The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a practical and comfy family SUV that’s available with seven seats. It’s incredible off-road, but the interior has some cheap-feeling materials
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a proper Jack of all trades: a seven-seat SUV that will swallow your family and its luggage, but with enough off-road ability to get across the kind of terrain that would stop many a 4×4 in its tracks.
It’s a handsome and stylish car, too, with those slim headlights and the swept-back windscreen making it look very sleek for a Land Rover. However, it isn’t quite as downright trendy and fashionable as the Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC.
The Land Rover’s interior looks good but doesn’t have quite the same sense of quality that you’ll find in the Audi or Mercedes. Not only do some of the materials feel relatively cheap, the standard infotainment system is rather dated. It’s certainly worth upgrading to the optional InControl Touch Pro system, which has a sharp and responsive screen, and gives the cabin a real high-tech lift – although it’s still not as good as the equivalent systems in alternative German SUVs.
On the other hand, there are no complaints about how easy it all is to use. Given the Land Rover Discovery Sport is a rough and tough off-roader, the chunky air-con controls suit it perfectly; and, as you sit even higher than in the Audi or Mercedes, you get a good view out and feel really secure.
Practicality is another big plus point, thanks to the Discovery Sport giving you the option of seven seats. Mind you, even Land Rover itself only refers to this as having ‘5+2’ seats, so you can’t expect it to be a full-on people-carrier. Still, the rearmost seats are big enough to take a couple of kids; and, although the boot is pretty small when you’re using all seven seats, if you fold down the third row of seats, you end up with a huge boot that is easy to load and will happily take lots of square boxes or enough luggage for a long family holiday.
If you do take the family away, all the stowage around the cabin will come in very handy. You get big doorbins and a decent glovebox, while there are a couple of cupholders and a deep cubby in the centre console.
If the Audi Q5 is a brogue, the Discovery Sport is a sturdy walking boot – it’s not as stylish, but it’ll cope a lot better on rough terrain
Despite what the name may suggest, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is not a particularly sporty car and not really suited to blasting across country, as it leans more in bends than an Audi Q5 when you’re going quickly. It’s also not that great around town, as you feel plenty of bumps in the road, but once you’re up above 30mph, it’s much more comfortable.
Overall, you’ll find it much more at home driving on the motorway – not least because the cabin is so quiet and you get a great view out of the windows, thanks to the high seating position.
Look in the rear-view mirror, however, and the view isn’t so good. The thick pillars either side of the back window mean you have to rely on rear parking sensors for most manoeuvres – thankfully they’re standard on SE models and above – and it’s well worth considering the £355 rear-view camera, given how big the Land Rover Discovery Sport is.
When it comes to the range of engines, again that ‘Sport’ name is rather misleading, as the acceleration is adequate rather than rapid. The best bet is the 180hp version of the 2.0-litre diesel – it’s available with seven seats and has the same fuel economy as the slower 150hp version of the same engine. Pick the automatic gearbox, too – it makes life a lot easier and takes some of the stress out of driving.
The added traction and reassurance of four-wheel drive is standard on all but the cheapest 150hp eD4 models, and a Land Rover without all-wheel-drive is like a quartz-powered Rolex – it just misses the point.
More reassurance comes in the shape of a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash-test score from 2014. And, although the tests themselves have got tougher since then, you do get automatic emergency braking as standard on all models to help reduce the chance of low-speed crashes – meaning that the Land Rover Discovery Sport is a safe, practical place for you and your family.