Land Rover Discovery Sport review

Category: Large SUV

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:diesel, hybrid, petrol
Available colours:
Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 infotainment
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  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 front tracking
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 dashboard
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 rear seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 infotainment
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 front cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 left panning
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 rear tracking
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 front seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 front seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 front tracking
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 dashboard
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 rear seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 infotainment
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 front cornering
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 left panning
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 rear tracking
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 front seats
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 front seats
RRP £31,915What Car? Target Price from£30,192
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Discovery Sport is priced competitively against five-seat, premium rivals, such as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, which are both less versatile in terms of passenger accommodation. However, it looks rather expensive when you compare it with mainstream rivals, such as the Honda CR-V, Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq.  Still, if you’re willing to pay the premium for the Discovery Sport’s upmarket image, you can rest assured that it should depreciate quite slowly, thanks in part to that premium badge. This also means it’s reasonably cheap on a PCP finance deal.

All versions with an automatic gearbox use mild hybrid technology. In essence, these use a battery that can power the car’s ancillaries (the air conditioning, power steering and so on), allowing the engine to be switched off when decelerating, to save fuel. Even with that tech, though, fuel economy is disappointing – the official fuel consumption of the D200 diesel is 41.4mpg, which is worse than most rivals, and in our real-world test the P200 petrol managed just over 25mpg. As a reference, the CR-V Hybrid hit over 45mpg.

The P300e plug-in hybrid offers the best claimed fuel economy and if you can make use of its electric range for commuting then it'll be jolly cheap to run. It also has the lowest emissions by far; enough to make it a tempting choice for company car users.

Equipment, options and extras

Before you get as far as choosing a trim level, You have to choose whether to go for the regular Discovery Sport or the R-Dynamic version; the latter simply adds sportier styling touches, including different front and rear bumper designs, but is exactly the same car underneath. Both versions come with a hefty equipment list that includes dual-zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, 17in alloy wheels (18in on R-Dynamic), ambient interior lighting, dual-zone climate control, a heated windscreen, and 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 we've already talked about. 

You then have the choice of moving up to S, SE or HSE specifications. We reckon S makes the most sense, because it keeps the alloy wheel size a more sensible 18in for a comfortable ride, yet still gives you electrically adjusted, heated front seats, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror, power-folding door mirrors and leather upholstery (although you can choose a synthetic alternative for no extra charge).

SE and HSE trims bring increasingly bigger wheels and more standard luxuries, such as the interactive driver display behind the steering wheel, a powered tailgate, improved sound system and the digital rear-view mirror, but also push up the price considerably. We wouldn't bother with the pricey Black trim that's available only with the P290 petrol engine, either.

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2020 infotainment

Reliability

Reliability really isn’t a Land Rover strength. The British brand came bottom (out of 31 manufacturers) in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, with the Discovery Sport shown to be one of the least dependable cars in its class. The best include the Toyota RAV4 and CR-V. 

A three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, which also includes UK and European roadside assistance, should help provide some peace of mind. This is about par for the class, although if you’re prepared to forgo a premium badge, the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento come with five and a class-leading seven-year warranty respectively.

Safety and security

The Discovery Sport once set the standard for safety in this class and received the full five stars from Euro NCAP back in 2014. However, it should be noted that the tests are far more stringent today than they were back then. 

Automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance are standard across the range. Traffic sign recognition, which displays the speed limit on the dashboard, is also standard on all but the entry-level trim, while blindspot monitoring is fitted from SE trim and up. The two outer second-row seats and the front passenger seat all have Isofix mounting points for child seats and booster cushions.

All models come with an alarm as standard and you can even add a GPS tracker, to help recover your Discovery Sport if it does get stolen.

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Overview

The Discovery Sport, especially in seven-seat form, is far more practical and family-friendly than rivals such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, which is why it's one of our favourite large SUVs. Those German alternatives are ultimately more comfortable, nimbler and fuel-efficient, though, while you can get even more space for less with the excellent Peugeot 5008.

  • Lots of passenger space
  • Flexible seven-seat capability
  • Lengthy equipment list
  • Terrible reliability
  • Compromised ride comfort on larger wheels
  • So-so performance
  • Poor fuel economy and CO2 emissions

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