Land Rover has revealed an updated version of its mid-sized Discovery Sport, with fresh detailing, a new interior and updated engines and transmissions underneath. The Discovery Sport was originally released in 2014 and competes against mid-size premium SUV rivals such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.
Under the familiar skin are more substantial changes to the powertrain and chassis, with a focus on hybridisation. The new Discovery Sport is now based on the mostly new Premium Transverse Architecture, one that also underpins the new Range Rover Evoque. As a result, all Discovery Sport models fitted with an automatic transmission now include a 48V mild-hybrid system as standard, while a new plug-in hybrid powertrain is also on its way. Despite the added use of aluminium in the new chassis, the Discovery Sport is still a hefty SUV, with top-spec D240 models weighing in at over two tons – a considerable figure for a relatively compact four-cylinder SUV.
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From launch, two basic engine options are available – both 2-litre turbocharged Ingenium units, one petrol and one diesel. The diesel is available in three outputs – 148bhp, 178bhp and 237bhp, the latter featuring a second turbo to provide the extra grunt. Petrol variants are available in 197bhp and 247bhp forms, with all models bar the entry-level 148bhp diesel coming with a standard nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Performance varies between leisurely and acceptable, with entry-level diesels taking 11.4sec to reach 62mph, and the brawniest petrol and diesel models reaching 62mph in a more reasonable 7.6sec and 7.7sec respectively.
But people don’t buy a Discovery Sport for performance, rather its core mantra is offering all the capability of a full-size Discovery, in a more compact package. As a result, the Discovery Sport is pretty much unique in the class for offering seven seats, although even Land Rover admits the third row is only designed for children. Outside, Land Rover has applied some fresh styling elements borrowed from its larger sibling, including new LED lighting and smoother bumper treatments. The overall effect is very consistent with the current model, with an identical body-in-white and glazing.
The interior has undergone a more substantial update, comprising a new dash and centre console, both of which are more closely aligned with those of the full-sized Discovery. The infotainment system and user interface has been cleaned up, and is now paired with a heavy use of glossy black finishes in place of the utilitarian grey plastics of the previous model.
The new Discovery Sport also picks up some of JLR’s latest interior tech, including the natty digital rear-view mirror, which displays an unobstructed wide-angle view from a roof-mounted camera on a screen built into the rear-view mirror. There is also the ‘ground view’ tech first seen on the new Evoque which constructs a virtual image of what’s around the front wheels at low speeds – something more likely to be used to avoid kerbs in a supermarket car park than jagged rocks on an off-road track.
As one of Land Rover’s more practicality-focused models, the Discovery Sport is unlikely to find itself with a potent SVR model topping the range, but family buyers will appreciate the significant powertrain and tech updates in normal driving. Priced between £31,575 for a basic front-wheel-drive D150 and £49,675 for a fully loaded D240 HSE Dynamic, the new Discovery Sport is available to order now.