For those that remember, the Discovery Sport replaced Freelander in the Land Rover lineup in 2014.
It’s a rather sexy, curvaceous beast these days and some models even boast seven seats, and unlike many competitors — it is still designed to go off road.
The problem is, we have a habit of breaking Discovery Sports off road, so this time we thought we’d give it a sensible miss — I know, I know . . .
But in our defence we’ve ripped the door trim off two Sports, once outside McDonalds and the other time on our favourite bush track.
Once we even managed put a hole in the crankcase of a Defender, and that was on a Land Rover launch — so you can see where we’re coming from?
What’s it cost?
Prices for the Discovery Sport start at $60,500 for the petrol powered 2.0-litre P200 S automatic.
The D150 S is the same vehicle with preferred turbo diesel, priced from $62,450.
A top of the range R-Dynamic HSE however will set you back as much as $82,900 before any extras and on road costs.
Indeed, our test D150 S had a few extras fitted taking the price to $66,751 plus on-road costs.
They included larger 19-inch wheels ($1000), Black contrast roof ($920), Keyless entry ($900), Privacy glass ($650), ClearSight interior rear view mirror ($551), 360 Degree Surround Camera ($410), Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) radio ($400), Black gearshift paddles ($250) and Wireless device charging ($120).
Standard safety systems include Emergency Autonomous Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist and Driver Drowsiness Monitor.
The Drive Pack is now fitted as standard across the range and adds Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, High-Speed Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Assist.
There’s also auto lights and wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, 10.0-inch touchscreen, 6-speaker audio, navigation with speed cameras and traffic sign recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus the leisure activity key that you can take swimming.
We could easily live without some of the extras, but things like keyless entry and DAB radio should be standard on a premium vehicle like this, not extra — don’t you think?
What’s it go like?
The 2.0-litre, four cylinder turbo diesel puts out 110kW of power and handy 365Nm of torque, the latter from 1750-2750 rpm.
It’s hooked up to an 9-speed auto, with 0-100km/h taking a leisurely 11.8 seconds, and a top speed of 188km/h.
Fuel consumption is rated at a miserly 5.7L/100km and it has a tow capacity of 2200kg.
It also has auto engine stop-start to reduce fuel consumption.
It feels faster than the figures suggest.
More importantly it’s extremely quiet and smooth for a diesel — and most drivers won’t be able to tell the difference.
Discovery Sport is all-wheel drive, with the addition of All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) and Terrain Response 2 which “ensures you can wade rivers, climb mountains and explore places other SUVs cannot reach.”
It has a wading depth of 600mm and automatically detects the type of surface you’re on and adjusts the delivery of torque delivery to suit conditions.
Advanced Tow Assist makes reversing with a trailer more intuitive and easier than ever.
Inside the cabin is a generation away from the previous model, with upmarket trim that delivers a more expensive ambience.
Our test vehicle was trimmed in appealing bone-coloured, perforated leather, with contrasting gloss black trim, two-zone climate air and 12-way power adjust front seats and 2-way manual adjust headrests.
Second row seats slide and recline, with plenty of legroom and aircon vents for second row passengers.
We note however the front seatbelts are not height adjustable.
An auto-dimming rear-view mirror is standard, but the optional ClearSight video mirror was fitted.
We mentioned this trinket in our previous review of the Jaguar XE.
Unfortunately, it makes my wife sick and I have trouble focusing on the high resolution image with my multi-focal sunglasses.
The two ‘dicky’ seats that form the third row are rather small and suitable only for young children.
In fact, we’re amazed there’s room for a third row at all, not to mention the lack of storage behind the seats when in use.
Perhaps that’s why the seating arrangement is described as 5 + 2 — like a 2 +2 sports car with no room in the back?
On the road Discovery Sport feels composed and comfortable, with more than adequate motivation from the small diesel.
The 9-speed auto makes the most of available torque, optimally keeping the engine in the right rev range.
But the trigger-operated gear selector can be awkward to use, especially changing between forward and reverse — and especially when you’re in a hurry.
You need to take your time, make sure you have the trigger fully depressed or you could find yourself going nowhere — with embarrassing results.
The Park button at the top of the selector makes parking easy however and engages the parking brake automatically.
Steering is light and direct, and will have you turning corners with one hand.