Land Rover Discovery Sport review

Category: Family SUV

The 2024 Discovery Sport offers plenty of luxury and practicality but isn't the best family SUV to drive

Land Rover Discovery Sport front cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport front cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport rear cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport dashboard
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport boot open
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport infotainment touchscreen
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport right driving
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport front right driving
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport front cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport left driving
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport rear left driving
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport rear cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport alloy wheel
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport badge detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport front seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport back seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport steering wheel detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport interior detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport seat detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport interior detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport front cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport rear cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport dashboard
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport boot open
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport infotainment touchscreen
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport right driving
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport front right driving
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport front cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport left driving
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport rear left driving
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport rear cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport alloy wheel
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport badge detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport front seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport back seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport steering wheel detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport interior detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport seat detail
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is an exception to the rule that a car with "sport" in its name must be a high-performance model – or at least have go-faster looks.

What this family SUV does do is offer a more compact and affordable alternative to the enormous Land Rover Discovery.

There’s plenty of room for five people, and all but the plug-in hybrid models can be had with a third row of seats for seven-seat practicality. On top of that it promises a plush interior, impressive towing capability and supreme off-road skills.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport competes with upmarket five-seat family SUVs – including the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Lexus NX – as well as the seven-seat Mercedes GLB. Meanwhile, the Kia Sorento and Peugeot 5008 come as seven-seaters as standard but cost less. Let's find out whether it's as impressive as those rivals...

Overview

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a practical and comfortable family load-lugger with a well-finished interior and the option of seven seats with most engines. The lower trim levels are competitively priced yet come with plenty of standard equipment. The D200 diesel engine with Dynamic SE trim makes the most sense for private buyers (there's a PHEV version that will be better for company car users, but it's not available as a seven-seater).

  • Lots of passenger space
  • Comfortable motorway ride
  • Lengthy equipment list
  • Terrible reliability record
  • Optional third-row seats are very cramped
  • Rivals are sharper to drive
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Our Pick

OurPicksRRP £48,365
Land-rover Discovery-sport 2.0 D200 Dynamic SE 5dr Auto [5 Seat] review
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Strengths

  • +Well-weighted steering
  • +Diesel offers great low-end power
  • +All engines are quiet at a cruise

Weaknesses

  • -PHEV has a poor electric range
  • -Ride is lumpy on standard suspension and big wheel
  • -Lots of body lean in corners

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The least-powerful engine for the Land Rover Discovery Sport is a 2.0-diesel (badged D165) with 161bhp. We haven’t driven it in the Discovery Sport but on paper it doesn’t have as much power as most big SUVs, and the 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds suggest it will feel pretty sluggish. It’s still capable of towing up to 2,200kg though.

Next up is the D200. It’s another 2.0-litre diesel option but with 197bhp it offers a useful amount of extra power over the D165 and covers 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds. The D200 offers plenty of low-down grunt, so it feels pleasingly punchy even when you’re travelling with a full car. Its relatively effortless performance and impressive 2,500kg towing capacity make it our pick of the engine range. Both diesel engines have mild-hybrid tech.

The other engine option for the Discovery Sport is the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version, the P270e. Under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre petrol engine that drives the front wheels while an electric motor drives the rears.

It’s the quickest version, coving 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds and can officially travel up to 39 electric-only miles, depending on the trim level. We’d expect more like 30 miles in real-world conditions. That’s similar to what you’ll see from a BMW X3 xDrive30e but much less than the very impressive 57 miles we achieved in a Mercedes GLC 300e (in real-world conditions).

Suspension and ride comfort

Driving a Discovery Sport with 20in wheels on standard suspension can get a touch bumpy around town. Opting for smaller 18in or 19in wheels, or selecting the Comfort setting with the optional Adaptive Dynamics adjustable suspension system helps take the edge off that, but there are still less bumpy family SUVs available, including the Lexus NX.

Land Rover Discovery Sport image
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The Discovery Sport floats and wallows more over undulating roads than the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3, although it never feels so loosely damped that it’ll make your passengers go a verdant shade. The ride improves on motorways, where it's quite a relaxing mile-muncher.

