Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Even very tall drivers won’t feel cramped in the Discovery Sport. There's plenty of leg room and head room is among the best in the class – even if you add the optional panoramic glass roof, which has the effect of lowering the ceiling slightly, it's still fine. It's not as wide in the front as some of its rivals, though, such as the Kia Sorento.
A deep cubby between the front seats houses the 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. Meanwhile, the door pockets are massive – large enough to 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.
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 (thus 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 masses of head room 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 small children or particularly petite adults – even our most compact 5ft 3in tester still felt pinched. Head room 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 isn't great as the wheel arch juts into the gap passengers have to squeeze through to get in or out.
Still, this is one of the few premium-badged cars of this size to offer seven seats, the Mercedes GLB being a notable exception. If you’re willing to go non-premium, the Peugeot 5008, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento have more spacious third rows.
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.
Pull a lever – low down on the side of the outer seats of the second row – and the outer seats spring forward giving access to the third row (if fitted). However, they don't return to their original position automatically; instead, they remain set further forward to free up leg room behind.
The third-row seats are easy to use and folded away into the boot floor when they aren’t needed, leaving the space free for luggage. Seven seats aren’t available on plug-in hybrid P300e models.
The boot lip sits flush with the boot floor, making it easy to lug heavy items into the back of the Discovery Sport. In five-seat versions, or with the third row folded down in seven-seat versions, the boot is larger than that of many rivals but it's not the biggest – in our tests the Q5, Santa Fe, Sorento and 5008 all fitted more carry-on suitcases (below their parcel shelf) than the Discovery Sport. Still, it fitted eight cases, which plenty big enough for most families’ needs. An electric tailgate is standard on SE trim and above.
On the downside, when all the seven seats are in use there's room left over for only a few shopping bags, and there’s no under-floor storage, even to stow the tonneau cover – something you’ll need to do before using the sixth and seventh seats. We’d also point out that P300e plug-ins have a slightly reduced boot capacity, by around one carry-on suitcase.
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