New Land Rover Discovery Sport & Mercedes GLC vs Audi Q5
The Land Rover Discovery Sport lost its seat to the Audi Q5 in the 2017 election of posh large SUVs. Can it regain its place with major changes of policy? A previous outsider with a similar plan...
Buying and owning
Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security
Although the Q5 has the richest list price, it actually undercuts the Discovery Sport after you factor in discounts. Even so, the GLC is the cheapest and the only one not to attract the road tax surcharge for cars costing more than £40,000.
As for PCP finance, the GLC is cheapest (over three years with a £4300 deposit and an annual limit of 10,000 miles), at £480 per month. The Q5 costs a still-reasonable £502, while the Discovery Sport asks a hefty £585.
Of course, we also need to factor in efficiency. The GLC managed very nearly 40mpg on our tightly controlled test route, making it the cheapest to run for private buyers, while the Q5 scored a respectable 37mpg. The Discovery Sport? Well, even with mild hybrid assistance, it did a disappointing 33.6mpg.
Slower depreciation and far cheaper servicing mean the Q5 is only around £200 costlier than the GLC to run over three years. The Discovery Sport holds onto its value the best but will still drain an additional £1400 from your bank balance, due to its greater thirst and higher purchase price.
For company car drivers, the GLC presents the lowest benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bills; the Discovery Sport costs £63 more and the Q5 £70 more per month for 40% taxpayers.
What about toys? Well, the Q5 and Discovery Sport are hard to separate. There are few basics missing from the GLC, but you can’t add them as options; instead, you have to jump up a trim level or two. Each car gets automatic emergency braking; the Discovery Sport adds blindspot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance.
Although Euro NCAP has tested all three of these cars, it did so several years apart. Because it regularly raises its standards, this makes comparing the cars tricky, but each got the full five stars.
Also note that while the Q5 and GLC are average for reliability, the Discovery Sport is one of the least trustworthy large SUVs around.