The P270e PHEV Discovery Sport feels a bit stiffer than the rest of the range. It’s noticeably lumpier and doesn’t control its body movements over dips and crests quite as well. The Lexus NX 450h is softer but more stable more of the time.

Land Rover Discovery Sport rear cornering

Handling

There's noticeable body lean when you corner with pace in the Discovery Sport, and with all-weather tyres fitted there's not a vast amount of grip. It's certainly not as keen to scythe through bends as an Audi Q5 or BMW X3, and never feels as agile along twisting country roads as a Jaguar F-Pace.

The steering is a little too quick given the car's ponderous nature, and it's overly keen to return to its straight-ahead position to feel completely natural at speed, although it is light around town.

All in all, the Discovery Sport feels rather disjointed if you try to drive it briskly and the heavier P270e PHEV version is even more compromised. What it lacks in on-road handling is more than made up for by its off-road capabilities though – four-wheel drive and hill descent control come as standard.

Noise and vibration

The P270e PHEV’s refinement is impressive. You’re aware from the background thrum that the engine has three cylinders – one fewer than the other Discovery Sport engines – but it doesn't sound coarse or transmit lots of vibration through the steering wheel. Indeed, it’s better than the Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV in that regard.

The switch between power sources is smooth, if sometimes a little slow. It’s certainly much better than on the Volvo XC40 PHEV but the Honda CR-V PHEV is better still.

The nine-speed automatic gearbox with the diesel engines can be pretty abrupt at low speeds but the shifts are slick and quick once you’re on the move.

Engine noise from the diesel engines blends into the background hum at motorway speeds, and is impressively smooth under hard acceleration. Road roar is very well contained in all versions, but you’ll hear more wind noise than you would in an Audi Q5 or BMW X3.

“The Discovery Sport has a plush ride at higher speeds, but with the optional 20in wheels fitted to our plug-in hybrid test car meant the ride was easily upset by bumps and potholes. Opting for smaller 18in or 19in wheels helps to eliminate this.” – Dan Jones, Reviewer

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Strengths

  • +Decent infotainment system
  • +Fantastic driving position
  • +Beautifully trimmed interior

Weaknesses

  • -Touch-sensitive buttons are quite fiddly

Driving position and dashboard

The driver’s seat in the Land Rover Discovery Sport is a little narrow but still very comfortable, and even entry-level S trim comes with 12-way electric adjustment and a memory function. Dynamic HSE trim has 14-way electric adjustment.

The cushioned lid of the raised centre cubby doubles as a well-placed armrest and the dashboard is easy to figure out.

On earlier Discovery Sports there were physical dials to adjust the climate control temperature and engage the off-road modes. Unfortunately, the latest version has moved all those functions on to one central infotainment touchscreen – as a result, changing the settings has become fiddlier and more distracting.

All versions have a 12.3in digital driver's display. It's a crisp screen that displays information such as music tracks and sat-nav mapping alongside speed and engine data. The menus are a bit fiddly but it does help keep your eyes nearer the road when you're following navigation instructions.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

The Discovery Sport’s chunky door mirrors can obstruct forward visibility at junctions and there’s also a blind-spot as you look over your shoulder. You'll need to bear that in mind when changing lanes, especially if you don't have the optional Driver Assist Pack, which introduces a blind-spot monitoring system (this is standard on Dynamic HSE models).

All versions come with front and rear parking sensors plus a surround-view camera, although it should be said that the specific towing view isn’t that helpful because it doesn't cover the tow hitch.

LED headlights are standard across the Discovery Sport range, but if you go for HSE trim they're upgraded to matrix LED units, which you can leave on full beam at all times without dazzling other drivers.

Land Rover Discovery Sport dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

The Discovery Sport uses the Pivi Pro infotainment system that also features in the Land Rover Defender and Range Rover Evoque. Its 11.4in touchscreen is sharp and you get plenty of connectivity features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. That means you can use smartphone navigation apps through the car’s touchscreen (although their instruction won't show on the driver's display, as they do when you use the built-in sat-nav).

All Discovery Sports come with the "connected" version of Pivi Pro, so you benefit from a voice control system, sat-nav and the ability to get ratings and reviews for destinations.

