They don't call it 'Disco' for nothing! The Land Rover Discovery range is one of the most sought-after product range in India. Cashing in on the success of the Freelander 2, Land Rover decided to replace it with the all-new Discovery Sport in the country. How different is the Discovery Sport from the Freelander 2 and what new it brings to the table, we find out in our Land Rover Discovery Sport test drive review!
If you think Evoque was the best looking machine that Land Rover had ever produced, you will be a bit shocked to see the Discovery Sport in the flesh. It not only imitates the Evoque design perfectly, but also eliminates few odd angles, making it look as posh as it can get. The traditional Land Rover honeycomb grille flanked with circular DRLs, perfectly fitted into the sharp headlamps and angular bonnet makes it look the best from the front angle.
The side profile has adventure DNA written all over the side profile, though it's not as aggressive as the Evoque and neither it has many straight lines as the Freelander. Like the front, the rear end also gets big Discovery lettering running across the boot lid. Blackened circular tail lamps, protruded spoiler and a thick chrome strip make it a much different, yet interesting rear end. Overall, the Discovery Sport is a catchy SUV that commands your attention from every angle.
The interiors of the Land Rover Discovery Sport reflect the Range Rover design language, making it much premium than the Freelander 2. The steering wheel feels nice to grab while the instrument cluster design is borrowed from the Evoque. The signature Range Rover pop-out gear selector, marks its debut in a Land Rover with the Discovery Sport and it does look super cool! The waterfall console, 8-inch display and top-quality material, make the cabin a rich and desirable place to be in.
Sadly, the cabin is not the USP of the Discovery Sport, but the third row seating is! The Discovery Sport comes with a 5+2 seating option, which is a first in this price range for the British brand. Now understand that it is not a proper 7-seater and the leg room is just enough to seat children in the third row. But then, it's an advantage over the Freelander! Apart from the third row, the first and second row seating is comfortable like any other Land Rover and seating 5 will not be an issue.
Engine, Performance and Gearbox
Land Rover offers the Discovery Sport in India with only a one engine coming in two states of tune. We drove the 2.2-litre motor which produces 150 PS and 400 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox with torque convertor developed by ZF. The other unit is the SD4 engine rated at 190 PS and 420 Nm, mated to the same gearbox.
Speaking of the TD4 motor, Land Rover has developed a really refined engine with minimal NVH levels. Push the throttle and you will realize that the engine is not aggressive at all, however the power delivery is very linear and you will like it once you drive it for a longer stretch. The gearbox is also very smooth and has a low gear ratios, to derive the maximum performance out of the Disco.
But then of course, there's an option to opt for the manual gears by using the pedal shifters. We tried our best to put the car out of the breath, but the Discovery Sport never felt like gasping and performed really well. However, we will still try to bring the best out of the SD4 motor, as and when we get a chance to put our hand on one!
Ride and Handling
You can't expect a Land Rover to handle and ride bad and the Discovery Sport hasn't disappointed us either. Take the Landie where ever you want, be it muddy terrain, hill top, gravel or slushy roads, the Discovery Sport shines in all the conditions. The SUV excelled on not only the rough terrains, but also at the usual test routes that we drive on! The handling is top notch and the steering gives you a good feedback.
There are four modes to choose from - grass, gravel, snow, mud and there’s a program for everything. We test drove the SUV on mud, gravel and grass, and the ride quality was brilliant thanks to adjustable dampers. We didn't feel much of the bumps on either of the surface. A couple of hill descent stunts also proved that it's difficult to beat a Land Rover when it comes to off-roading.
Features and Safety
Land Rover has given the Discovery Sport features like the adaptive xenon lamps, Meridian audio system, rear seat entertainment package and a panoramic roof on the top variant. Then there's features like tyre pressure monitoring system, cruise control, mood lighting and parking camera with park assist. In terms of the safety, the Discovery Sport comes with driver, passenger and curtain airbags, ABS, EBD, and other necessary features.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport has a lot of things going its way! It looks much posher than it actually costs (retailing at around Rs 46 Lac), comes with a third row seating option (5+2) and performs well both on and off the road. It also perfectly bridges the gap between the Freelander and the Evoque. If you are looking for a capable SUV with a brand name like Land Rover, look no further than the new Discovery Sport.