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Land Rover Discovery Sport review, all engines, and trim levels

Welcome back, and it's time for another of our in depth car reviews. We have even taken the effort to make it into a video for those that prefer that format, just scroll to the bottom.

For this week, we will be reviewing the Discovery Sport, its many engines and trim levels. You can think of the Discovery Sport as a more practical alternative to the luxury Range Rover Evoque, and you won't be disappointed.

In its fifth year of production the Discovery Sport received an upgraded look for its 2019 model. It's one of the last Land Rover models to be revamped. The upgrade consists of improved interiors, loads of new technology, plus a new range of engines, including an advanced plug in hybrid (PHEV). The exterior is slightly sleeker, but really not too dissimilar to the pre facelift models.

It is super competitive in the premium SUV class, with the likes of the BMW X3, Mercedez-Benz GLC, Audi Q5 and Jaguar F-Pace all in the same price range (don't forget to check out our F-Pace review). Although if it’s the 7 seater option in this class you are after then you could also look at the VW Tiguan Allspace, Seat Tarraco, Nissan X-Trail or Skoda Kodiaq. Some of these last options are also a decent bit cheaper, if you are on a tighter budget.

Inside, the Sport screams out Land Rover, with its sturdy straight lines. And square appearance. There were some big changes to the infotainment and kit. The much-improved touchscreen display now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, while top trim levels have a beautiful, customisable 12.3-inch driver’s display in place of the miss matched half-analoguehalf-digital dials.

The centre console has the latest Land Rover infotainment system and a large multi-function panel that houses both climate controls and driving functions. Here you will also find the dial for Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system, as well as the car’s various off-road settings. The Discovery Sport remains amazingly capable when taken off road, as you’d expect for a Land Rover. We will go into on road and off road capabilities further into this review.

The Discovery Sport comes with a high level of equipment as standard, including heated seats, climate control, alloy wheels, Bluetooth connection and a DAB radio. The S trim level adds 18-inch wheels, electrically-adjustable leather seats and power folding heated door mirrors. Stepping up to the SE, equipment level brings 19-inch alloys, a power tailgate and Premium LED headlights with Auto High Beam Assist, while the top-spec HSE includes 20-inch wheels, keyless entry, upgraded leather upholstery and a Meridian sound system.

Land Rover overhauled the Discovery Sport's infotainment system, as part of the 2019 updates. All models get a 10inch touchscreen system, which looks sharper and is much quicker than on previous models. The basic menu layouts are the same, which means that some of the icons are more fiddly to use than in several German rivals.

There’s also a highly recommended new digital driver’s display. Its 12inch screen lets users switch between driving, navigation and entertainment functions, or a combination of them at the same time. It does look and feel great, and very intuitive.

Then there’s Land Rover’s Clear Sight Ground View tech. Using three forward facing cameras to not only view the road ahead, but create a real-time image of the road directly ahead of and below the car, plus its relative position to the wheels. It’s perfect for not only off-roading around difficult obstacles, but also parking close to high kerbs.

With a flick of a switch on the smart rear view mirror, and it turns from an old school reflective panel, into a digital screen relaying images from the roof mounted camera. It does take some getting used to, as using a conventional mirror you will naturally focus into the distance to see behind rather than the screen’s close-up images, but it does work really well!
Other features include wireless charging, a 4G WiFi hotspot and a variety of USB and 12-volt connections are spread around the cabin. Music fans will appreciate the punchy 11 speaker Meridian sound system that’s available on HSE models; the standard for others in the range is a simpler six speaker system.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport’s practicality will never fail to impress. The second row of seats tilt and slide for additional passenger comfort, plus the centre armrest folds down to make way so that it can be loaded, with ease. There are four 12-volt power points and up to six USB charging points dotted around the cabin. In the front passengers have cup holders and a cubby hole under a sliding cover, while the front and rear door bins offer huge space just shy of 14 litres.

The third row of seats which some models have fitted as optional extras, do fold flat into the boot when not in use. These seats are in our opinion only really there for occasional use, as there are roomier 7 seater SUVs on the market.