Without a separate screen to adjust the climate control and off-road driving modes it has quite a lot crammed into it so it takes a while to get used to knowing where certain features are hidden. At least the software is responsive to touch inputs. And while its operating system is not as intuitive as the one in the BMW X3 (and the BMW iDrive rotary controller interface is much easier to use on the move) it’s still one of the better systems in the family SUV class.

Quality

The interior of the Discovery Sport is characterised by plenty of plush, dense-feeling materials, well-damped rotary heating controls and classy touches, including brushed-metal trim. Lighter interior trim options (such as Oyster White suede/leather) can be chosen as standard to lift the ambience further.

It doesn’t, though, feel quite as solidly built or well-finished inside as some of its German rivals, in particular the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, but it's a lot better screwed together than the flimsier-feeling Mercedes GLC.

The Discovery Sport is plusher inside than many of the mainstream family SUV competition, including the Honda CR-V and Seat Tarraco. In short, it lives up to its premium billing.

“When it comes to interior quality, the Discovery Sport is very impressive. It has a high-quality feel inside, with an abundance of soft-touch materials and aluminium inserts. The driving position is nice and high, too, which means you have a good, commanding view of the road. ” – Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Strengths

  • +Decent rear head and leg room
  • +Reasonably sized boot
  • +Plenty of storage cubbies

Weaknesses

  • -No seven-seat option for the plug-in hybrid

Front space

Even very tall drivers won’t feel cramped in the Land Rover Discovery Sport. There's plenty of leg room, and the head room is among the best in the class. It's still fine even if you add the optional panoramic glass roof, which reduces head room slightly. It's not as wide in the front as the Kia Sorento though.

A deep cubby between the front seats houses USB sockets and is the ideal place to keep your phone out of sight, while the two cupholders placed behind the gear selector can hold large takeaway cups securely.

The door pockets are massive – large enough to each take a 750ml bottle – and the glovebox is big enough to hold items such as a windscreen scraper, a pair of sunnies and the car’s handbook.

Rear space

When the second-row seats are slid back as far as possible, anyone sitting on them is treated to masses of leg room. If you slide the seats all the way forward (enlarging the boot), taller adults will find their knees pressed against the front seatbacks, but you’re unlikely to need to do this very often.

There's also lots of head room in the back, and while it's not as broad in the second row as some of the competition, the three individual second-row seats are very comfortable.

By contrast, in versions with seven seats, the rearmost row is distinctly cramped and best suited to children or petite adults (even our most compact 5ft 3in tester felt pinched).

Head room right at the back of the car is tight, and while leg room isn't awful, a shallow footwell forces your knees up around your ears. It's also worth pointing out that access to the third-row seats isn't great because the wheelarch juts into the gap passengers squeeze through to get in.

Still, this is one of the few premium-badged cars of its size available as a seven seater (the Mercedes GLB being a notable exception). If you’re willing to go non-premium, look at the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Peugeot 5008 – they all have more spacious third rows.

Land Rover Discovery Sport boot open

Seat folding and flexibility

The second row of seats is split 40/20/40 and you can slide and recline each of the three seats independently.

When you pull a lever low down on the side of the outer seats of the second row, they spring forwards giving access to the third row (if fitted). They don't return to their original position automatically, staying further forward to free up leg room behind. 

The third-row seats are easy to use and fold away into the boot floor when not needed, leaving the space free for luggage. There's no seven-seat option available on the P270e PHEV model.

Boot space

The boot lip sits flush with the boot floor, making it easy to lug heavy items into the back of the Discovery Sport. An electric tailgate is standard on Dynamic SE trim and above.

In five-seat versions, or with the third row folded down in seven-seat versions, you get enough space for eight carry-on suitcases. In our tests, the Audi Q5, Kia Sorento and Peugeot 5008 all fitted more carry-on cases.

The P270e PHEV model has a slightly reduced boot capacity, but we still managed to squeeze in eight carry-on suitcases. For comparison, the Lexus NX 450h PHEV took seven cases. 

