The Discovery Sport is the latest off-roader to come out of the capable Land Rover stable. You should already have read our first-drive road test review, but if you haven’t, here are 10 things you need to know about this awesome new compact SUV. Well, what are you waiting for?
Seven seats are better than five
Got an oversized family or friends who always want to blag a lift? The Discovery Sport and its three-row, seven seat arrangement has you covered. Tall passengers won’t want to sit in the rearmost seats, unless you they have relatively short legs or a high pain threshold, but it’s great for average height folks, kids and desperate hitchhikers. Usefully, there’s an optional extra that gives everyone their own USB charging point so you can charge up your gadgets as you travel from A to B.
Nature is no match
Like the Range Rover, the Discovery Sport has a variety of off-road settings that help you conquer the great outdoors, including a much faster-to-react version of Hill Descent that kicks in as you begin a descent from the top of a climb, thanks to a new pitch sensor. A lower holding speed of 5km/h instead of 6km/h, 212mm of ground clearance and 600mm wading depth help keep Mother Nature in check.
It can torque the talk
With 420Nm (310lb/ft) and 187bhp generated by the 2.2-litre SD4 DOHC diesel, the Land Rover Discovery Sport could be a tad sportier. But a 0 to 62mph time of 8.4 seconds and top speed of 117mph are hardly to be sniffed at, especially when all that torque kicks in from just 1,750rpm.
Polar bears will thank you (kind of)
A mixture of stop/start technology, weight saving via the use of aluminium and the nine-speed ZF auto gearbox (a £1,800 extra compared with the thirstier, slower 6-speed manual) help eke out your fuel and make the Discovery Sport 14 per cent more efficient than the outgoing Freelander. At 44.9mpg and 166g/km of CO2 emissions, it’s relatively cheap to run and tax.
The nine-speed gearbox is dreamy
Really dreamy, in fact. The Discovery Sport can tackle steep gravel ascents one minute and motorway cruising the next without skipping a beat. It does have flappy paddles, but you won’t want to use them — you’ll never remember what gear you’re in, much less whether you should be in 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th for any given situation, but leave it to its own devices and it’s a remarkable transmission.
Autonomous braking comes as standard
A digital stereo camera mounted next to the rear-view mirror works with Land Rover’s Autonomous Emergency Braking system to spot a potential collision threat at up to 80 metres away. Should someone step out, the Discovery Sport will brake for you. That and an airbag on the bonnet just for pedestrians helped secure the Discovery Sport a full five-star Euro NCAP rating.
There’s a new infotainment system
Land Rover has seen fit to include a new eight-inch infotainment system with InControl, a feature that lets you hook up an iPhone and gain access to even more functionality, including Land Rover’s home grown apps.
You can spec it to kingdom come
Not content with SE? An extra £1,500 for SE Tech gets you touchscreen navigation, automatic tailgate, front parking sensors, front fog lights and automatic lights and wipers. The £3,700 HSE trim adds a panoramic roof, full leather, 19-inch alloys, Xenons, subwoofer and a reversing camera. Another £3,600 gets HSE Lux and its climate heated and cooler front seats, heated rear seats, InControl, improved leather and parking assist. You can even spec a WiFi hotspot.
It costs less than you might think
Starting from £32,395 in its entry-level SE trim, the Discovery Sport is going to be a stretch for most. But it is only slightly more expensive than the Evoque, which has two fewer seats, and it rides nearly as well as the more expensive Range Rover. It is, therefore, not badly priced given the level of quality.
You can buy one soon
January 22nd, 2015 is when it will go on sale, folks. Check out whether you should buy it here.