We drove the Discovery Sport to Land Rover’s Experience Centre in the Yorkshire Dales. The brand offers a Land Rover Experience to all new customers, whether they’re buying new or used, through an approved dealer. If only all owners took up the offer: it’s criminal to buy a Land Rover and never know what your car is capable of. The instructors are friendly and the experience extreme enough to leave all drivers impressed, with a range of steep inclines, streams, rolling logs and sideways slopes to traverse. Naturally, the car doesn’t falter – it would be a strange customer experience if it was designed to show the weaknesses of these cars – but it does show their range to extraordinary effect, the waves of the water lapping at the bonnet, the hill descent control kicking in to control the car’s slippery descent…
Land Rover’s superlative off-roading system, Terrain Response 2, offers drivers comfort, sand, grass-gravel-snow and mud and ruts to choose from, or can simply carry you over difficult terrain choosing which systems to use automatically. The new body is 13 per cent stiffer, giving a more refined flow to the drive.
Back on tarmac, we wound our way back to Ullswater over hill and dale, the car comfortable, warm, silent and smooth. Engines on offer are 2.0-litre petrols and diesels with the mild-hybrid system which harvests energy on deceleration. Below 11mph the engine will shut off, with the stored energy kicking in under acceleration.
The base 150 horsepower diesel version has front-wheel-drive and a manual 'box; the rest have all-wheel-drive with an auto transmission.