2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport Review

Introduction

Whisper it, but even amongst the ranks of Range Rovers and posher vehicles, this might be Land Rover’s best all-round product. The Discovery Sport replaced the old Freelander, but it’s a more rounded performer, much higher in tech, can seat as many as seven people and is really impressive to drive. Plus it retains just enough proper Land Rover off-road-y-ness to make it worthy of the legendary badge.

 

Body Style: SUV           Seats: 7                 MRP from £31,095 - £46,510

 

Did you know? Recycling some of the old Freelander’s chassis means that the Discovery Sport is actually distantly related to the Ford Mondeo.

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8.3/10)

The Discovery Sport, neither on paper nor at first glance, looks like it stands much of a chance against the likes of the Audi Q5 or its own in-house rival, the Range Rover Evoque. But give it a chance – with its combination of assured handling, practical cabin, comfort, and subtly handsome looks, this is a car that very quickly works its way into your affections. Just watch the price once you start adding options.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Specs & Trims

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

 

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

We Like

Handsome styling

Practicality and versatility

Genuinely good handling and steering

We Don't Like

Handsome styling

Practicality and versatility

Genuinely good handling and steering

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior: ★★★★★★★★★ (9/10)

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

At first, the Discovery Sport appears almost too plain for its own good. That upswept nose is nice and all, but the rear end, with its forward-raked C-pillar, looks too much like the old Freelander for comfort, and there’s little of the attention-grabbing styling of its glamorous sibling, the Range Rover Evoque.

It is, though, a car that rewards a second glance. And probably a third one too. It also benefits from some bold choices with paint options, and a contrasting roof colours really lifts it up. Dress the Discovery Sport up properly and it starts to look very good, very quickly.

As far as image is concerned (aside from a lingering whiff of reliability worries) there’s little to beat the Land Rover badge for aspirational qualities. More than a few other car makers would kill for this sort of brand appeal.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort: ★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

In some ways, the Discovery Sport’s cabin is its weak point, mostly because it looks very plain and unadorned. This is an issue that becomes more noticeable the further up the price list you look, where the Disco’s cabin struggles to keep up with the likes of rivals such as the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

The good thing is that the fundamentals are spot-on, from the excellent seats to the fine driving position, good visibility out and decent refinement. Overall quality is good too, although there are occasional panels of too-cheap plastic.  

Practicality

The Discovery Sport, with a couple of caveats, is hugely practical. With the third row of seats folded into the floor, the boot holds a whopping 981 litres. Hang on though – Land Rover takes that measurement as being from floor to roof, not up to the window line (as is more common), where it’s more like 500-odd-litres. Still good, but not as impressive as it sounds at first.

Nonetheless, with all seats folded down and loaded to the roof, you can squeeze as much as 1,698 litres in, which is slightly better than, say, a Volvo V90 estate. Put all seats up, and the space shrinks to effectively a couple of hundred litres, but still enough for a couple of soft bags or some shopping. There are plenty of luggage hooks too, and an optional load-space divider to stop dirty stuff coming in contact with clean stuff.

Space and legroom in the back seats is excellent and those seats slide back and forth by 160mm to allow you to choose between legroom and luggage room. There’s just about enough width in the rear for three child car seats abreast too.  

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover has been steadily ramping up its tech and connectivity options in recent years, and the Discovery Sport is now available with the new, and generally very impressive, 10-inch In Control Touch Pro infotainment system. Aside from the handsome touchscreen, you can route-plan from your home computer and have the directions sent to the in-car satnav, there’s a Remote Premium phone (and Apple Watch) app that allows you to monitor your vehicle’s condition from afar, there’s a parking app in the navigation system that helps you to find a space or a car park, a 380-watt Meridian sound system and a connection to the Tile app and stick-on location devices to help ensure that you never forget important items before leaving the house or office. There’s also in-car Wi-Fi and an optional rear-seat entertainment pack.

