Land Rover Discovery Sport unveiled

Land Rover has released the first pictures and details of the new Discovery Sport – the replacement for the venerable Freelander.

What’s new?

Compared to the Freelander, pretty much everything. It gets the new Land Rover look, including Evoque-style swept-back headlights. The whole design resembles the Evoque, except with a higher rear roofline to accommodate one of the Discovery Sport’s other new features: so-called ‘5+2′ seating, which means you get five normal seats and two extra ones in a third row. In cars like this they’re not the most practical or comfy, and tend to have little legroom – but we’ll give Land Rover the benefit of the doubt here.

Still, it’s impressive that Land Rover has essentially created a seven seater that isn’t as giant as the Range Rover Sport.

Mechanically, the Discovery Sport gets typical Range Rover long-travel suspension, which means the wheels have enough up-and-down movement to cope with serious off-roading. If you’re a fan of off-roading you’ll be pleased to hear that the approach and departure angles (which dictate how steep a slope you can drive onto and off) are still among the best in the class. It can also drive through water up to 60cm deep without drowning the engine, so this isn’t a school-run-only soft-roader.

What it like inside?

In a word, swish. Land Rover is expecting modern families to fall in love with the Discovery Sport – you can order the car with six USB charging sockets across all three rows of seats, so you and your loved ones can charge your various mobile devices without squabbling over the power points. Front-seat passengers can use the new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which will hopefully be a marked improvement over the slightly outdated system in the Range Rover.

What’s under the bonnet?

The UK will get a 2.2-litre turbodiesel with 187hp, which you can have with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a nine-speed automatic. Yep, the automatic has nine gears! Land Rover says that a more efficient two-wheel drive version will be available towards the end of 2015 which will have the ‘eD4′ engine with CO2 emissions of 119g/km. There’s no word on performance figures for either engine yet.

Anything else?

It’ll go on sale in the UK in January 2015, and you’ll have to spend £32,395 for the four-wheel-drive launch version. The two-wheel-drive version will cost under £30,000 when it eventually goes on sale. Land Rover is also touting a £499 service plan that will cover you for five years (or 50,000 miles – whichever comes soonest) of servicing.

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