The cheapest and most efficient Discovery Sport comes with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine. It’s badged E-Capability and has four-wheel drive, but you can’t have an automatic gearbox or seven seats – even if you’re prepared to pay extra.
The performance of this model also leaves a little to be desired, so we’d opt for the stronger 177bhp version. It's available with a six-speed manual gearbox, but while this has a slick shift, the nine-speed automatic alternative is worth the extra because it suits the Sport’s laid-back driving character better.
Even with the 177bhp engine, straight-line performance isn’t sparkling compared with, say, a BMW X3, but there’s enough urgency from low revs. What's more, this engine is pretty refined; there’s a small amount of vibration through the controls but less diesel clatter than you’d hear in the X3.
Elsewhere, the Discovery Sport's door mirrors whip up some wind noise on the motorway, and there’s some road noise, but only the Audi Q5 is noticeably quieter at speed.
There is quite a lot of body lean in the Discovery Sport. As a result, it feels a bit sloppy on fast, country roads. Fortunately, it grips well and has reassuringly precise steering, so it feels composed in most situations.
All models come with Terrain Response, a system that allows the driver to select a four-wheel-drive mode suitable for tricky surfaces such as grass, ruts and sand. It means the Sport should be better off-road than just about anything else at the price. And the automatic 177bhp version will tow 2.2 tonnes.
Things can get a touch bumpy around town, particularly in models fitted with larger alloy wheels than the standard 18in items. However, the Discovery Sport deals with speed bumps well and the ride smoothes out at higher speeds, making it an especially easy-going motorway cruiser. There are also clever suspension options, such as adaptive dampers, available.