There are SUVs with 4×4 capability and then there’s Land Rover’s Discovery range. The latest version of the Discovery Sport has subtle styling upgrades and new technology to make connectivity and adventuring easier.
Would ma’am like petrol or diesel?
The Discovery Sport comes with two engine choices in the Ingenium 2.0-litre turbocharged engines, both four-cylinders, one petrol and one diesel. The petrol is the more powerful of the two producing 184 kW and found in the P250 badged Discovery Sport, unfortunately, there were none available for sampling at launch. The diesel would be my natural choice of the engines, and it was the version sampled on launch. It delivers 132 kW and is found in the D180 badged Discovery Sport. Fuel consumption is a claimed 5,8 l/100 km and top speed is 202 km. It delivers driving dynamics of something with more than 132 kW, I still can’t believe it has the same power as some family hatches.
The engines remain the same across the spec lines, the difference between them is added features and technology. The opening base model is followed on by the S spec, from which the SE spec builds before arriving at the top of the range HSE spec.
Technology fit for a Queen
The new digital Pro Touch infotainment system is the epicentre of technological control, a central hub that houses all systems including the viewing screen for the reverse camera, and the base for Clear Sight Ground View and Clear Sight Rear View. A hub for connectivity that’s easy to use and more importantly easy to operate, the lack of sub-folders within sub-folders needs to be applauded, most functions can be accessed within three button taps.
It’s not just some pretty new details
The base platform of the Discovery Sport is not exactly the same as the previous model. The new body is 13% stiffer than before, this means that it’s much quieter in the cabin and it is, there’s little outside intrusion in the way of road noise or tyre noise.
The Discovery Sport is available as either a 5- or 7-seater variant. Updates to this latest model have given the 7-seater variant more space for all occupants. The rear suspension has been altered so it doesn’t occupy as much space, which means there’s more cabin space over the rear wheels where seat 6 and 7 are positioned.
The second row of seats base is able to slide forward in a 60:40 split, while the backrest folds away in a 40:20:40 split.
Dirt road champion
On launch we drove a dirt road that is on my usual testing route for vehicles with higher ground clearance, the Discovery Sport has 216 mm of clearance. It’s a rutted and bumpy road and I’m yet to recall driving that road and not having a bit of the ol’ belly jiggle happen from road vibrations. The Discovery Sport had none of that; it felt like we were driving on a regular tar road, the suspension system, which has been tweaked for this model, is that good.
You want me to go there?!
There are so many Discovery’s on the road, and I wish the drivers, particularly women, knew how capable and ridiculously easy their vehicles make basic 4x4ing.
Let me qualify the easy, the Terrain Response 2 does everything for you, all that is required from the driver is steering, speed regulation and common sense. And if you’re a woman you’ve got that in bundles. The Terrain Response 2 has various modes for different conditions and an Auto mode. In Auto the system uses 12 sensors to pick up the changing terrain and, as the name suggests, automatically adapts the inputs from the car to handle the environment, the driver steers and modulates speed. We like that the Terrain Response 2 dial has been moved to the facia, with a press of a button the temperature control for the driver turns into the driving-mode dial.
Eeeeeek, that’s a river
Provided a river is not fast flowing or to deep you’ll be fine in the Discovery Sport. Most cars with wading capabilities (fancy way of saying crossing water) have sensors that alert you if it’s getting to deep, though once you’ve crossed the sensor point you don’t know how far gone it is. The Discovery Sport is fitted with a radar (similar to park distance beepers) on the side mirrors. This little radar picks up real time information of the water line on the outside of the vehicle with a maximum wading depth of 600 mm.
Clear Sight Ground View and Rear View
Clear Sight Ground View uses three cameras, (forward-facing camera and the cameras mounted on the side-mirrors) to pre-record the road ahead by 8-metres and to the side by 15-metres. This footage is then assembled to show what the terrain underneath your car looks like. Perfect for kerbs when parking, low walls and knowing where to place your tyres when 4x4ing.
Clear Sight Rear View turns your rearview mirror into a live camera feed from the back of the car. Offering more colour and much more detail for the external environment this is a great feature.
Activity is key
The Activity Key is a device that looks like a fitness tracker, except it replaces the key for locking and unlocking the Discovery Sport. If you’re off to do an activity and don’t want the hassle of the key, you leave the key in the vehicle and use the Activity Key instead.
The Discovery Sport is by no means cheap, though this range plays in the luxury lifestyle ‘compact’ SUV section. Considering what you get in terms of technology and capability as standard you’d be hard-pressed to find an equivalent offering. There may be cheaper 4×4 SUVs though they’re erring on the agricultural side in execution of abilities and not nearly as luxurious or comfortable on the road, they also don’t feature any of the technology that makes 4x4ing as easy as this.
New Land Rover Discovery Sport prices*:
Discovery Sport D180 AWD Automatic R749 500
Discovery Sport D180 S AWD Automatic R795 500
Discovery Sport D180 AWD R-Dynamic S Automatic R819 100
Discovery Sport D180 AWD R-Dynamic SE Automatic R855 300
Discovery Sport D180 AWD R-Dynamic HSE Automatic R897 800
Discovery Sport P250 AWD Automatic R759 900
Discovery Sport P250 S AWD Automatic R805 800
Discovery Sport P250 AWD R-Dynamic S Automatic R829 500
Discovery Sport P250 AWD R-Dynamic SE Automatic R865 700
Discovery Sport P250 AWD R-Dynamic HSE Automatic R908 100
* Including VAT but excluding CO2 tax
All Land Rover vehicles come standard with a 5 Year Care Plan giving peace of mind with a 100 000km warranty and servicing within in 5 year period, whichever comes first.
Images: Land Rover South Africa