Land Rover Discovery Sport Review & Prices
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is practical, comfortable and very capable off-road. The plug-in hybrid model is a good choice, but does lose the option of seven seats, and some rivals feel better-made
Find out more about the Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a rare thing – it’s a family SUV that really can go off-road if you need it to. And even if you don’t, it’s just nice to know you can – like knowing your flash watch could survive the Mariana Trench even if you rarely take a dip in the local swimming pool.
That said, the Discovery Sport still has all the advantages you get from less off-road-capable SUVs – such as a raised driving position and a practical interior. It’s also a smart-looking car and an update in 2023 added a slick new nose, scrolling indicators and a revised rear end to help keep it looking fresh next to alternatives such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC.
Work has also been done on the interior, where you’ll find a new infotainment system which is a big improvement on what went before, although we’re less sure about the fewer physical buttons — doing everything through the screen can be a bit of a faff.
What you can’t avoid is interior quality that’s not quite up to the mark in a car costing this much. Get up close and the shiny lower centre console reflects like a mirror and has flimsy controls, while the electric window buttons don’t sit neatly flush with the tops of the doors.
But you won’t complain about the interior space. The Discovery Sport has acres of headroom for four tall adults, even with the optional panoramic sunroof fitted, and you get a large boot.
One trick the Discovery Sport has up its sleeve is its third row of seats – of its posher alternatives, only the Mercedes GLB offers this
Hit the road and you’ll find the Discovery is a comfortable car to travel in. In town, it soaks up bumps well and that raised driving position helps with visibility, while its brilliant nine-speed automatic gearbox and light controls make it an easy car to manoeuvre. On the motorway it cruises comfortably and quietly.
The diesel and petrol engines come with mild-hybrid assistance, which helps to keep fuel consumption and emissions under control, but some will be tempted by the plug-in hybrid model which boasts a 38-mile electric-only range and has tiny official emissions figures (great if you’re buying a Discovery Sport as a company car). The downside? You can’t have seven seats in the plug-in hybrid because the battery takes up too much space.
If you need seven seats and decent economy, Land Rover still offers a 200hp 2.0-litre diesel engine, but while it will easily top 40mpg, it is on the noisy side.
When it comes to more spirited driving, the Discovery Sport rolls and wallows in corners that a BMW X3 feels completely at home in. But then, unlike the BMW, the Land Rover’s off-road ability means it can handle more than traversing a speed hump and, if you like the sound of that, its smart looks and spacious interior, you’ll likely be happy to put up with its patchy build quality.
Check out the latest Land Rover Discovery Sport deals and browse an extensive stock of used Discovery Sport models. You can also take a look at other used Land Rovers from our network of trusted dealers, and be sure to see how you can sell your car through carwow, too.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport has a RRP range of £44,790 to £57,850. However, with carwow you can save on average £2,024. Prices start at £43,043 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £543. The price of a used Land Rover Discovery Sport on carwow starts at £19,720.
Our most popular versions of the Land Rover Discovery Sport are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|2.0 D200 S 5dr Auto [5 Seat]||£43,043||Compare offers|
Land Rover tends to make expensive cars — especially now that it’s focusing on ever-pricier Range Rover and Defender models — but the basic Discovery Sport is still a relative bargain. You can get one with the 200hp diesel engine for around £3,000 less than the equivalent BMW X3, and around £9,000 less than a Mercedes GLC.
That said, the smaller Mercedes GLB is actually a good bit more affordable than the Discovery Sport. The Audi Q5 is about the same price as the BMW, so the Land Rover beats it by £3,000 or so, if we’re comparing diesel engines.
Even with the plug-in hybrid P300e engine, though, the Discovery Sport is still pretty reasonably priced, undercutting the equivalent Lexus NX by £4,000 and offering more space inside. The Lexus is considerably better-made, though.
Comfort is the Discovery Sport’s forte, and it’s easy to manoeuvre around town. The diesel engine is a bit too noisy on long runs, though
The Discovery Sport is very easy to drive in town, thanks to a high seating position that gives you a great view out. There’s a lot of glass around you — unlike some of the competition — although the rear window isn’t quite as big as you might like it to be. The turning circle is good for a roomy SUV, and there are optional all-round parking cameras which are very helpful when you’re trying to slot into a tight space, especially the optional see-through-bonnet camera, which helps you spot nasty kerbs and lumps. The relatively soft suspension means that the Discovery Sport soaks up urban bumps and lumps, and it’s generally a very relaxing car. The gearbox helps, blending easily and smoothly from one gear to the next.
