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Land Rover Discovery Sport Reviews

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Land Rover's Discovery Sport is a more spacious and stylish replacement for the Freelander. Andy Enright takes a look.

As good as it was, there was always a suspicion that the Freelander was the weakest link in Land Rover's product portfolio. Not any more. Say goodbye to the Freelander and hello to the Discovery Sport, a more rakish, spacious and luxurious take on the compact SUV.

The Land Rover Discovery never did sporty at all well. It had a vast array of other qualities that put it right near the top of the family 4x4 tree but on-road dynamics were never one of its big draws. If you wanted a car that handled a bit better, you graduated to the Range Rover Sport, a car that shared plenty of the Discovery's underpinnings but which featured suspension that was geared a little more to the keen driver. Now there's another option. If the Evoque isn't big enough and a Range Rover Sport is just too expensive, why not try the Discovery Sport? Brought into the range to pension off the Freelander and featuring 5+2 seating, pricing that looks sensible and some very sharp styling, it looks another instant winner from Land Rover.

Land Rover hasn't gone big on engine choice - for the time being at least. The only powerplant initially listed is a carry-over 190PS 2.2-litre SD4 diesel unit. This is good for 420Nm of torque and drives the car through 62mph in a 0-62mph time rated at 8.9 seconds if you choose the nine(!)-speed automatic - or 10.4 seconds if you choose the manual dawdler. It's only offered with four-wheel drive running gear. Should you not be in an instant rush to land a Discovery Sport, dealers will register your interest for the eD4 powerplant, due in mid-2015 which will be a good deal more economical, as well as affordable, this engine being mated to both two- and four-wheel drive chassis. As you would expect from Land Rover, the Discovery Sport has been developed to dominate in the dirt and it features a 600mm wading depth, a four-setting Terrain Response system, hill descent control, roll stability control, dynamic stability control, traction control and engine drag torque control. The bodyshell is largely shared with the Evoque, while the compact suspension design frees up space for the rear seats while still offering a decently-sized boot. The steering is also electrically power assisted, which gives the choice of a self-parking option, should it be required.

Even if you'd never seen a picture of the Discovery Sport, you could probably generate a reasonably accurate mental sketch of it were you to imagine crossing a Range Rover with a five-door Evoque. It's a really handsome piece of design work that instantly makes even a good-looking rival like the Volvo V60 look old. It also serves to make the conservative Audi Q5 look positively lumpy. The wheels are pushed nicely to each corner and there's that distinctive canted forward C-pillar profile that became such a Freelander signature. Land Rover describes the seating arrangement as '5+2' rather than a full seven-seater: that's because the rearmost seats are designed largely for kids and occasional use. The middle row of seats can be reclined, slid back and forth by 160mm, and also splits 60:40. They're also 5cm higher than the fronts which affords a good view out. Boot space measures a useable 195-litres with all seats up, but the Discovery Sport is likely to spend most of its life in five-seat mode, in which case you get a massive 830-litres. Fold both second and third rows and you can carry up to 1,698-litres.

Prices open at just over £32,000 which, if you compare it with an equivalent outgoing Freelander, is up a few hundred pounds but few will begrudge that given the practical improvements you'll benefit from. This means you'll pay around £1,000 more than you would for an entry-level Audi Q5 or Volvo V60, although specifications don't always tally up so don't read too much into that. The entry trim is SE and this gets part-leather seating, climate control, a heated windscreen, cruise control, and the inControl Remote. This last piece of kit allows you to access all sorts of vehicle information via your smartphone. You can find your way back to the vehicle, check if the windows or doors are open, check fuel level and range, and even summon emergency assistance if required. From the SE, you can step up to the SE Tech for a premium of around £1,500. This adds a touch screen sat nav, rain-sensing wipers, automatic lights, front parking sensors, a powered tailgate and front fog lights. From there it's quite a big step up to the Sport HSE version which adds 19-inch alloys, full leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, xenon lights, a reversing camera, keyless entry and an upgraded, 11-speaker stereo. At the top of the tree is the HSE Luxury which is priced at just over £41,000. This is fitted with ten-way memory seats in Windsor leather, climate controlled seats ad a heated steering wheel, park assist, illuminated aluminium treadplates and thicker carpeting throughout.

As you might expect given carry-over engines, fuel economy figures aren't drastically different to the old Freelander. Improved aerodynamics, improved transmissions and smarter ancillaries have all played their part in nudging efficiency up though. You'll manage 46mpg on the NEDC combined fuel cycle, with emissions rated at 162g/km. Those figures are 44.8mpg and 166g/km if you choose a model with the nine-speed auto. By contrast, a manual Freelander would have seen 40.4mpg and 185g/km. Land Rover's in a real run of form at the moment and demand for clean used Evoques is buoyant. There's no reason why the Discovery Sport shouldn't follow in that vein. If you thought an Audi or a BMW were the safest places to put your money in this sector, it's time to think again.

It was about time the Freelander came to the party. In order to do so, it's had to develop into the Discovery Sport and at last Land Rover has a compact SUV that brings the design genius of its more expensive models to a more affordable price point. In doing so, this car is going to cause all manner of headaches for the likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo. That's not all. With its clever and pragmatic 5+2 seating layout, the Discovery Sport can also attract sales from vehicles you'd never have thought as rivals. Cars like the Hyundai Santa Fe, which have been quietly garnering market share, are going to feel the pinch from this one. It's far from the finished item either. This intro model represents phase one in the Discovery Sport masterplan. Expect to see a lot more excitement in coming months as we begin to see this model really hit its stride.

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Overview

The all new Land Rover Discovery Sport is a compact sports utility vehicle which has been given a dramatic makeover in the same style as the Evoque or the Range Rover Sport. However, the Discovery Sport is a replacement for the Freelander rather than the old Discovery. This is a British born and bred vehicle and is constructed at the Land Rover plant in Halewood, Liverpool.

Key Land Rover Discovery Sport Points

The Land Rover Discovery Sport bridges the gap between the Evoque, the Discover and the Range Rover series. It is an all terrain vehicle and aimed at leisure usage whereas the standard Discovery has more of an agriculture feel to it. The two diesel engines present at launch are the Ford Duratorq 2.2 turbocharged diesel engines producing 150 or 190 bhp and emitting circa 160 g/km of co2's which is not bad at all for a vehicle of its size. The lease prices for the Discovery Sport also sit between the Evoque and the Discovery and is obtainable for around £500 a month or less, this makes it much more accessible than the larger Range Rovers while still being a very premium purchase.

Why Lease a Land Rover Discovery Sport

The Discovery is a 7 seated slice of luxury that has the strength and character to be all weather and all terrain. If you're Evoque is too small and the Range Rover Sport is too pricey then a Land Rover Discovery Sport lease could be the right choice. When the eD4 engine comes rolling in the Disco Sport will then be even cheaper to lease as well as more economical, however for now all your luxury 4x4 dreams could come true with this modern marvel. 

Five reasons to lease a Land Rover Discovery Sport 

  • Updated looks 
  • Rugged 4x4 that has made Land Rover a household name
  • 5+2 seating arrangement
  • 0-62 still under 9 secs
  • eD4 engine adds more economy

Conclusion

The Land Rover Discovery Sport leasing deals we have are as astonishing as the vehicle is. If you're not sold or want more information then please have a look throughout the Land Rover Discovery Sport car leasing hub for high res images inside and out, high definition video and of course the in depth independent review. Enjoy.