This is the all-new Land Rover Discovery Sport and it combines a premium interior, with a huge dollop of practicality and a go-anywhere approach to travel.
The new 4×4 is now the entry-level model into Discovery ownership (the Freelander has ceased production) and is smaller than the all-new Discovery due to go on sale later in 2016.
Its design will be familiar to those who know the Range Rover Evoque, a compact 4×4 that has been a real sales success for Land Rover.
It’s a major departure from the more practicality-focused Freelander and exhibits a much more dynamic look and feel. It will provide an alternative choice to customers considering an Audi Q5 or BMW X3.
Premium interior for seven
Land Rover has revealed that the Discovery Sport has a more compact footprint than most traditional five-seat 4x4s, but has an extra pair of seats for occasional passengers as standard.
The fit and finish is really premium too, with the front dashboard featuring an eight-inch touchscreen in the centre and plush quality materials used throughout the cabin.
Engines old and new
It will be initially launched with the diesel engine currently used in the Freelander, which will deliver a claimed average of 46mpg. This will be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox or a nine-speed automatic, along with four-wheel drive.
Later on in 2015 there will be a new much more fuel-efficient version called the eD4 that emits just 119g/km of CO2, up to 61mpg on average and features two-wheel drive, and this is likely to feature as the entry-level model priced at just under £30,000. Rumour is that 2016 will see all-new, more fuel efficient engines fitted in the Discovery Sport.
On road agility and off-road ability
It’s a natty phrase that Land Rover believes underlines the fact the Discovery Sport will be as capable off-road as you would expect of a vehicle carrying the green logo, while providing a great drive on tarmac.
It uses Land Rover’s Terrain Response system as standard, which makes it easy for a driver to select the right set-up for different conditions under tyre including Snow, Mud and Sand. There’s also a suite of electronic systems to aid off-road including Hill Descent Control, Traction Control and Stability Control. Tested in very tricky off-road conditions the Discovery Sport inspires driver confidence and proves extremely capable.
New driver aids
The new Discovery Sport also features a phalanx of driver aids including automatic emergency braking which helps avoid an accident in low speed traffic and helps mitigate a collision at higher speed.
Other driver aids introduced onto the Discovery Sport include traffic sign recognition, parking assist (helps steers the car into a parking space), lane departure warning and front and rear parking sensors.
In-car entertainment and smart phone connection
There is a new eight-inch touch screen mounted in the central dash that controls the car’s entertainment and information functions such as audio and sat nav.
It also allows the driver or passengers to connect their smart phone to the car via a USB port. The touch screen then acts as an extension of the smart phone enabling the user to access various apps set up for the car including parking and sat nav by utilising Land Rovers’s InControl Remote.