Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
All the regular Land Rover Discovery Sport engines come with mild-hybrid technology, and even the least expensive petrol (badged P200) has 197bhp. That might sound like plenty of poke, but it does take some revving to get up to outside-lane overtaking speeds. When we tested it, it managed 0-60mph in 9.9sec – not great when you consider that a hybrid Honda CR-V beats it by nearly two seconds.
The P250, with 247bhp, feels a fair bit brisker, with a claimed 0-62mph time of 7.3sec. We’ve yet to try the top 286bhp P290 variant, but that's likely to be expensive to run. There's also the entry-level D165 diesel and the more potent D200, which use Land Rover’s impressive mild-hybrid tech. The D200 is our preferred diesel option because it provides decent urge for getting up to speed – even with a full car – beating the D165 by two seconds in the 0-62mph dash. It also has the best towing capacity, up to 2500kg. That said, the Audi Q5 40 TDI is noticeably quicker than the quickest diesel Discovery Sport.
Suspension and ride comfort
Driving a Discovery Sport with super-sized 20 or 21in wheels on standard suspension can get a touch bumpy around town. Opting for smaller 18 and 19in wheels or selecting the comfort setting with the optional Adaptive Dynamics adjustable suspension system does help take the edge off that, but there are still less bumpy large SUVs, including the Toyota RAV4.
Of the conventional engines, the P200 sounds like a diesel at idle, but smoothes off with a few more revs. The nine-speed automatic gearbox is pretty abrupt, though, and is generally better paired with the additional pulling-power of the D165 and D200 diesel engines because fewer gear changes are required to maintain speed. The latter diesel 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 the Audi Q5 or BMW X3.
P200, D165, D200 and P330e models have a smooth mild-hybrid stop-start system that cuts and then restarts the engine almost without you noticing. More powerful P250 and P290 models don’t have this technology, and have a lumpier start stop system as a result that some may find irksome in heavy traffic.