Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0 HSE: Discovering new horizons
Truth be told, we weren’t exactly fans of the Land Rover’s range of muscular four wheelers. Yes, they pack a punch and easily outperforms almost every single SUV off-road, but you have to admit that there’s a certain traditional styling to it that doesn’t appeal to the younger, sleeker generation.
But we appreciate the technology beneath each and every piece of Rover that rolls out of its production lines. Simply for its sheer road presence, as well as its ability to conquer countless terrains with just the push of one button.
And with the new Discovery Sport, a new face in its own premium “Discovery” category, we get behind the wheels of one to find out whether this is again worth your money and excitement over.
Petrol heads may understand more about the three tiers of Land Rover brand architecture – Luxury (Range Rover), Leisure (Discovery), as well as Dual Purpose (Defender). Sitting as the first in its Discovery class, the Discovery Sport measures just 4,590 mm long, 239 mm shorter than its seven-seat Discovery brother.
Up front, it’d take just a glance for you to identify Land Rover’s signature clamshell bonnet and dual-bar grille. Unlike its cousins lying in other tiers, the Discovery Sport proudly announces its Discovery name across the front grille, making sure that you belong to this right class of adventure-seeker.
The Discovery Sport comes standard with signature xenon and LED headlamps, with circular daytime running lights. From the front, the Discovery Sport does look a tad similar to its Evoque cousin from the Luxury tier, but move your eyes along its side profile and you’ll soon realise the rear now offers a whole lot more legroom for seating capacity.
The Discovery Sport presents a clean, advanced yet intuitive interior – one whereby there’s no need to fumble around for the right switch to activate your Hill Descent Control.
Our test car, being the top of range HSE variant, offers us a fixed panoramic glass roof, keyless entry and start/stop, optional heated rear seats, as well as USB charging points at the rear to keep your kid entertained on long drives.
Expanding on the wheelbase of the Evoque, the Discovery Sport now offers the first in its class, a 5+2+2 seating configuration. Yes, the third row folds up nicely to offer you up to 981 litres of luggage space, but flip it down and you get two extra seats for the little kids to call home.
Admittedly, the +2 configuration at the third row comes with some shortcomings. The high floor board means that you have to pretty much sit with your knees folded up for most of the journey, and people suffering from claustrophobia won’t be enjoying their rides much at the third row, even if it means there being a dedicated air conditioning vent to keep you cool.
The new Discovery Sport houses a 2 litre turbocharged plant, courtesy of its Evoque cousin. However, Land Rover has taken the liberty of marrying it with a brand new nine-speed automatic transmission, putting out 237 horses and 340 Nm of torque.
While 340 Nm may feel a handful to get you off from the lights first, acceleration isn’t zip fast in reality. We felt the presence of a slight engine lag, especially when the need arises for swift lane changes.
The highlight of this Land Rover is ultimately not how fast it completes its century sprint, but rather, how well it handles off your usual tarmac roads. With its Terrain Response system, the Discovery Sport allows you to choose from a variety of road conditions, including snow, gravel, grass, and mud and sand.
You hardly would use any of the above options driving in this concrete jungle we call Singapore, but should the need for a bit of adrenaline and excitement kick in, the Terrain Response system would probably satisfy you the way it pleased us. We didn’t manage to test out fully the departure and breakover angles of 31 and 21 degrees respectively, but it sure did feel around there when we brought it down a steep gradient off Pasir Panjang Road.
So you may ask – who would possibly buy the Discovery Sport?
Being the first in its segment, the Discovery Sport presents itself as an attractive option for the family man. Yes, you get space for both adults (and kids), sufficient boot space for your baby bag, stroller, and NTUC shopping bags, and not to mention, the ability to inject some steep descent rush into your veins when you feel like it.
Photographs courtesy of Wearnes Automobile Singapore.