I went down to the Western Cape and took part in one amazing adventure to find out what the Discovery Sport is all about.
Where does it fit in?
What the Evoque is to the Range Rover, so too is the Discovery Sport to the Discovery. Although the Disco (its abbreviated moniker) Sport is not a direct replacement for the discontinued Freelander, it does slot in to the range below the full-sized Discovery. Now despite its Land Rover name plate, the Disco Sport does take its cues from the more expensive pavement-hopping Range Rover Evoque.
About that styling
Whereas some compact SUVs go for visual impact and others prioritise space usage and versatility, the Land Rover Discovery Sport combines the two. Apart from the overall shape, details including a clamshell hood and distinctive two-bar grille with hexagonal mesh clearly connect the Disco Sport to its Land Rover identity. Large outboard air intakes and LED fog lamps in the front bumper convey a strong sense of ‘sport’ while the slim, wraparound headlamps are reminiscent of designs used on Range Rover vehicles.
At the rear of the vehicle, the spoiler features inner extensions that improve aerodynamic efficiency. What’s more is that designers have spent many hours fine-tuning the rear airflow so that when you travel on dusty roads, no dust will accumulate on the rear window. This was proven by the fact that no matter what speed we drove on the many dirt roads along our journey, the rear window was never covered in dust.
The Discovery Sports exterior feel, continues inside as well. There’s plenty of leather, which is accompanied by a quality feel throughout and the cabin coddles the driver and passengers in true Land Rover luxury. Now for the Disco Sport’s party piece - as with its bigger brother, the Sport has a third row of seats. Land Rover calls it a 5+2 configuration. The seats are tucked away in the rear and getting into them can be a bit of an adventure in itself but once you’re there, you’ll find plenty of space; adults might feel cramped but children will fit just fine. The second row of seats, in addition to its 60:40 split, can also recline rearward.
There’s also a new and much improved infotainment system in the Disco Sport. The new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system for the Discovery Sport integrates voice-controlled satellite-navigation and an all-terrain mode. The home screen provides easy access to audio, climate, telephone and navigation functions. It also pairs with devices faster and when the vehicle’s been specced with the external cameras, the screen gives a clear view of your surroundings.
English war horses live under the hood.
On the launch I got the opportunity to drive a top-of-the-range HSE model, which was fitted with just about every option on the Options List. The model was fitted with a 2.0-litre petrol Si4 motor, which produces 177kW of power and 340Nm of torque. I also managed to sample the 2.2-litre turbo diesel SD4 engine, which produces 140kW and 420Nm of torque. Land Rover is also offering a TD4 turbo diesel unit, which will develop 110kW and 400Nm. All powertrains are mated to the brand’s nine-speed automatic transmission – a first in the segment. It boasts ratios that not only allow for a smoother, more refined drive, but also uses taller ratios in ninth gear to allow lower engine speeds when cruising, thus optimising fuel economy.
After spending many hours with the Discovery Sport over my two-day adventure in the Western Cape, I finally figured where this car fits in. In my opinion it’s a serious Evoque. I travelled through and over various mountain passes on gravel back roads and I drove up a rocky hill and played in the sand. The Discovery Sport took all of this with ease. Its terrain-response system makes off-roading easy. Sure, it’s not a rough and tough 4x4 but if you want a vehicle that can benefit your active lifestyle then you should consider the Discovery Sport.