Driving

Land Rover Discovery Sport review

Manufacturer price from:£30,145
What Car? Target Price:£28,223
Search new deals
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Review continues below...

In this review

Driving

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

Land Rover Discovery Sport 4x4 performance

The cheapest and most efficient Discovery Sport comes with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, badged E-Capability. It’s offered with a choice of two or four-wheel drive, but no automatic gearbox or seven-seat option.

Even if that combination works for you, the E-Capability’s lacklustre performance leaves a lot to be desired. We’d opt for the 178bhp version of the same engine instead. You can have this with a six-speed manual gearbox or, better still, the more fitting nine-speed automatic.

While the auto can prove a bit slow to respond off the line and during kickdown, with nine gears to the manual’s six it makes better use of the engine’s extra low and mid-range power. That makes for usable everyday performance, but it’s not quick and is certainly no match for an Audi Q5 2.0 TDI 190 or BMW X3 20d in straight-line pace.

To keep up with those, you need to move up to the 237bhp 2.0-litre diesel. This comes with the auto 'box as standard and whisks the Discovery Sport from 0-60mph in just 7.1sec, giving you a nice turn of speed and edging it just ahead of those aforementioned rivals. However, while it is much livelier, after factoring in running costs we’d still stick with the 178bhp diesel, unless that extra oomph really counts for you.

Finally, there are the two 2.0-litre petrols, with either 237bhp or 286bhp, and both are automatic. While they are unlikely to be most people’s first choice, they do offer brisk performance at the expense of pretty hefty fuel economy.

If you tow a caravan or trailer, the 178bhp and 237bhp diesels will pull 2.2 tonnes, while the vast majority of Discovery Sports will pull 2.0 tonnes.

Land Rover Discovery Sport 4x4 ride

The Discovery Sport deals with speed bumps well and rides smoothly at higher speeds, especially on the motorway. Clever adaptive dampers (called Adaptive Dynamics) are available as an option, but there's really no need to bother spending the extra.

Things can get a touch bumpy around town, though. Expansion joints and worn surfaces unsettle the suspension a little – a problem that is exacerbated by fitting alloys larger than the 18in rims that come as standard with SE and SE Tech trims. The 20in wheels are certainly best avoided.

For the best comfort in this class, we'd suggest looking at the Q5 with optional air suspension fitted or, at the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Peugeot 5008 smooths away bumps pretty well, too.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery Sport 4x4 handling

There is a fair amount of body lean when cornering in the Discovery Sport. As a result, it feels a bit sloppy along twisting, country roads compared with an Q5, X3 or Jaguar F-Pace. Fortunately, though, the Discovery Sport has plenty of grip, so it does actually hold the road well. And with reassuringly precise steering, it gives you plenty of confidence and control.

All four-wheel-drive models come with Terrain Response, a system that allows the driver to select from a variety of drive modes tailored to different surfaces, such as grass, mud and sand. It means the Discovery Sport is better off road than just about anything else in this price bracket.

Land Rover Discovery Sport 4x4 refinement

The 2.0-litre diesel engines are reasonably hushed at speed but far from the class best under acceleration, when you feel some vibration through the controls and hear a degree of diesel clatter. For the slickest motors in the class, try the excellent Q5 2.0 TDI 190 or X3 20d, which isn't far behind the Audi for manners.

Both the Q5 and X3 are considerably quieter than the Discovery Sport in other respects, too. Its door mirrors whip up a lot more wind noise on the motorway and there’s more road noise to contend with as well, although neither issue could be defined as unruly.

Meanwhile, the nine-speed automatic gearbox is so smooth that most shifts go unnoticed. It’s often hesitant when you’re pulling away from a standstill or onto roundabouts, though – something that isn't ideal. The manual gearshift isn't bad, but the auto 'box is much better suited to the Discovery Sport’s laid-back driving character.

 

open the gallery4 Images
There are 8 trims available for the Discovery Sport 4x4. Click to see details.See all versions
Pure
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£28,223
Average Saving £1,922
View Trim
SE
Has all the critical features including 18in alloys, part-leather upholstery, heated front seats and windscreen, rear parking sensors, a multi-function steering wheel and climate control. It also h...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£28,587
Average Saving £1,948
View Trim
SE Tech
This is the pick of the range and features sat-nav, a powered tailgate and front parking sensors on top of the standard SE features. However, you still don’t get full leather seats or xenon headlig...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£30,256
Average Saving £2,064
View Trim
HSE
A big price jump from SE Tech, but you do get a panoramic glass roof, 19in alloys, full leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats, a rear-view camera, an upgraded sound system with su...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£33,206
Average Saving £2,269
View Trim
Landmark
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£37,448
Average Saving £2,542
View Trim
HSE Luxury
Everything you could want including 20in wheels, styling upgrades, an automatic parking system, even more seat adjustment for the front seats, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, USB...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£42,917
Average Saving £2,893
View Trim
HSE Dynamic Lux
As per the HSE Luxury, but with heaps of styling tweaks. This trim is available only with the 180 auto and is far too pricey for us to recommend....View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£45,885
Average Saving £3,100
View Trim
HSE Dynamic Luxury
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£45,885
Average Saving £3,100
View Trim