The Discovery Sport loses stars here because of the older, basic eight-inch In Control Touch system, which isn’t bad, but is a step (or two) behind what is on offer from BMW or Audi.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

There really are very few SUVs that are quite so crisp and pleasant to drive as this. In fact, there are a few sports saloons that come up short against a Discovery Sport. The steering, a little short in feedback perhaps, is surprisingly sharp and quick-geared for a product wearing Land Rover badging, and the Discovery Sport turns into corners with an unexpected keen-ness. It stays pleasantly level and stable through those corners too, with very little body roll for something as tall as this.

Permanent four-wheel drive helps, of course (it’s standard on all models) when it comes to slippery conditions and overall refinement is very good indeed. The Discovery Sport’s only failing, in a dynamic sense, is that its ride quality can occasionally be too firm (especially on the optional 20-inch wheels). You’ll feel that more around town than on the open road, but it can become annoyingly fidgety.

In 2016, Land Rover updated the Discovery Sport with the 2.0-litre ‘Ingenium’ four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, replacing the ageing, Ford-sourced 2.2 that it had been using. The Ingenium is a decent unit, although it can be a touch noisy at times. The main version has a healthy 180hp and 317lb ft of torque. There is a 150hp version, with 280lb ft of torque that also does without the third row of seats to save weight and therefore a little fuel, but the 180hp version is the one to go for. Land Rover currently doesn’t offer either a petrol version or a hybrid in the UK.

Recommended engine: 2.0 TD4 180hp Ingenium

0-62 MPH

9.9 seconds

Fuel economy

53.3mpg

Emissions

139g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features: ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

The Discovery Sport gets a full five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, with a 93 per cent score for adult occupant protection, 83 per cent for child, 69 per cent for pedestrian, and 82 per cent for safety assist.

There is a battery of electronic safety systems too, starting with the usual electronic stability control and rising through autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control (which can take over entirely in heavy traffic), lane-keeping steering, trailer reversing assistant, and a surround-view camera system.

There are also some Land Rover-specific systems, such as All Terrain Progress Control, which can get the car moving safely on slippery or loose surfaces, and a wade-depth sensor that tells you if the flood you’ve just driven into is too deep. It’s unlikely to be, though, as the Discovery Sport can wade through more than half-a-metre of water as standard, which is reassuring when the weather turns nasty.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels: ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Colours

There’s only one solid paint finish – Fuji White – and the rest are all metallic, including Yulong White, Indus Silver, Corris Grey, Kaikoura Stone, Scotia Grey, Aintree Green, Loire Blue, Santorini Black, Firenze Red, Phoenix Orange, Silicon Silver, Aruba, Waitomo Grey, Carpathian Grey, and Farallon Black. Just bear in mind that the last seven listed colours are all ‘Premium Metallic’, which are significantly more expensive to choose. All colours come with the optional choice of black or dark grey contrast colour roof.

Trim Levels

There are three core trim levels – SE, SE Tech and HSE. SE comes with part-leather heated seats, climate control, heated windscreen, 18-inch wheels, heated door mirrors, cruise control, the eight-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth, seven seats, and keyless ignition.

SE Tech adds satellite navigation, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, front parking sensors, front fog lights and a powered tailgate, with an under-bumper sensor.

HSE adds electrically adjustable leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, second row climate control vents, Xenon headlights with LED daytime lights and high-beam assistant, rear view camera, upgraded Meridian sound system, keyless entry, 19-inch wheels, and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

HSE Luxury comes with cooled and heated front seats, upgraded leather, a heated steering wheel, parking assistance, mood lighting, 20-inch wheels, extra USB connections, and In Control App functions.

There are also some styling packs – the Black Pack and Graphite Pack – that variously add dark-hued exterior trim and wheels and which get rid of any chrome finishers, while there’s also the Dynamic Lux pack that comes with a sportier body kit, mesh-finished grilles, gloss black 20-inch wheels and a red Sport badge.

