Land Rover Discovery Sport road test by Steve Rogers
So, you would like a new Range Rover but 80 grand is too salty for the pocket.
Solution. Troll the second hand market, or maybe there's a better option... buy a new Discovery Sport.
This is as close as you can get to the big man without paying the big bucks, although you'll still need £45-£50,000 to get near that real feeling of luxury.
Discovery Sport first appeared at the end of 2014 replacing Freelander which was nothing like a Range Rover. The aim was to distance the Land Rover brand from the growing crop of SUVs and it has been a roaring success winning awards left right and centre and becoming more a part of the 'if only I had the money' Range Rover family.
It has been freshened up with new light designs front and back, along with upgraded engines and even more technology.
Petrol and diesel engines now have mild hybrid electric motors to harvest battery power under braking. This shaves gramms off emissions and gives a small lift to economy but it does not mean you can drive on pure electric.
The tech team has built a whole new infotainment system called Pivi which does so much I got bored going through it all, but being able to pair two smart phones at the same time is a bonus although the most impressive new feature is 'over the air' software updates which saves going to the garage and waiting an age for the latest navigation maps to be downloaded and such like.
Dashboard layout is unchanged so you still get the problem of the sun blocking out the screen at certain times of the day. It only happened once as the sun was hardly out during my week with the car but something to consider at the next big redesign.
For the most part the cabin with its quality trim is a classy, comfortable place to be, just don't think you are in Range Rover territory. It is a big car with lashings of space for five adults and, unlike most of its rivals, provides an extra two foldaway seats although they are best suited to young children.
Seven up obviously dramatically reduces boot space but sticking to five leaves a huge area and with all the back seats down a couple can happily sleep in the car. There is a good amount of casual storage space and seven USB sockets which will come in handy when it's a full house.
Disco Sport is a popular tow car with additional safety features to keep the van on the straight and narrow. I endured some big winds towing my 7.2 metre caravan but never felt troubled and you can keep an eye on the van on the move thanks to the surround camera system. The 'disappearing' tow bar can be deployed from the touchscreen and if you can be bothered to put in the trailer dimensions it will park it as well.
My wife won the towing economy challenge returning 25.3mpg over 160 miles, a decent return from a 200hp 2-litre diesel. Most of the towing was motorway which was the right territory for the nine speed auto box. We even managed 42mpg on a 100 mile solo drive.
Although it pulls strongly the Disco doesn't feel quick off the mark and is tuned more to comfort as opposed to the stiffer ride of an Audi or BMW so expect some rolling through bends.
Where it beats everyone is its off road credentials. How often will they be needed? Probably rarely but I know which car I would choose in a mud fight! It will even wade through 600mm if water, that's nearly as high as the average office desk.
The entry front wheel drive Discovery Sport is around £32,000 but realistically you need to push the boat out to soak up the luxury. My HSE was just over £52k with extras and was packed with the things we love as well as a full suite of safety features.
It is not a Range Rover or Audi Q8 but the Disco Sport has enough grandeur to at least make you think you are lording it.
Discovery Sport D200 HSE 9sp auto
2-litre turbo diesel; 204bhp
0-62mph 8.9secs; 117mph
179g/km. 1st VED £1,305
Insurance group 33
Towing capacity 2,500kg