With the extra rear seats folded away, the boot is an impressive 829 litre capacity, that grows to 981 litres if you slide second row seats fully forward. Fold the rear bench completely flat and the available space increases to a cavernous 1,698-litres!

To drive Land Rover Discovery Sport excels at comfort. We were amazed by how well it dealt with some pretty rough terrain, even on the largest, 21-inch alloy wheels. The steering does feel fairly slow compared to a GLC or a BMW X3, but it’s precise enough. Along with the raised driving position giving excellent visibility, it allows you to take on anything the roads throw at you, with confidence. The ride quality is more absorbing and isolating than it used to be prior to the 2019 upgrades. It’s hugely impressive that Land Rover’s managed to engineer so much comfort out of its entry level model.

At times the Disco Sport does feel quite large to maneuver, and while the view ahead is great, the rear camera and parking sensors are essential when reversing. You will definitely need to flick the switch on the rear view mirror we mentioned earlier. Especially if you have the rear seats loaded with passengers

The seats are soft and wide with lots of adjustment, really adding to the ride quality. Even back seat passengers have a reclining option, to make them more comfortable. They now also benefit from air vents between the seats, operated by their own heater controls.

Refinement is also a Discovery Sport plus point. There’s little wind noise around the front windscreen, with only a bit of road noise from the wider tyres; The 2019 update managed to eradicate much of the tyre noise from the bigger alloys that used to pollute the cabin, on previous versions.

Now let's talk about the available engines, that it comes in.. A choice of three diesel, two petrol and one hybrid make up the range. All versions are four cylinder units, except the hybrid. All engines bar the entry level 150hp diesel feature all-wheel drive, an automatic gearbox and mild-hybrid technology. This technology uses a small battery and motor to assist with fuel economy. It does this by aiding the engine, and allowing its stop start system to cut in earlier.

The cheaper D150 diesel engine as standard is paired with a manual gearbox and front wheel drive. These two features make it unique from the rest of the range. It does, however, miss out on the mild-hybrid technology fitted to the other models. Upgrade to a D150 auto or the D180 and D240 engines that only come in auto, for that sought after four wheel drive system, plus the hybrid technology.

For the petrol’s, there is the P200 and P250 (with 200hp and 250hp) and, similar to the diesels, are both 2.0 litre four-cylinders. Even though they are quieter to drive, they don’t deal with the Disco’s size quite as well as the diesels, and require working hard, which doesn't seem economical.

The new plug-in hybrid model, known as the P300e comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine plus a 15kWh battery driving an electric motor, offering an economic low emission option. Unlike the non-PHEV versions, it has an electrically-powered rear axle. This is said to maintain off road capability while massively improving efficiency. It is also surprisingly nippy, with a total output of 305bhp, which helps to send the SUV from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds. The braked towing capacity of the Hybrid is a mighty 1600kg. Don’t forget, if the trailer weighs more than 750kg it needs to be fitted with brakes. It is also worth noting that the D150 model has a braked towing capacity of 2200kg.


Buyers opting for the Discovery Sport plug-in hybrid model, will have the ability to travel up to 38 miles, powered solely by the electric motor. If charged on a regular basis the P300e petrol PHEV is able to return a claimed 175.5mpg, with CO2 emissions of 36gkm. It is relatively time efficient as charging from flat to 80% take’s as little as half an hour , even on a public charger, while you are having a coffee.

Verdict

Our verdict is that If you like your premium badged motors, and you occasionally need 7 seats, the Discovery Sport could very well be for you. It is worth noting that the hybrid version doesn't have the 7 seater option, as the space here is used for the extra components. We would say that it's definitely worth checking out some of the models we mentioned in this niche, to save some of your hard earned money. There are many things that the Discovery Sport does well, the main thing being its off road ability being unrivalled in its class. It's also well mannered as an on road cruiser, comfortably eating up the miles with very little to rival it.

So if it is the 7 seat capability you are after, the hybrid is out of the question. We wouldn't recommend the petrol engines either unless you are barely doing any miles. It's just that the diesel jaguar engines fare way better (yes the engines are from the sister company jaguar).

Thanks for reading till the end, drive safe