Land Rover Discovery Sport review - A talented all-rounder

Subtly brilliant, the Discovery Sport takes fight to the Germans

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

evo Verdict

The Land Rover Discovery Sport eclipses the Freelander, the car it replaces, in almost every single way. For starters, it looks great and the cabin quality is a big step up over previous-gen affordable JLR products. Then you have the addition of two more seats than any other car in its class and now, improved refinement from new Ingenium diesel motors. Beyond all that the baby Discovery is genuinely satisfying to hustle along with great body control and a composed ride - unsurprising, given it shares much with the fine-handling Range Rover Evoque.

The comfort/capability balance is finely struck with the Discovery Sport. Choose sensibly proportioned wheels and a set of standard tyres and you're looking at a car that is comfy but able to do things off-road that no competitor can, despite the fact that the average buyer will never use it.

evo Tip

Land Rover has just introduced its new Ingenium engines into the Discovery Sport range. Whichever option you pick - there's a 148bhp unit and a 178bhp engine - you'll enjoy greater refinement than before and much improved economy. If the latter is your main concern, the lower power engine with its manual transmission will net you a 57.6mpg figure - but if budget allows, we'd recommend opting for the more powerful model with its 9-speed automatic. It's faster, the automatic transmission better suits the nature of the car, and you lose only a few miles per gallon to the more frugal option.

evo Comment

While JLR's SVR badge looks to be being reserved for top end Range Rover products, the addition of the Discovery Sport HSE does see some premium features added to the model. The HSE comes with grained leather in the interior, as well as automated parking, blind spot monitoring and xenon headlamps. Step up to the Discovery Sport HSE Luxury and you get the option of rear-seat entertainment, even more leather and an optional Meridian sound system.

We would like to see a more evo interpretation of the Disco Sport however, as the chassis is clearly capable of handling a lot more power and that's without trying to tie it down further. After all, Audi and BMW have been making fast compact SUVs for quite some time now and you can buy a Range Rover Sport tweaked by SVR. Surely it's only a matter of time for the badge to filter down to Land Rovers too?

> Performance and 0-60mph time - Respectable performance from new engines and gearboxes. Little joy to be had, but enough performance for the intended audience. Read all about the Discovery Sport's performance here

> Engine and gearbox - Better economy, a smoother drive and less noise from Land Rover's 'Ingenium' powerplants. Still more vocal than some rivals, but at its best in this application. Read all about the Discovery Sport's engine and gearbox here

> Ride and handling - Light, feel-free steering mars an otherwise impressively composed chassis. Not fun, so much as gently entertaining - but great off road. Read all about the Discover Sport's ride and handling here

> MPG and running costs - More benefits to be had from the new engine, with lower CO2 than before and much improved economy. Lower costs for both private and company users. Read all about the Discovery Sport's MPG and running costs here

> Prices, specs and rivals - A little cheaper to buy than it was at launch, with more equipment and a wider range of trim levels. It's among the best cars in its class. Read all about the Discovery Sport's prices, specs and rivals here

> Interior and tech - Little visual flair but plenty of logic and quality. Lots of space, too - the rearmost row of seats is perfectly usable for children. Recent changes have hugely improved the infotainment kit Read all about the Discovery Sport's interior and tech here

> Design - Cut from the usual Land Rover cloth. Not the brand's prettiest car, but highly desirable and a classier design than its Freelander predecessor. Read all about the Discovery Sport's design here

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