And so the new Land Rover Discovery Sport is upon us, and we think it looks pretty good. It’s kind of part Freelander (which it effectively replaces), part Evoque, and boasts some impressive off-road capability as well as a considerable repertoire of tricky gadgetry.
Most of the greasy bits appear to have come from the Evoque. The Haldex four-wheel drive system and 2.2 litre SD4 turbo diesel motor are carried over, with a less-powerful diesel and a front-wheel-drive version in the pipeline. Land Rover reckons that the 2.2 litre mill and all-wheel-drive model is good for a ‘combined’ figure of 46mpg, thanks in part to the use of aluminium panels and suspension components to keep the pounds off, although it isn’t clear whether this was achieved with the six-speed manual or the new nine (yes, nine) speed ZF automatic.
On the inside, the seating arrangements benefit from the new transversely-mounted engine and gearbox which allows for versatile ‘5+2 seating’, impressive for what Land Rover refers to as the ‘compact premium SUV market’, whilst the occupants may also download Land Rover InControl which allows smartphone apps to be controlled from the Disco’s new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
As you’d expect the Discovery Sport is intended to be a serious off-road machine, and it appears that Land Rover has geared it up to be a class-leader with a suite of electronic aides to compliment its ground clearance, approach, departure, and breakover angles (not to mention a maximum 600mm ‘wading’ depth). Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control, Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability Control, Electronic Traction Control, and Engine Drag Torque Control can be selected to help get the Discovery Sport up, down, or through just about anything you could reasonably throw at it.
Prices start at £32,395 for the SD4 version, although the front-drive eD4 could come in at under the £30,000 mark when it’s introduced.