It’s a comfortable car to drive for long distances and the high driving position makes you feel secure, but the Land Rover Discovery Sport only comes with a diesel engine and the view out the back isn’t great
In terms of engines, the Land Rover Discovery Sport comes with two options – a 2.0-litre diesel with 150hp, or the same engine but with 180hp. Both versions get four-wheel drive as standard and use either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic gearbox – though you need the 180hp version if you want seven seats.
Both versions of the 2.0-litre diesel engine are relatively quiet on the move, but the 2.0-litre diesel in an Audi Q5 is still a more hushed and pleasing engine to use.
The engine is good enough, it just isn’t as good as you get in similar cars from German manufacturers
The entry-level 150hp diesel engine is only offered with the firm’s notchy six-speed manual gearbox and a five-seat layout exclusively. The more powerful 180hp version gets the option of the much better nine-speed automatic gearbox, which changes gears smoothly and takes the stress out of driving.
Fuel economy is decent too, considering it’s quite a heavy car with a fuel-sapping four-wheel-drive system. The 150hp model claims to return 58mpg while 180hp Land Rover Discovery Sports return 53mpg. In comparison, a 190hp Audi Q5 returns 55mpg, a 170hp Mercedes GLC gets 57mpg and a 190hp BMW X3 averages 54mpg. The 180hp version is the best bet because it feels more relaxed during overtakes, is the only version offered with seven seats and can be fitted with the optional automatic gearbox.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a comfortable car to drive. There’s not much wind noise in the cabin and the car’s suspension soaks up the worst of bumps on the motorway. Things aren’t as smooth around town, however, because the suspension doesn’t iron out potholes and rough surfaces so well at slower speeds.
Despite its size and height, the Discovery Sport is quite easy to drive in town thanks to a seating position that’s a little higher than the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5. This means you have a good view over other cars and get a clearer idea of where the car’s corners are. The view out the back, however, isn’t brilliant so you’ll need to use the rear parking sensors – standard on SE models and up – for tight manoeuvres. All models come with automatic emergency braking, so the chances of having a low-speed collision should be almost nil. The Land Rover Discovery Sport got a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was tested in 2014, although the test is more stringent today.
Off-road performance is incredibly impressive with good ground clearance, a grippy four-wheel-drive system and clever electronics that keep you moving. The firm’s All Terrain Response Control acts as a low-speed cruise control pulling you up hills, down slopes and even crawling over rocks without you having to touch the pedals. The Discovery Sport can also drive through water up to 60cm deep and there’s an optional wade sensor that can tell you how deep the water around your car is – but it’s probably best left on the options list unless you often have to cross a river to get to the shops.