Driving position and dashboard
The broad driver’s seat is extremely comfortable, although you do have to adjust it manually if you opt for the entry-level trim. The posher trims have fully electric adjustment for everything bar the headrest.
The cushioned lid of the raised centre cubby doubles as a well-placed armrest and the dashboard is easy to figure out. Although there are physical dials to adjust the temperature of the climate control and engage the off-road modes, changing settings such as the fan speed or driving mode requires you to press touch-sensitive buttons that are more fiddly to use on the move.
On the top two trims, the analogue instrument dials behind the steering wheel are replaced by an ‘interactive driver display’. This is a crisp digital screen that displays information such as music tracks or sat-nav mapping alongside the usual speed and engine data. It’s intuitive to use and prevents you from spending long periods of time with your eyes off the road when following navigation instructions, but isn't as configurable as an Audi Q5's similar Virtual Cockpit system.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The Discovery Sport’s chunky door mirrors give you a good rearward view but can obstruct forward visibility at junctions. There’s also a blindspot when looking over your shoulder; you'll need to bear this in mind when changing lanes, especially if you haven't got the blindspot monitoring system (more about which in the safety section on the next page).
All Discovery Sports come with front and rear parking sensors plus a reversing camera as standard. Also available are a 360deg ‘birds-eye-view’ monitor, a camera that replaces the rear-view mirror and a feature called ClearSight Ground View, which projects a view of the ground beneath the front of the car onto the touchscreen to help when tackling off-road trails.
LED headlights are standard across the range, but go for SE trim or above and you’ll get upgraded ‘Premium’ versions that use twice as many diodes, allowing you to see in greater detail in the dark.
Sat nav and infotainment
The infotainment system is largely the same as the one in the Range Rover Evoque; its 10.0in touchscreen is sharp, though, and you get plenty of connectivity, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring on all but the entry-level trim. This means you can use smartphone apps, such as Google Maps, via the touchscreen.
True, the screen can sometimes be a bit sluggish to respond to prods, and its operating system isn’t as intuitive as the BMW X3's (BMW's iDrive rotary controller interface is much easier to use on the move), but it’s still one of the better systems in the large SUV class. If specified, information from the main infotainment system can be displayed on the Interactive Driver Display that we mentioned above.
Optional extras include various sound system upgrades. You can even have a digital TV.
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. Yes, there are scratchier plastics lower down the dashboard and doors, but you certainly wouldn't call it spartan.
It doesn’t feel quite as solidly built or well finished inside as some of its German rivals, in particular the Q5 and X3, but is a lot better screwed together than the flimsy Mercedes GLC. However, the Discovery Sport is plusher inside than most of the mainstream seven-seat SUV competition, including the Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq. In short, it lives up to its premium billing.