New Land Rover Discovery Sport vs used Audi Q7

Shopping for an upmarket seven-seat SUV for around £40,000? A new Discovery Sport may be tempting – but so is a used Q7. Time to see which is the better buy...

New Land Rover Discovery Sport vs used Audi Q7

The contenders

NEW Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0 D180 AWD HSE

List price £46,800
Target Price £43,412

Much improved after a 2019 facelift, and generously equipped in this range-topping trim.


USED Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 272 S line quattro

Used price £40,000
Age 2018/18-plate

Unbeatable in its day, this two-year-old Q7 benefits from a powerful V6 engine and is now more affordable.


Time waits for no man. Or, more accurately, time waits for no man, woman, beast nor machine; it isn’t discriminatory. So, in this battle of new versus used, we’re pitting a 2018 Audi Q7, which in its day racked up the most points of any car we’ve ever tested, against a brand new Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Has time looked favourably on the Q7? Does it still have what it takes to usurp the heavily updated Discovery Sport that arrived only last year? As they say, time will tell.

Land Rover Discover Sport rear cornering - 69-plate car

What are the specifics? Well, this Discovery Sport is our favourite version: the D180 with a 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine. It’s tested here in top-level HSE trim. Meanwhile, the Q7 comes with a 268bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel, and it’s in the most popular S line trim. Both cars feature four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox.


Driving

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

The Discovery Sport hits 60mph from a standstill in a little over 10 seconds. That doesn’t sound especially sprightly, granted, but in the real world it’s no slouch. Whether you’re ambling around town or building speed steadily to join a motorway, it has all the low-rev urge you’ll need.

The Q7 is rather more enthusiastic, though. Yes, it’s bigger and slightly heavier, but it accelerates with the conviction of a hot hatch. Mind you, that’s more of a Brucie Bonus, because it’s the extra muscle it musters between 30 and 70mph that’s invaluable if, for instance, you find yourself needing to overtake on a country road. The Q7 will dispense with slower-moving traffic with ease, whereas the Discovery Sport needs a bigger gap to execute the same manoeuvre.

Audi Q7 rear cornering - 67-plate car

That’s amplified somewhat by the Q7’s keener gearbox. It may have only eight gears to the Discovery Sport’s nine, but when you press the Q7’s accelerator, there’s barely any delay before it responds. In both scenarios, the Discovery Sport is more laboured, which can be frustrating.

The fact that you don’t need to work the Q7’s engine as hard to make good progress is one reason why you don’t hear it as much. And when you do stretch its legs, having two extra cylinders adds greatly to its smoothness; it purrs like a tickled tabby all the way to maximum revs. The Discovery Sport’s engine is hushed by four-cylinder standards, but it has a gruffer edge and feeds more vibrations through the controls.

Land Rover Discover Sport front cornering - 69-plate car

At motorway speeds, the Discovery Sport is quieter than most cars in its class, but you can tell the Q7 was more expensive to begin with by the remarkable way it isolates you from wind and road noise.

The same is true of its ride comfort – provided you can find a used Q7 with air suspension fitted (it was an option when new). On the standard setup, the Q7 feels a bit choppy, although it isn’t bad. But with the air suspension, you’ll be treated to one of the most sumptuous rides of any car. In its softest setting, it copes with pimply motorways just as brilliantly as it does speed bumps and potholes in town.

Once again, the Discovery Sport is outclassed, but only because the Q7 is so supreme. The Discovery Sport actually manages most surface imperfections very ably, even without the optional adaptive suspension (£815) fitted.

Audi Q7 front cornering - 67-plate car

The Discovery Sport’s steering is good – precise and easy to judge, despite being overly keen to self-centre – but there’s lots of body lean in corners and the car never feels all that gainly. But then, being a Land Rover, the Discovery Sport is set up to climb mountains too, so it’s the one to choose if you’re planning to do a lot of off-roading.

On the road, the Q7, despite its bulk, is more predictable and agile and can be hustled along winding roads at a surprising lick. It can also tow more: up to 3500kg (with air suspension), compared with 2200kg for the Discovery Sport


Next: What are they like inside? >>

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