You live life only once. While the weekdays are bound by work, weekends are the days that you really come alive. That is the time that you really wanted to explore places, go to unchartered territories, enjoy nature, be at peace with non urban jungle and lastly keep Discovering.
Boys and Girls, Ladies and Gentlemen, if this is what your calling is, no other SUV in its segment, lets you explore the world, the way LandRover’s entry level SUV and a replacement to their ever legendary Freelander does- The Discovery Sport
Internally codenamed as the L550, the car was first showcased in the September 2014 and went on sale in early 2015 globally. It made to india only in August of 2015.
The Discovery Sport represents the third generation of compact SUV produced by Land Rover and replaced the Freelander. Although the Freelander model range had been a successful way to enable Land Rover to move into the medium SUV market
The future design direction of the Discovery sub-brand was initially previewed in the form of the Land Rover Discovery Vision concept, shown at the 2014 New York International Auto Show, and it was during the show that Gerry McGovern announced the Land Rover Discovery Sport would be the first new model in the enlarged Discovery family.
With the brief history done, let’s have a look at the car, shall we?
Design Language - Exteriors
The Discovery Sport, amongst all the other rivals is the oldest in the segment, and it kinda is starting to show now. But don’t discount it yet, as the current Discovery Sport has the perfect dimensions for your need of go-anywhere SUV. It’s the most rugged looking even today and most solidly built.
From the front, it’s typical and unmistakable LandRover. Stretched at the corners are the bi-xenon headlamps which have surround DRL’s which look cool when lit and the two slate grille bears the name LandRover proudly. LED fog-lamps are inside the bumper casing below.
Move to the sides and what attracts you instantly are the raised wheel arches which give a butch look to the SUV. The 18 inch alloys aptly suit the SUV to give it a taller stance.
There is a kink line which starts at the bonnet line and goes all the way till the taillights, which works as a differentiator between the bottom of the car versus the top. The HSE Variant that we drove comes with two tone body color options, which looks great in lighter versus darker shade combination.
The rear is largely dominated by the round all LED tail lamps which illuminate in O, and while the HSE variant does not come with powered tailgate, it does come with rear wiper and wash. The Discovery nomenclature sits proudly in the centre, which hints towards telling you that, hey you can go discovering in this car.
The skid plate on the bumper below is finished in brushed aluminum, which works as an highlighter in a plain boring design. And two exhaust pipes pretty much sum up the design at the rear. With all 3 seats folded up, there is a compromise on the availability of the boot space in the Discovery Sport. However with the last row folded down, which folds flat out, you then get decent amount of luggage room. 981 liters with last row folded, 1698 liters with last 2 rows folded and only 198 liters with all rows up.
Design Language- Interiors
When you step inside this LandRover Discovery Sport, its got an effortless LandRover Design that LandRover’s are generally known for. Everything fits in its place perfectly well and all the controls around are easy to reach and use, unlike the Jaguar XF which we had reviewed earlier, which was an ergonomic disaster for the driver.
The Discovery Sport is absolutely practical, coz remember, this is your to go SUV when you want to go extreme off-roading. It may not be as snazzy as say the BMW X3, but does its job pretty well. On the driver console, it has a twin pod instrument console flanked by a MID in the centre. I drove the HSE variant, which came with 8 inch touch screen system, however the HSE-Luxury Variant comes with a 10 inch touch screen system, with much improved Meridian’s 16 speakers 825 watts surround sound system with rear entertainment package. More of that later.
The car comes with all the standard set of goodies that you expect at this price range, auto dimming mirrors, dual zone climate control ac, auto headlamps, auto wipers, you name it and the Discovery Sport has it. The centre console also has the control buttons for different terrain modes to choose from should you go off-roading.
Speaking about the front seat, the seats are well bolstered, hold you well in the place, while they are on tad firmed side for the liking of many, we would have loved if the seats would have been a bit softer. That would have made, long journey’s that much more comfortable. We aren’t saying they are comfortable now.
