Land Rover Discovery Sport review - A talented all-rounder - Land Rover Discovery Sport engine and gearbox

Subtly brilliant, the Discovery Sport takes fight to the Germans

Evo rating
Price
from £28,995
  • Good mix of comfort and handling, great off-road, strong engines
  • Steering is low on feel

The Discovery Sport was launched with Land Rover's well-proven range of diesel powerplants, but is now available with an all-new range of 'Ingenium' four-cylinder diesels.

These are considerably more advanced than their predecessors. Key aims included reduced friction, reduced complexity, and improved driveability. To that end, camshafts and balancer shafts now rotate on low-friction roller bearings, coolant and oil pumps are electronically controlled, activating only when required, and the crankshaft is offset with the piston bores, reducing internal stress. The result is 17 per cent less friction than before.

The improvements are palpable. While capacity has dropped from 2.2 litres in the old diesel to 2.0 litres in the new car and power has actually followed suit - now 178bhp, from 187bhp in the 2.2 - torque has increased. The top TD4 model now develops 317lb ft (up from 310lb ft), at a relaxed 1750rpm.

This Ingenium powerplant is available with either a six-speed manual transmission, or a new version of Jaguar Land Rover's 9-speed automatic. With an ultra-short first gear, the nine-speed is very much suited to off-roading, but the wider spread of ratios has benefits for driveability and fuel economy too, since the top four ratios are now considered overdrive gears, rather than just the top two. Land Rover says the new gearbox is smoother than the old auto, and it's 6.5kg lighter than its predecessor.

A 148bhp version of the Ingenium diesel is also offered. This retains the Discovery Sport's four-wheel drive - there's no front-driver available - but it's only available with a manual transmission. Dubbed 'e-Capability', the model also gets aerodynamic 18in alloy wheels and low rolling resistance tyres to boost economy.

Combined, the new engine and transmission results in a more relaxed, quieter, less vibratory character. It still falls short of some of the best engines in the class for refinement (and performance), but it's much better than the old unit and the Ingenium diesel is probably at its best in the Discovery Sport, feeling smoother and quieter. It suits the Sport's character better than in some other applications, too.

As it transpires, the extra torque, keen responses and short initial gearing are ideally placed to uphold Land Rover's off-road reptuation, too.

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