothing to complain in this department. There are multiple off-roading modes as well. These are nearly placed on the centre console freeing up space for more stowage.
|Max. Power (bhp/rpm)||188/3500|
|Max. torque (Nm/rpm)||420/1750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||65|
|Terrain Response System||Yes|
|Adaptive Dynamics with MagnaRide||Yes|
|Meridian Sound System||Yes|
|Windsor Leather Seats||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||HSE Luxury||250 CDI||xDrive20d xLine|
|Max. Power (bhp/rpm)||188/3500||203/4200||190/4000|
|Max. torque (Nm/rpm)||420/1750||500/1600||400/2500|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||65||70||67|
|Tyre size||235/60R18||255 / 55 R18||245/50 R18|
The Freelander2 had been a great off-roader. But with what the brand has done is that made it even better. The Freelander2 was the most adventurous in its segment when it came to sitting it's shoes, now the Discovery Sport even possesses good on-road manners too.
Land Rover has enhanced its product against the German rivals and there is no denying that the Discovery Sport is far more superior product. The company has invested more on the underpinnings and this what makes the Discovery Sport a better buy for those who need capable off-roaders. If you only want luxury, then pick the Range Rover Evoque.This is more luxurious and is at par worth competition, but not an capable off-roader as the Discovery Sport. Our personal pick is the Discovery Sport, as we like to love to go off the road very often.