Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Lux

     If there’s a greater invention than ventilated and cooled leather seats I’m yet to find it. Sat in the late afternoon’s traffic, under a panoramic glass roof, and on a day when the dashboard tells me that outside it’s 26 degrees C, I’m actually beginning to feel a tad chilly. As Widnes’s Wednesday commuters wind down their windows and complain about the roadworks I relax, sit back, switch the DAB from 6 music to Radio 2, (for the travel news), and contemplate whether or not to put my jumper on. Perhaps I’ve set the air-con a bit too low, even for me.  From my lofty seat in the latest version of the Land-Rover Discovery Sport HSE Luxury I can see tempers all around me beginning to fray as the traffic jam continues to build. As for me, I’m as cool as the proverbial cucumber.

     If ever there was a car that blurs the lines between where the Land-Rover brand ends and the plusher Range- Rover brand begins, surely it’s this one. All of the aforementioned features are fitted as standard to the HSE Luxury version of the Discovery Sport and it doesn’t stop there.  Windsor leather covers the seats, which are electrically adjustable and heated as well as cooled, plus the steering wheel - which incidentally is also heated -  and the door handles.  The switches and knobs are big and chunky, yet they move with precision, there’s configurable ambient lighting, the front door tread strips are illuminated, there are front and rear parking cameras… the list goes on. There’s even the same amount of rear seat space, if you fold the two rearmost seats flat that is, (did I mention the Discovery sport was a 5+2?) as there is in a full-size Range-Rover.

    It would seem disrespectful almost to climb into this car with muddy boots and get this interior dirty. And yet, that’s what Land Rover hope, or at least envisage, what some owners will do. In front of the rotary gear selector, which rises from the centre console when you press the starter button, lie the buttons for the Terrain response system. Take your pick of settings from Mud and Ruts, Snow, or Sand, and you’re virtually guaranteed to make it over whatever terrain you point the Disco Sport’s trademark clamshell bonnet towards.

    Having driven one off-road before the temptation is to pick Sand, take a sharp right and blast straight the construction site alongside me, but the truth is I’m in no particular rush.

    Eventually the traffic ahead clears and it’s time to get the Ingenium diesel engine to do something more strenuous than just running the air-con. Once free of the commuters the 2.0 diesel impresses. It’s quiet at a cruise yet powerful and torquey. Quite how Land-Rover managed to achieve a combined MPG of 53.9 from it remains a mystery – I never saw more than 40 – but then I wasn’t sat at 56mpg in a windless laboratory either.

   The ride too once out in the open is also smooth. Ironically, this is a genuine off-roader after all, lumpy and broken surfaces make the Discovery Sport bounce around, but on smoother tarmac  the specifically developed hollow-cast multi-link rear suspension that’s been designed specifically to free-up boot space and therefore enable that third row of “Grandstand Seating” does an admiral job of ironing out the imperfections. Yes, the auto’box does get a bit flustered when working out which of its 9 ratios is best (a six speed manual option is available for those who think they know better), but for a 1863kg seven seat SUV the Discovery Sport can prove to be both quite engaging if you’re in a hurry, and somewhat relaxing when you’re not.

    Approximately 2 and half hours after the traffic had ground to a halt I pulled up outside my place in the Marches. The drive home giving me time to contemplate the merits of the Discovery Sport. It’s capacious, and it’s hugely capable. It’s swift too: 0-62 in 8.9 seconds was, not so long ago, the domain of the sports-saloon. It seats the whole family, and thanks to its retractable tow-bar it’ll pull your trailer too. It’s not cheap mind!  Prices start at £43K and everyone likes an option or two.

    But arguably it’s many cars in one. Viewed it like that and from where I’ve been sitting I’d say there’s little to get hot under the collar about.     


Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Luxury TD4

Engine: 1,999cc, 16V 4 Cyl, DOHC Turbo-diesel.

Transmission: 9 speed. Automatic Four Wheel Drive

Power: 180 bhp @ 4,000rpm

Torque: 317 lbft @ 1750 rpm

0-62mph: 8.9 sec

Max Speed: 117 mph

MPG: 53.9 combined.

CO2: 139 g/km

Price: from 43,000 (as tested) £47,475


Many thanks to everyone at Land Rover’s UK press office



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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