Land Rover Discovery Sport Road Test Review: Your Magic Carpet!

  • Mar 29, 2016
While growing up through school years, there used to be this show on the telly where the guy used to whistle and call for his transportation in the form of this magic carpet which took him anywhere and everywhere he pointed with his finger. There was no boundary and that’s what I wanted for myself when I started making a future wish-list.

Growing up is not easy, you change your dreams, replace them with something else and get satisfied with a substandard version of what you always wanted in life. The “magic carpet” that I always wanted took the shape of a car which looked similar to a Range Rover and then one day, the iconic British establishment which is now controlled by Indian company rolled out the Discovery Sport! Yes, this was the carpet that is small enough to fit in my pocket without tearing it apart.

[caption id="attachment_20232" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport[/caption]

Land Rover says the Discovery Sport is the only car you will ever need for any purpose in life. It has everything that a person will need from a vehicle if he does not want a 7-star hotel on wheels. We did spend some good amount of time with the Discovery Sport and did take her to some “off-limit-for-other-cars” places. How did we feel about it? Read on!

What does it looks like?
Discover Sport came into existence to replace the Freelander and that is a huge task. The Freelander itself was an icon. The ageing car needed a major upgrade as the owners felt like buying a first-hand classic car straight from the showroom with the Freelander. Nonetheless, it had a character of its own.

[caption id="attachment_20233" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport[/caption]

Now Discovery Sport is nothing like the Freelander. It does carry an image of its bigger sibling, the Range Rover, which is the best part about this vehicle. The Discovery Sport looks modern, it has been designed brilliantly. The details are just impeccable and to start with, the headlamps of the car have Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs), a pretty common feature nowadays but this one has a break on four points to reflect the four directions on a compass. The HSE Luxury trim that we got for the test drive has adaptive xenon lamps, lower variants have xenon lamps while the base variant only features halogen lamps.

[caption id="attachment_20266" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport[/caption]

The car is built around the same platform as the Range Rover Evoque but is bigger in dimensions and also has a regular flowing roofline.

The matte silver grille divided in two parts with the Land Rover logo slapped on the right side gives you the typical Land Rover design language while the horizontal LED fog lamps sit down below. There are silver skid plates in the front and rear which increase the bulk look of the vehicle apart from doing their regular job of protecting the vehicle.

[caption id="attachment_20231" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport[/caption]

Viewed in profile, the Discovery retains its DNA of a big vehicle. The design from the side looks very clean with only a strong shoulder line. The standard 18-inch split spoke alloy wheels do not catch much attention and are not carved for art but they do the job just fine.

[caption id="attachment_20236" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport alloy wheels[/caption]

The rear of the Land Rover Discovery Sport is one busy part of the car! The tail-lamps echo the same design language of the DRLs in the headlamps. The name of the model “Discovery” is embossed across the rear of the vehicle and is underlined by a thick line painted in matte grey. The trim name and the Land Rover logo sit on either side of the number plate. The integrated spoiler on the rear adds to the character, the spoiler also features LED high mounted braking lamps. Also, the top-trim variant gets a blacked out roof, which is not available on any other variant, now that sure adds to the character of the vehicle.

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The Discovery Sport looks modern, sporty and meaningful. There is no extra bling added to the vehicle like the Evoque and has a serious road presence. You do own a lot more space in the Discovery Sport and this is how you must have dreamt about your perfect vehicle, isn’t it?

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What does feel like from the inside?
Discovery Sport is like a magical enclosure which looks bigger from inside! The interiors are a big upgrade from what customers used to get with the Freelander. Yes, it looks quite similar to its bigger sibling, the Range Rover. The awkward position of the window power buttons will remind you of the Freelander but it is much more luxurious than Freelander.

[caption id="attachment_20247" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport dashboard[/caption]

The dashboard is clutter free and uses simple user interference with minimum buttons. On the top sits an 8-inch touch sensitive screen which is same as the Evoque. It is a high resolution screen and comes with a remote for rear passengers. There are quick access buttons on both the sides of the screen like home, park assist, music, phone, navigation, cameras and more. There are two AC vents below the screen and below that the terrain response system and the controls for AC are situated. The car comes with two-zone air-conditioning system. The temperature is displayed inside the dials itself while the fan speed can be chose from the middle dial.

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The revolutionary terrain management system with the “ECO” mode button sits on the bottom. Hill-descent and traction control buttons are also situated alongside.
The system itself is not a complicated one and all the buttons are very self-explanatory. The centre console above the transmission tunnel poses the elegant Land Rover signature drive selector. Behind that, cup-holders and cubby holes are situated. The whole section can be covered by beautifully designed sliding shiny black top. The arm-rest can be adjusted according to your need and has a lot of space under it. Also, the USB and AUX-in ports are also situated here.

[caption id="attachment_20261" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport under arm rest space Land Rover Discovery Sport under arm rest space[/caption]

The front seats come with memory function and they are big enough to make sure that you never miss the luxury couch of your home. They are ventilated and can blow cold air or can become warm according to the needs and comfort. All the seats are covered in premium leather and we got a nice beige color which was very contrasting and made the cabin feel more open. The panoramic translucent roof also adds to the big room feeling. A sun-roof would have been a welcome feature but in weather like India, where we seldom open the roof, this huge translucent roof makes a lot more sense.

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The steering wheel has more functions than a smartphone. You can control the infotainment system, change the display on the driver console, you can engage cruise control, can control your phone through Bluetooth and of course, can take the huge bulk on wheels wherever you want.