“Unlike other versions of the Discovery Sport, the plug-in hybrid isn't available with seven seats, due to its location of the battery, electric motor and fuel tank. Still, boot space is impressive, allowing us to fit eight carry-on suitcases under the tonneau cover.” – Lawrence Cheung, New Cars Editor

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Strengths

  • +Competitive on PCP finance
  • +Plenty of standard kit
  • +Slow predicted depreciation

Weaknesses

  • -Terrible reliability record
  • -PHEV is in higher BIK bracket than rivals

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is priced competitively against five-seat premium family SUV rivals such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 (which are both less versatile in terms of passenger accommodation). It looks rather expensive when you compare it with mainstream rivals such as the Peugeot 5008 and Kia Sorento but the Discovery Sport feels like a more expensive product and the jump in price from those alternatives might not be as high as you’d expect.

Plus, if you’re willing to pay the premium for the Discovery Sport’s upmarket image, you can rest assured that it should have quite slow depreciation thanks in part to that premium badge. That means there should find some competitive PCP offers on our Land Rover deals page.

Even with mild-hybrid tech the fuel economy from the diesels is nothing particularly special, with both the D165 and D200 offering an official 42mpg.

The P270e plug-in hybrid offers the best official fuel economy (but you’ll only get close to it on short journeys with a charged battery), and if you can make use of its electric range for commuting it could be cheaper to run. It also has the lowest emissions by far, which makes it a tempting choice as a company car. It's worth noting, though, that it sits in a higher benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax band than the Lexus NX and the Honda CR-V.

Equipment, options and extras

Every Discovery Sport model comes with a hefty equipment list, starting with S trim, which includes dual-zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, ambient interior lighting, heated and electrically adjustable front seats and a heated windscreen.

You also get a full roster of off-road systems, including Terrain Response to maximise traction, hill-descent control to get you down slopes safely and low-traction launch. That's on top of the infotainment, visibility and safety aids. 

Stepping up to Dynamic SE trim is worth it if you can, because it adds extras including a 12-speaker Meridian sound system, a powered tailgate, a panoramic roof and keyless entry.

Dynamic HSE gets goodies such as 20in wheels, heated and cooled front seats and matrix LED headlights, but its price is, shall we say, robust.

Whichever version you go for you’ll have to pay extra to have seven seats, but you'll have to have one of the diesel engines to get that option (not the PHEV petrol).

Land Rover Discovery Sport infotainment touchscreen

Reliability

Reliability really isn’t a Land Rover strength. The Discovery Sport finished one spot from the bottom in its class in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey whereas the Lexus NX – a superb alternative – was the most dependable family SUV on sale.

In the overall brand league table, Lexus ranked first, while Honda was sixth and Land Rover was down in 28th place out of 32 car companies. 

A three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, which also includes UK and European roadside assistance, should help provide some peace of mind. That's about par for the class, although the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento come with a five-year and seven-year warranty respectively.

Safety and security

The Discovery Sport, with its updated safety systems, received a five-star rating from Euro NCAP in 2022. 

In terms of safety technology, automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance and traffic-sign recognition (which displays the speed limit on the dashboard) are standard across the range. If you want blind-spot assistance and a rear-traffic monitor you’ll either need to step up to Dynamic HSE or select the optional Driver Assist Pack.

“One of the Discovery Sport's trump cards is its slow depreciation. Over three years, it should hold onto its value better than a Honda HR-V or Lexus NX, which makes it a significantly cheaper ownership proposition.” – Doug Revolta, Head of Video

FAQs

  • The Discovery Sport comes with five seats as standard but if you choose one of the diesel engines you can pay extra to have seven seats. For alternatives, see our best seven-seat cars page.

  • It's available with diesel mild-hybrid (MHEV) and petrol plug-in hybrid (PHEV) engines, but not as an electric car. If you're looking for an all-electric family SUV see our best electric SUVs page.

  • If you're a private buyer, our recommended version of the Discovery Sport is Dynamic SE trim with the D200 diesel engine. For the cheapest company car you'll be better off with the (five-seat only) P270e PHEV.

At a glance
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RRP price range £43,445 - £57,920
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)diesel, petrol parallel phev
MPG range across all versions 175.2 - 42.7
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,102 / £3,955
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,204 / £7,910
Available colours