Earlier this year Land Rover Ireland launched its all-new Discovery Sport, which was to be the first new member of the Discovery family. For me after owning three Discovery’s this was a brave move for Land Rover because I believed the rugged versatility of the regular Discovery never needed a slightly softer sibling wearing a Sport badge. Essentially this came about after Land Rover opted to drop the Freelander badge, which was first seen in 1997, and instead extend the Discovery family with a new Sport based on a stretched Evoque platform. At Land Rover’s recent 65th anniversary celebrations, global brand director John Edwards made a point of telling journalists that the company was now based on “three iconic brands: Range Rover, Discovery and Defender”. With this in mind the company aim to sell families within each of these categories.
The new Discovery Sport features 5+2 seating and has an adaptable load-space. Customers can choose from two engine configurations, both variants utilise a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, the entry-level price starts at €37,100 for the TD4 model producing 150hp, while the SD4 variant that has 190hp is priced from €41,780 and it’s the model we currently have on test. Later this year Land Rover will introduce a new 2.0-litre ED4 turbodiesel engine with CO2 emissions of 119g/km. All Discovery Sports come equipped with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with a nine-speed ZF automatic transmission available optionally. There are four trim lines to choose from, S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury. Our test vehicle has the SE trim but even the standard range of equipment is extensive with Land Rover’s new infotainment system, complete with an 8-inch screen.
Off road fans will be delighted to know the Discovery badge has been done justice with the addition of Land Rover’s Terrain Response System fitted as standard. This means you get four settings for driving on and off-road and during our time with the SD4 we did indeed get to do some off-road driving around the Blessington lakes. The Discovery Sport is a competent machine and can wade through 600 millimetres of water. Rough mud trails, sharp inclines and steep descents are dealt with in typical Land Rover fashion and the Discovery Sport does nothing but impress. On the safety side this premium compact SUV not only has the usual plethora of airbags but also a pedestrian airbag, which deploys below the windscreen. This unique system helped the Sport claim 5 stars in its Euro NCAP test.
So far we have been driving the Discovery for the last few days and found it very impressive. It has impeccable road manners not just on the motorway but also on twisty back roads. It feels responsive with bags of power in normal mode let alone Sport and the gearbox is silky smooth. Inside it’s a graceful place to be with a luxurious feel and superb visibility with every head turn. Yesterday it was my turn to take the crew out for lunch and all occupants admired the high comfort level although we never tried to use the rear-most two seats as they really are only for children. At the time of writing we have the weekend to spend in the Discovery and right now I find myself considering places to go or people to visit. Such is the comfort and reward in driving the Discovery Sport we are dreading giving the keys back. For more information please drop into your local Land Rover dealer or see the range in action at the upcoming National Ploughing Championships. You wont be disappointed.
Engine Size – 2.2 Litre TurboCharged
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 190hp
Torque – 420Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) – 8.9 seconds
Top Speed – 188 km/h
Consumption (Combined) – 6.3L/100km
CO2 Emissions – 166 g/km
Road Tax – €570
Base Price – €37,100
Price as Tested – €51,845