A voyage of Discovery
If the world of premium compact SUVs had a game of top trumps, then the new Land Rover Discovery Sport would walk away with the win.
It looks premium, is highly practical, safe and can brush the floor with any rival when the sight of a muddy field is put in its path.
I was never a big fan of the car it replaced, the Freelander, it never felt up to the prestigious badge it wore, and Land Rover has really thought long and hard about this new Discovery Sport, being the first all-new Land Rover in several years, and they have really delivered with this new model.
It’s as complete a family car as you can buy, but there are a few issues, and they mainly come down to price. The new Discovery Sport starts at just €37k, which looks good on paper, but when you start choosing the engine and options you’ll find yourself in the 50k region.
Also, being the only seven seater in its class it really covers all bases, but, unlike the UK where the Discovery Sport comes with seven seats as standard, it’s an option in Ireland, and wait for it, gulp, it’s a €1,700 option.
Land Rover seems to have taken on the German approach on speccing cars, with an options list as long as your arm and some very costly extras. Still, you can get a sparce-spec Discovery Sport in diesel form with auto box, for shy of €42k. Add the extra for the third-row seats and it comes in under €45k.
There is absolutely no point in delivering a package that on paper ticks all the boxes if it doesn’t deliver on the road, and thankfully for Land Rover, the new Discovery Sport is excellent. It is supremely comfortable to drive and doesn’t feel like you’re moving a big lump of metal around.
The 2.2 TD4 engine with 190bhp and 400Nm of torque works really well and there is plenty of power when you need it. Overtaking is a breeze and there will be plenty of pulling power for those who need to hook on a trailer. A new 2.0 Ingenium diesel will power the Discovery Sport later this year, and Land Rover claims it will be the most efficient in its class, without lacking in power.
Its off-road credentials are undeniable, even though I didn’t venture too far off the tarmac during my test. That being said, at the launch of the new model we got to take on a very challenging purpose-built course down at Mondello Park. It was exemplary and I was amazed at the ability to tackle serious off-road conditions.
The driving characteristics are also impressive, as I had envisaged a big lumpy SUV with little or no road manners. I was very much mistaken, as the Discovery Sport handles very well. There’s no mistaking that this is a big SUV, but the way it handles corners and the comfort it provides on both long and short journeys make it the perfect family vehicle.
The nine-speed auto is the only option when it comes to choosing which model to go for as it is so smooth and makes driving the Discovery Sport a much more enjoyable experience.
Being a Land Rover it has a reputation for excellent build quality and the interior has a really high-end feel. It falls behind the likes of Volvo and Audi for overall finish but everything feels well made.
The new Discovery Sport has dispelled any misgivings I had about the old Freelander, and in my eyes is a better option than the stylish Evoque, and cheaper in some instances. So, would I recommend a new Discovery Sport, absolutely But I would hold back on the options list and get the seven-seat version with the new 2.0 Ingenium diesel engine. For around €42-€43k, you’ll be getting one of the most complete family cars you can buy, and that has to be worth pushing to boat out for.
Model: Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.2 TD4 SE
Price: from €37,100 (test car €55,985)
Tax: Band D €570
Max speed: 180kph
Economy: 6l/100kms (claimed)
Boot capacity: 689 litres
- Paul Keown and Robbie Farrell