It’s very easy to go nuts on the Discovery Sport options list and end up with a £60-grand car, so we’d advise a little caution. Basically, you can go two ways with the Discovery Sport. Go for a more affordable SE Tech model and spend a little on some safety and practicality extras such as the Cold Climate pack and you’ve got an excellent family car. Alternatively, you could splash out on a HSE Dynamic Lux version and, for quite a bit of outlay, have a car worthy of comparison with a BMW X3 or Audi Q5, but more practical than either.

Just make sure you go for dark-finish alloys and a contrast roof colour to show the Discovery Sport off at its best.

Size and Dimensions

Given the amount of interior space, the Discovery Sport isn’t overly chunky, but it is quite wide, so beware if you have an especially narrow driveway.

Length

4,599mm

Width

2,173mm

Height

1,724mm

Max towing weight

750kg without brake/2000kg with brake

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

As is the case with a lot of cars, the Discovery Sport does flatter to deceive somewhat with its official fuel consumption figures. The core 180hp engine, with four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox, returns 53mpg overall, a figure that is identical on paper for the nine-speed automatic version. An emissions rating of 139g/km makes it a touch pricey for annual road tax, but not the worst in its class by a long shot.

The 150hp model can officially stretch that to 57mpg, and brings emissions down to a more tax-friendly 129g/km, but to be honest, both figures are fiction. In reality, in day-to-day driving, you’re going to find yourself hovering around the 40mpg mark, with frequent dips down to 35mpg and below. Not terrible, perhaps, but equally not as good as you’d hope.

Reliability and servicing

The Discovery Sport has been already been recalled four times for loose glass panels, possible fuel leaks, electrical short circuits, and faulty seatbelt pre-tensioners. Land Rover does not have a wonderful reputation for quality and reliability, but the old Freelander II was a solid enough car, and the Discovery Sport both shares much with that car and is built in the same factory so there’s reason for optimism.

Service interval 21,000 miles or two years
Inclusive service pack Covers first five years for a fixed price

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

It’s not the cheapest car in its class by a long shot, but how you feel about the Discovery’s prices might depend on whom you see as its closest competitors.

The cheapest SE 150hp model starts at £31,095 on the road, rising through £32,795 for the 180hp SE and £34,600 for the automatic version.

SE Tech starts at £32,845 while the cheapest HSE is £35,795. The HSE Black is £41,720 while the HSE Luxury starts at £41,595 and the HSE Dynamic Lux starts at £46,510, but just remember that the options list is long and deep, so beware the added-toys cost.

Those look a bit steep if you think that a top-spec Honda CR-V starts at £31,535 and a basic seven-seat Kia Sorento is £28,795. However, think of the Discovery Sport as a BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz rival and the prices start to look a little more sensible.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

Large Families

All versions – lots of space, seven seats, great view out.

Tech Junky

HSE Luxury – lots of tech as standard and the optional 10-inch screen is great.

Trend Setter

All models – smart styling and aspirational badge makes the Discovery Sport a good car to be seen in.

Rivals

Audi Q5

New model is slick to drive, and beautifully made, but lacks a seven-seat option.

Honda CR-V

Significantly more affordable, and very roomy, but no third row and not as premium in style.

Kia Sorento

Masses of space, seven seats and very well priced. Not premium, but a serious rival.

Range Rover Evoque

The in-house rival isn’t as practical, but has the same mechanical package in a slinkier body.

Mercedes-Benz GLC

Great to look at and great to drive, but, again, can’t be had with seven seats.

What others say

What Car?

“Pricewise, the Discovery Sport competes with the five-seat only Audi Q5 and BMW X3. However, there are no similarly priced, premium-badged seven-seaters, and that gives the Sport a unique appeal.”

Car Buyer

"The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a family-friendly SUV that’s hugely capable and surprisingly good value for money"

 

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