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Land Rover gives option of  extra 2 seats in the last row in all the variants except the base one and guess what? Everyone travelling in the car can be really social and keep themselves connected to the world without caring much about the battery draining. The Discovery Sport comes with 7 charging ports, one for each seat!

The HSE Luxury trim is the only variant which is meant for people who prefer chauffeurs instead of taking control of things on their own. The rear seat entertainment package that only comes with the top-of-the-line trim has two high-resolution screens and can play various playbacks and video formats. The system is pretty bright and can be used comfortably when the sun is shining bright. The top-trim also gets premium Meridian speakers. The 17-speaker set is spread through the car and has a powerful output. The luxury opera on house also has ambient lights which change the colour throughout the last seat of the car.

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The size of the transmission tunnel is quite big and if a third passenger sits in the middle-row, it won’t be a happy situation in the car. The last row seats are electrically powered to open and close them and they offer a decent space. The seats are good for small children but it is not a good idea to make adults sit on those. They are a bit too small for comfortable long distance journeys for full-grown humans.

[caption id="attachment_20271" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport rear AC vent Land Rover Discovery Sport rear AC vent[/caption]

The middle-row and last-row passengers also get dedicated AC vents while the last row passengers get space to keep their small belongings near them. With the last row seats up, the luggage space disappears and holds only two small bags but if you fold the third-row, a whole new world emerges from out of nowhere. Second row can also be folded into flat surface for even more space for luggage.

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The Discovery Sport has interiors draped in luxury. The soft touch dashboard with contrasting stitches and features like charging port for every occupant makes this a perfect family vehicle that can travel to far off places without much worry.

[caption id="attachment_20258" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport soft touch dashboard with contrasting stitching[/caption]

How safe is it?
The Land Rover Discover features many active and passive systems that are standard across all the variants. It is always to miss out on few features but it is always a good idea to have a good safety net around you. The car comes with dual front airbags with side curtain airbags. Also, perimetric and volumetric alarms are standard across the variants.

The car also gets ABS, Electronic Traction Control, Roll Stability Control, and Dynamic Stability Control. There are lot of things silently happening inside the vehicle when you take that off-road corner at a high-speed to keep all the wheels on the ground and it does work beautifully.

Engine and Transmission:
There is only one engine choice with the Discovery Sport. The 2,179cc engine comes in two state of tuning. The HSE Luxury variant produces highest output of 190 PS at 3,500 rpm while all the other variants get 150 PS of power that maximises at 3,500 rpm. The top-trim also gets higher torque output which stands at 420 Nm at 1,750 rpm while the other variants get 400 Nm of maximum torque at similar 1,750 rpm. The whole set-up is mated with an advanced 9-speed torque converter transmission which is smooth and subtle while shifting gears.

[caption id="attachment_20267" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.2-litre SD4 engine Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.2-litre SD4 engine[/caption]

How does it drive?
Before I tell you how it moves across the planet earth, I must tell you that the HSE Luxury variant comes with MagneRide - a sophisticated system which has no moving parts inside the system. The sensors detects the road conditions and gives a charge of electricity to the absorbers which instantly changes the rigidity of the suspensions and gives you the best possible ride! It is similar to the flying carpet experience and is the best feature a car can have.

[caption id="attachment_20262" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport drive[/caption]

After adjusting the driver seat with the small buttons on sides of the seat and steering manually, the Discovery Sport comes to life with a silent humming sound while the gear selector also comes out to take your command. I must tell you that this is one beautiful drive selector and no one can imitate this kind of elegance.

[caption id="attachment_20259" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport drive selector[/caption]

Push the accelerator hard and you do hear diesel clatter from the engine, but you do get used to it after few kilometres of spending time with the vehicle. International markets have received the new Ingenium 2.0-litre engines which are smoother and noise-free. The power delivery of this particular engine very linear. The gear shifts are smooth, even in sport mode. You can also change gears with the paddle shifters during your high-adrenalin phases but the changes do take a bit more time after receiving the command from the paddles. As I said earlier, the suspension set-up is brilliant and with the additional aids like anti-roll control, traction control, stability control, you never lose control of the SUV. The steering wheel is very precise and will guide the whole vehicle to the exact direction you are looking for.

[caption id="attachment_20264" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport[/caption]

We did not get a chance to test the terrain management system completely but on gravel mode, it did feel like extra grip and transmission made early gearshifts to take advantage of low-end torque. Even during high speed drives on gravel, the car changes direction like a prey running away from predator and that too without losing any grip. On highways, the steering weighs up nicely with speed and gives you a lot of confidence. The ride is firm yet comfortable and has almost negligible body roll for the size of a vehicle it is.

[caption id="attachment_20263" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport[/caption]

You will never dance with someone else like you have danced with the Discovery Sport, yes, that song always play in your head when you get down out of this beast.

What we think about the car?
So you live in a concrete jungle, want to escape into a natural jungle with your family and only have half a crore to spare, this the best product you will get for this money. It has an outline of a beast and characters of a dragon. The Discovery Sport is true to its name, it can take you to do any discovery while keeping the sportiness alive. Yes, there are little things like the unrefined engine and limited last row seat but then you do get a whole list of equipment which other vehicles only wish about.

[caption id="attachment_20234" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Land Rover Discovery Sport Land Rover Discovery Sport[/caption]

It sure is one vehicle that you will ever need in life and for a starting price of Rs, 46.10 lakh, ex-showroom, this is a steal. I know I have convinced you to get this one but there is a long waiting period attached to this one. Land Rover confirmed that more than 300 bookings have already been received. This vehicle becoming a success will be no surprise! It has everything ticked in the right boxes and can do a lot of things if you press the right pedal at the right time.

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