Car Review: 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport SE

Jaguar, Range Rover, and Land Rover are on a massive charge worldwide with a spate of new models both in the works and being released, including the truly beautiful Range Rover Velar and Jaguar’s forthcoming i-Pace. But in the midst of all of this remains the heart of the three. Land Rover has just released a new Discovery and it’s backed up by the 2017 Discovery Sport. There’s three power plants available; a choice of two 2.0L diesels or a high revving petrol 2.0L. Transmission choice is simple in that you can have a nine speed auto, a nine speed auto, or….you get the idea. Peak power from the diesels are 110 kW or 132 kW, with torque being either 380 Nm or 430 Nm. Although there’s 176 kilowatts from the petrol four, torque is just 340 Nm however is tuned to come in at 1750 rpm according to Land Rover Australia’s website.A Wheel Thing drove the 132 kW/430 Nm version in a mainly urban environment but did go into a gravel and rock road national park environment. First up, the engine and transmission lack for nothing as a combination. There’s instant oomph on tap and a mostly smooth, invisible, transmission. Rarely was there a stutter from the gearbox but when it did it was invariably on a cold morning and in slow traffic. Once warmed up, silken was its name-o. There’s a fifty four litre tank on board and that’s a surprise. Driven in a predominantly urban environment, the Discovery Sport saw just 450 kilometres covered before needing an urgent top up. Average fuel usage hovered around 11.0L/100 km.Acceleration is rapid enough for most, with hardly any real sense of diesel chatter saying it was really being pushed. On tarmac there was plenty of grip to go with the up and go and when the drive mode was changed to Gravel the same applied. The electronics measure any potential slip faster than a human brain can calculate to adjust, with the result being a powerhouse car adapting superbly to driving conditions and delivering acceleration with alacrity, with the seat of the pants at odds with the official eight second or so time, and plenty of lateral grip as needed.Ride quality erred on the slightly harder side but not to the point it was ever uncomfortable. There was a slight difference in rebound between front and rear, with the back end just barely noticeably softer. The usual freeway undulations became smoother, unsettled tarmac was flattened, and even corrugations in the gravel were found to be nowhere as intrusive as anticipated. Handling itself is a delight as the steering ratio is calibrated to quicken up left and right the further you go. Sideways movement is rapid with no sense of mass working against the suspension and the brakes grab and haul the Discovery Sport up time and again with no apparent fading.Inside it’s familiar territory for anyone that’s a fan of Land Rover, Range Rover, or Jaguar. Clean, simple, ergonomically laid out cabin design bar having the window switches mounted up high near the window glass is what you’ll see. The leather seats are heated and they do take somewhat too long to get warmth into them. However, the steering wheel is also heated and this came in very handy during a cold snap in the time A Wheel Thing had the Discovery Sport.Each door sill has a glowing blue Discovery logo and there’s also adjustable LED lighting inside. Rear seat leg room is ok without being overly generous but there’s plenty of head and shoulder room to balance that. Behind the rear seat passengers, who also get heated seats, there’s also enough cargo space for a family of four…or some “golf bats” as they’ve been whimsically called by a certain TV host. Consider nearly 1700 litres with the seats folded accessed via the powered tail gate. All of this sits under a full glass roof with translucent blind.The dash is elegant in its simplicity; there’s a pair of dials in the binnacle with a small multifunction LCD screen in between plus a larger 12 inch touchscreen split into four quarters for navigation, sound, phone and extra information. It’s cleanly laid out and user friendly in its….user friendliness. It sits above a simple to use air conditioning control set of controls which show on the touchscreen when in operation and they sit above the drive mode buttons.It’s here that the Discovery Sport’s off road credentials are shown. There’s settings for Snow, Grass, Mud, Gravel and each have their own subtly discernible differences. The gravel tracks the Disco was driven on were dry, mostly flat, with enough corrugations and irregularities in sections to test the ability and agility and it didn’t disappoint. Long sweepers have the nose tucking in, the traction control gently nudging the rear back into line, and the suspension working in sync with the electronics to provide a truly premium feel off road. Should Sir wish to go swimming, there’s 600 mm of wading depth available, accessible via the 23.4 degree and 31 degree approach and departure angles.Combined with the new design ethos from the British brand, with elegant curves and a bold stance, a wedge look in profile, a blade style C pillar, and an assertive bluff front balanced by LED circles front and rear, it carries more presence than the 4.6 metre length would suggest. Perhaps it’s the 1724 mm height or the 2000 mm plus width, with the 245/45 Continental tyres on black painted 20 inch diameter wheels lending their look to the overall presence.Naturally there’s an almost bewildering combination of models and trim levels to choose from, along with a solid range of options, such as the Black Design Pack, the Graphite Design Pack (dark grey wheels, grille, roof colour and a choice of wheel sizes) plus a full suite of airbags and driving aids.At The End of The Drive.
Land Rover and Range Rover have just released new models, with the former a revamped Discovery and the latter the Velar. Sister brand Jaguar has also unveiled the XF Sportbrake. It’s a busy time for the three brands, and when there’s vehicles of the calibre of the Discovery Sport to choose from, it’s a good sign for the three.
Economy aside for the test car, it was a shining example of what Land Rover provide. It’s comfortable, well equipped, a more than competent driver on and off road, looks great, and has real presence. With a starting price of mid sixty thousand plus on roads, it also represents great value. Here’s where you’ll find all you need to know: 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

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