Buy It: It’s an SUV that can do some of everything and that, in the mind of a modern car buyer, especially one looking for a premium SUV, is usually considered a value deal.
Don’t buy it: The Interiors don’t feel as special as compared to the price tag.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the entry-point for the LR family. Call it if you will the compact hatchback of the British automaker’s SUV range. This looks and feels like the older car but has now been given a new heart in the form a 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel. It replaces the older 2.2-litre Ford sourced i4 diesel that came with the car when it was launched.
Other than that, it still uses the same formula of providing luxury with the ability to go almost anywhere, thus providing a machine that serves a multitude of purposes. This one that we have reviewed is the HSE diesel and it comes with seven seats ticking off a significant check box in terms of VFM. It is another thing that the third row is quite small…but more of that in the interior section.
When Land Rover had announced the launch of the Discovery Sport four years ago, expectations were high as everyone expected a car that would look as good as the Evoque but stand for the same versatility that the Freelander/LR2 offered. On the looks front, the car has not disappointed at all.
In profile, you get the long hood-high back silhouette and there is a forward leaning stance. Noticeable elements on the face include the two-slat grille and large headlamps which give the car a rather sharp stare in terms of facial expressions. The side gets flared wheel arches while the rear is stacked up and the boxy looks lend the car its SUV stance.
It’s a white over black affair in terms of the cabin and this combined with the large glass area lends an airy feel to the cabin. You get all the features that are standard in this part of the premium car market like multi-zone climate control, touchscreen infotainment system, leather seats as well as a reversing aid feature.
It’s quite spacious inside both in the first and second row though you do sit a bit low in the latter and this appears to be in somewhat of a compensation for the lower rear roofline. You get a third row which is quite small and is best suited for quick trips, kids or medium sized pets. But it’s a third row nonetheless and adds the benefit of transporting two more people.
What we found to be lacking is the quality used in some of the switch gear as well as the quality of some of the plastics. They felt sub-par for a car that costs almost Rs 60 lakhs (on-road Mumbai). We also found the touchscreen system too small and a bit dated in appearance. It’s just not as good as what the Germans offer in similar sized vehicles. Finally, on the safety front you get seven airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP and hill functions.
This is where the biggest change to the Discovery Sport is. The old Ford sourced 2.2 i4 has been replaced in favour an in-house built Ingenium 2.0-litre i4 diesel. In this HSE variant, this engine produces 148bhp/382Nm but you can also have the same in engine in the five-seat HSE Luxury variant where it produces 177bhp/430Nm of torque. Both states of tune are offered with a ZF nine-speed automatic and AWD system, the latter of which is one of the other main selling points of the car.
The engine is quieter and more refined than the 2.2-litre block and this is quite evident when the car is idling as you could hear a lot of the engine noise in the cabin previously. Even with a gross weight of 2.6-tonnes you don’t feel the car being slow or lethargic in any manner. Torque delivery feels instant and there is a nice surge just past the 1800rpm mark and thanks to the nine-speeds, you can be cruising in the higher end of the double digit scale in a higher gear quite quickly. Thanks to the gearing you can be doing as little as 1800rpm at 130kmph in ninth gear giving you lots of punch when the need arises.
In terms of pure numbers, the (claimed) performance is not shabby either as you can do the 0-100kmph sprint in just 10.3 seconds and then go on to hit a top-speed of 180kmph. This looks even more impressive when you consider that the more powerful 177bhp is just 1.4 seconds faster to 100 and has a top speed of 188kmph.
While the new engine is a great change, we found the ride to be on the stiffer side. It is quite audible even at low speeds and as you go faster over the rutted surfaces, the rear tends to come back quite hard giving a strong reaction. However, this underlying stiffness is useful as the car is quite composed at high speeds out on the highway and adds to the whole touring ability of the car.
This being a Land Rover, the 4WD system is quite effective when the going gets tough and dirty. You get various terrain modes (including a snow option) as well as hill descent and hold function as a part of the package.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||148 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||382 @ 1750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||65|
|Tyre size||235/60 R18|
|Touchscreen infotainement system||Yes|
|Electrically adjustable front seats||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp)||148 @ 4000||168 @ 3000 rpm||181 @ 4250|
|Max. torque (Nm)||382 @ 1750||400 @ 1400 rpm||400 @ 1750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||65||66||70|
|Tyre size||235/60 R18||235/ 60 R18||235/ 60 R18|
The brief for an all-in-one package seems to have been met in most departments when it comes to the Land Rover Discovery Sport. You could be on the path less driven or even the path to exit the office car park and the Discovery Sport wouldn’t feel out of place. The interior feels a bit sub-par but otherwise is quite comfortable and in this seven-seat version, quite practical. This engine change has now also made it quite refined and much nicer to drive.
Photos: Kapil Angane