If you’ve gone for the plug-in hybrid P300e version, then the Discovery Sport is even quieter and smoother, although running on electric power does tend to mean you notice more cabin squeaks and rattles than if you had the noise of a diesel engine to cover them up. There’s also an odd noise from the hybrid’s cooling system at times, which sounds as if someone is flushing a toilet under the bonnet…
On the motorway
That smooth gearbox is a little less good when you get the Discovery Sport up onto the motorway, as it can be a bit hesitant to kick-down, so it’s rather slow-witted when you need a quick burst of acceleration, such as when merging with fast-flowing traffic. It’s better than it used to be, but still a bit dim.
You also only get manual gearshift paddles, should you want them, if you go for the R-Design Sport model. The Discovery Sport’s long-range economy isn’t all that great either, but we’ll discuss that in more detail further down.
Overall refinement on a long journey is good, but the diesel engine can get too noisy at times and there’s a bit too much tyre noise. The soft suspension continues its good work here, making a lengthy run up the road pretty painless. The excellent front seats help, too.
On a twisty road
How would you sum-up the Discovery Sport’s twisty road performance? ‘Pretty decent’ seems to be about right. Surprisingly, given that soft suspension, there’s not too much body lean in corners, and there’s loads of grip thanks to the standard four-wheel drive setup. The steering is really nicely weighted and feels good, too. The only thing lacking, really, is the sense of sportiness that you’d get from the BMW X3.
Of course, the X3 can’t go off-road in the same manner as the Discovery Sport. The Land Rover may be based on a front-wheel drive platform, but the four-wheel drive versions are seriously capable if you want to head off into the wilderness. While it’s not as outright capable as the bigger Defender (how could it be?) we reckon you’ll run out of bravery before the Discovery Sport runs out of ability. If it’s been raining heavily, the Discovery Sport will, as standard, wade through standing water that’s around two-foot (60cm) deep.
The Discovery Sport has lots of storage space and plenty of room in the back seats. The boot is huge, too, but the optional third row seats are tiny
It’s a Land Rover, so you’ll be expecting the Discovery Sport to be practical and useful, and it doesn’t disappoint. Land Rover claims that there is 48 litres of storage space dotted around the cabin. You get two good-sized cupholders, which have different depths so your coffee cup doesn’t disappear. The cupholders even get a little blanking panel which fits on top. You can actually take out the section with the cupholders and that opens up a huge storage area which is partly covered by the front seat armrest.
You get massive door bins up front, big enough to hold a large flask of tea or coffee, and they’re rubberised at the bottom so there won’t be any rattles from keys or loose change. The glovebox is slightly disappointing — it’s okay, but no more than that.
Space in the back seats
The Discovery Sport is very comfy in the back, and it helps that the rear seats can slide back and forth as well as recline. There’s plenty of headroom, knee-room, and foot room for even very tall people. The middle rear seat is just about wide enough to fit an adult passenger, and the transmission tunnel isn’t so massive that it ruins that person’s space for their feet. It’s not the comfiest middle seat ever, but you’ll get away with it.
You get nice, expensive-feeling seat-back pockets for storage, and there’s another set of huge door bins. The rear centre armrest has cupholders and a shallow lidded storage space which is about big enough to keep two credit cards in. There are ISOFIX hooks in the outer rear seats for fitting child car seats, but they come with annoying flip-off plastic covers which always, always hurt your fingers. If you’re putting kids in the back, the big rear windows give them an excellent view out, but they don’t wind all the way down — annoyingly.
If you want a seven-seat Discovery Sport, the sliding and tilting middle row seats mean that it’s easy enough to get in and out of the third row. Rear headroom and legroom (and foot room) means that those extra seats really are just for children, though. If you want a seven-seater with better third-row space, consider a Hyundai Santa Fe.
If all seven seats are in use, then the Discovery Sport's boot shrinks to a pretty useless size — only a couple of hundred litres. The extra seats do fold easily enough, but if the rear bench has been reclined, then you’ll have to walk around the sides and straighten it up again, or the boot seats won’t flop forwards.
Once you’ve done that, though, you’ve got loads and loads of room — Land Rover officially quotes 973 litres of luggage space, but that’s if you’re loading to the roof. If you’re loading to the line of the windows and the rear seats, it’s more like 700 litres, which is still a lot. The Audi Q5 and BMW X3 sit at 550 litres.