Moving to the second row, the practicality theme continues here too. There is lot of knee room, good amount of headroom, even after enormous glass roof, and what more, you can slide and recline the middle row to your liking, making the rear seat that much more comforting. Considering that the centre hump is not unusually tall like it’s German Rival’s you can occasionally have a third passenger with you, should you wish to.
As mentioned somewhere earlier, the Discovery Sport is the only car in this segment to come with two seating configurations, that being 5+2 or only 4+1. What we had was the 5+2 configurator.
Moving in to the last row is easy. Now if we roll the middle row all the way behind, then there is no knee room for the third row occupant. But if we slightly push the middle row ahead, than the knee room in pretty decent, and the headroom is commendable. However, having said that, the rear row in this SUV is only for kids and not really full blown adults. Practicality theme continues here too, the rear row gets ac ventilation switches and charging points. So while LandRover may claim it to be a 5+2, it actually is 5 adults plus 2 kids carrier.
In Car Entertainment
The Discovery Sport offers two different setups for ICE. The lower variants come with what LandRover calls the Touch system comprising of 190 Watts 10 speakers setup in LandMark and SE Edition, or 380 Watts 10 speakers Meridian setup in HSE Edition with a subwoofer, and the top of the line HSE Luxury comes with what LandRover calls Touch Pro system, with Meridian’s 825 Watts 16 speaker setup,with rear entertainment screens.
I had the HSE variant with us for the review, which comes with Meridian’s 380 Watts system with inbuilt subwoofer. What I particularly loved about this setup was, even with woofer throwing in deeper base notes, the low notes were bang on. Never did I feel the sound was distorted or muffled.
Performance- Engine and Gearbox
I had the 2.0 TDi, 4 cylinder HSE for the review which came with 190 PS of power and 430 NM of torque. This is the new Ingenium Series of engine which made debut in the Jaguar products and are noticeably silent then the outgoing engines. They are also light weight in comparison aiding in marginally better fuel economy figures. What I particularly like about the car is that it is quick enough when you put the foot down and it just darts ahead with certain sense of urgency. While the enthusiast in me would say, Why LandRover, why not give this potent chassis a 3 litre engine, but honestly, this 2..0 TDi is more than sufficient to get the job done.
Mated to this brilliant engine is a 9 Speed AT transmission, which is super efficient and super quick to shift gears as per the situations.
Performance Ride Handling, Drivability and Off-Roading
The car is absolutely comfortable, all thanks to superb NVH levels. The suspension feels a bit fidgety as low speeds, but then as you start going faster, the car becomes stiffer and brings in that much more confidence. The handling is neutral, which is a good thing as it does not upset the passenger behind.
Other thing that I particularly enjoyed about the the Discovery Sport was the fact that you really sit high in this car as compared to its rivals, which gives you a commanding view on the road outside. It really helps in navigating through traffic situations in city
If you are talking LandRover and you don’t talk off-roading, that’s like an injustice to the car. The LandRover Discovery Sport comes with LandRover’s legendary off-roading package. And that’s a proper 4x4 system and not pseudo 4x4 systems found in some of its rivals.
If you want a car to go off-roading regularly, Discovery Sport is the SUV to go for. Period. It has all the features you need to go off-roading. For example the hill descent control, which helps you descent through that slippery traction, with total control. Then there is the Terrain Response System, which can be set on Auto, or you can choose from, Gravel-Grass- Snow, General Road, Mud-Ruts and Sand. What more, this car even comes with cruise control for off-roading. What also further helps is the approach angle which is 25° and the ramp angle which is 21°. The Discovery Sport also has water wading depth of 600 mm.
While lot of you may argue that the Discovery Sport is a generation old product and the rivals have really upped their ante, but then there is one thing that this Discovery Sport does really well. It feels like an SUV, plus now with a more powerful engine, it appeals to all. It is also the most spacious in its segment and the only one to offer last row.
With all this in its tow, what is also does brilliantly well, if go on those unchartered territories where you may think multiple times before taking the BMW’s or Mercedes-Benz’s of the world.
So for the off-roading junkie in you, the Discovery Sport fits the bill perfectly well, and it takes you to weekday work location with same aplomb.