The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport is different from the outgoing Freelander in many ways. Most notable of all, however, is the addition of two seats in the boot, which turns it into a seven-seater.
This means that buyers will be considering a different set of cars alongside the new Discovery Sport. These are the best SUVs and MPVs that Land Rover will have to tempt buyers away from.
The Discovery Sport starts at £32,395 for the initial launch editions, and this will come down when the new engines and 2WD variants are launched later in 2015.
For those that are considering the Land Rover Discovery Sport for its seven-seat ability first and foremost, the Seat Alhambra is a very worthwhile car to look at as well. If you want to carry seven adults it is the best all-round car for the job.
It is incredibly spacious, practical and even adults will be able to travel in the third row without too many problems. It is just as good to drive as its Volkswagen Sharan equivalent, but it is cheaper to buy so represents better value for money.
The only downsides are its size – it is a large car and this will be evident around town – and its lack of off-road ability, which the Discovery Sport will offer.
Pick of the Seat Alhambra range: 2.0 TDI 140 SE
Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe doesn't have the badge appeal of Land Rover, but it packs in a whole load of practicality.
It gets loads of equipment, is impressively fuel-efficient for such a large vehicle and comes with a reassuring five-year warranty. For those that want the practicality but not the off-road nature of an SUV, there is a 2WD version that is around £1400 cheaper and adds a few more miles to the gallon in fuel economy.
Pick of the Hyundai Santa Fe range: 2.2 CRDi Style 4WD 7st
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
Not only does the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso have seven seats, the cabin is really well thought out. The seats in the middle row slide back and forward individually, and they clamshell forward to allow easy access to the two seats in the back.
The big Citroen has about the best visibility of any MPV, with a large amount of glass around the front of the car, making it easy to see out. Our main quibble with it is how you control most of the functions in the cabin – you have to do most of it through the touch-screen, and it is a bit fiddly.
Pick of the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso range: 1.6 e-HDi 115 Exclusive
If you're considering the Land Rover for its badge, SUV styling and its off-road ability, then seven seats might not be a requirement. The BMW X3 is one of the best of the current crop of large luxurious SUVs.
It’s classy, practical and great to drive. We’d pick the strong and economical 2.0-litre diesel engine, and combine it with BMW’s super-slick eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s quiet on motorways and agile on the back roads, with a good chassis that blends impressive ride comfort with taut handling. The cabin is spacious for four.
Pick of the BMW X3 range: xDrive20d SE auto
The Mazda CX-5 has one of the most impressive engines of any car in this class. Its 2.2-litre Skyactiv diesel engine is strong, refined and impressively efficient, emitting just 119g/km of CO2.
It’s well equipped and extremely practical, with plenty of space for passengers and a large, versatile boot. Even some noticeable road noise and dull interior plastics can’t detract from the CX-5’s overall desirability.
Pick of the Mazda CX-5 range: 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 SE-L
The Audi Q5 has been snapping at the heels of the X3 for years. It’s an impressive car, with generous passenger space and a good-sized boot. It’s well built, good to drive and, if you pick the strong 2.0-litre diesel engines, reasonably economical to run, too. Only a firm ride lets the car down.
Pick of the Audi Q3 range: 2.0 TDI 177 quattro SE
The new Volvo XC90 is set to head upwards in price over the current car, so it will compete with the higher trims and engines in the Discovery Sport, when they are added to the range.
Our initial inspection of the new XC90 suggest that, as with the Discovery Sport, the rearmost seats are for occasional use only. In the XC90, Volvo says they are designed for people up to 5ft 7in tall, but they can take a pair of child seats so long as you hold them in place with a seatbelt – there are no Isofix points.
Read more about the new Volvo XC90 here