You get handy tie-down hooks, and some small netted storage spaces in the sides. There’s no under-floor storage, though, as that’s where your tyre repair kit goes — a full-size spare is a cost option. You can fold down the middle row seats from a switch in the boot, which is handy, and the centre rear seat folds separately so there’s a load-through for long, narrow items. That said, you still have to go around the sides of the car to push the middle row seats fully down, and even then the floor isn’t entirely flat. Annoyingly, there’s also nowhere to stash the luggage cover.
The 2023-updated Discovery Sport’s cabin looks smarter than before, and it now gets an excellent infotainment system, but the lack of physical buttons can be a pain
The Discovery Sport has just had yet another major update – which makes several since the car was originally launched – which gives it a much better infotainment system, and which does away with most of the dashboard buttons.
The new 11.4-inch screen we’re fully in favour of, as it looks terrific and it’s using Land Rover’s latest ‘Pivi Pro’ software, which might have a silly name, but is really easy and slick to use. It’s already in the likes of the big Range Rover models and the Defender, and it works great there.
The Discovery Sport also gets the new fist-shaped automatic gear selector, but it has lost the useful rotary controls and physical buttons that it used to have. Land Rover says that this is made up for by the infotainment system being cleverer than it used to be, and you can get to 90 per cent of all the car’s functions with only two taps of the screen. This is all well and good, but you just can’t beat proper, real buttons for simplicity, so we’re going to miss the Discovery Sport’s handy old rotary dials.
All versions now come with fully digital instruments, which is good and they do look nice, but some of the menus for adjusting what’s on the screen, or the car’s various settings, can be fiddly to use, and not helped by the touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons.
All Discovery Sports now come with two USB connectors up front, and two more for the middle row seats. If you’ve bought a seven-seat model, that will come with extra heating and ventilation controls for the third row.
Overall quality is very good, and we love the optional wool seat upholstery, offered for those who don’t want to have leather in their cars. Even so, there’s a sense that the Discovery Sport’s cabin isn’t quite as well put-together as what you’d get in a BMW or Audi. Or even a Hyundai, for that matter.
Land Rover has simplified the Discovery Sport’s engine lineup. You can now choose between a 200hp mild-hybrid diesel four-cylinder engine, or a mild-hybrid 250hp turbo four-cylinder petrol P250 engine. The plug-in hybrid 305hp P300e — which does without the optional seven-seat layout, remember — uses a 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder engine and a 14.9kWh battery. Fully charged, it can now go for up to 38 miles in electric mode (Land Rover estimates that the ‘real-world’ range is about 30 miles) and you can fast-charge the battery from public charging points, giving you an 80 per cent top up in about 30 minutes.
Do that enough, as well as charging at home, and you might get somewhere near the official fuel economy figure of 180mpg. Of course, if you’re going on a longer journey with a flat battery, then you’ll get nothing like that, but our experience with the Discovery Sport seems to indicate that you should be able to manage around 40-45mpg in mixed conditions on longer journeys. Official CO2 emissions are just 35g/km, which means you’ll pay only 12 per cent in BIK company car tax.
That 40mpg is in line with what you’ll get from the diesel engine, which can struggle to do better than 40mpg unless you’re driving really, really carefully. The P300e turbo petrol engine will struggle to do better than 25mpg, though.
The basic Discovery Sport S comes with traffic sign recognition and an adaptive speed limiter, as well as a rear parking camera, cruise control, and a secure anti-theft tracker with a 12-month subscription included. The Discovery Sport scored an impressive five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP, including a 71 per cent score for pedestrian and cyclist safety, aided by a pedestrian impact airbag built into the bonnet.
You have to go up to Dynamic SE models to get radar-guided cruise control and lane-keeping steering, which feels a bit cheap when you remember that you get such things as standard on a mid-spec Toyota Corolla. You’ll also get a rear traffic monitor and a rear collision alert.
Top-spec Dynamic HSE versions get a blind spot alert on top of all that. Optionally, you can have a ‘ClearSight’ rear view mirror, which takes a camera feed from the radio aerial pod on the roof, meaning that you can see out the back even if the rear seats are full of tall people or the boot is loaded to the roof.
Generally speaking, Land Rover does not perform well when it comes to reliability, but the Discovery Sport tends to buck that trend. As one of the more long-established cars in the Land Rover line-up, much of the bits under the skin are well-proven and solidly built. That said, there are plenty of horror stories out there of electrical issues and even problems with gearboxes and suspension, so buy carefully.
All Land Rovers come with a standard three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, and you can optionally extend that for up to ten years and 100,000 miles.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.