Land Rover Discovery Sport

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The Land Rover Discovery Sport petrol is priced at 50.3 lakhs (ex-showroom) India:

Likes:

+ An overall package of Style, Utility and performance comes at a relatively affordable price tag

+ Provided you go for a version with seven seats, the Discovery Sport offers more flexibility than any other model in its class

+ Premium quality everywhere. One of those rare cars that do not demand a hefty price-tag to experience luxury and premium-ness

+ Brilliant ride-quality. Period

+ Loved the steering response, especially at higher speeds. It’s damn direct! This makes it a great highway cruiser for your countryside road trips

Dislikes:

–  The car is definitely capable of handling higher bhp numbers

– If you are looking for a tech-savvy car you might want to steer away from it. It doesn’t even offer wireless charging which is found in cars priced its half

– The ‘Sport” mode in the discovery sport is surprisingly thirsty. The average can go down to 5 kmpl if you are cruising at high speeds. But, it is worth it!

– The 7-inch infotainment system is pretty basic. I wish we at least had a prototype of the multi-screen infotainment found in its elder siblings

–  Surprisingly, the massive panoramic sunroof does not retract. I would rather prefer to have an openable sunroof half its size

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So, is it worth spending your $$$ on this legendary machine whose tough and robust DNA can be traced back to 70 years of go-anywhere ability? Read on…

Land Rover Discover Vs Discovery Sport – 

The Discovery Sport joins the LandRover stable as the younger SUV in the portfolio. That name change signifies a closer connection and it’s more family focus. Hence the new Sport has three rows of seats, creating seating for seven

While the full-size Land Rover Discovery is as extremely capable off-road, it’s always been a pricey purchase. The smaller Discovery Sport, then, is designed to bring a similar experience catering to a wider audience at a rather affordable price tag.

Styling

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The Discovery Sport shares its foundation with the slightly smaller Range Rover Evoque, and like that model, has softer styling with rounded corners. It’s a departure from Land Rover’s traditional hard-edged, box-on-box look. The front of the Discovery Sport offers a bold look. The long and smooth flowing bonnet, with the sleek honeycomb mesh grille and the large ‘Discovery’ badging over it, offers an elegant look. The front stance is further accentuated by the stunning bright LED DRLs that surround the projector headlamps.

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The same design continues to flow to the sides and the rear as well. The side profile of the luxury SUV offers a simple and timeless design. The rear perfectly gels with the front, with a smoked tail lamp cluster having circular LED units. The rear carries ‘Discovery Sport’ badge. The design looks contemporary and I like the proportions that make it quite easy to manoeuvre in the city. On the whole, this is quite a handsome SUV

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Smoked tail-lamps are a treat to the eye:

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The headlamp unit consists of Projector, DRL and integrated turn-indicator: 

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The bright circular DRL goes brilliantly well with the iconic design if the car:

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While the rear three-quarter may not be the best angle to look at the Discovery, it’s pretty clean and slated:

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One of that on-the-way pitstop. For some reason, I felt that the rectangular slots of the wall gel along with the Discovery’s design language:

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When I said Bold front fascia, I meant it:

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Parting shot:

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It’s adequately sized. Just perfect for mile munching on a highway and not-too-big for the city:

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I guess this loud badge would be visible in the rearview mirror of the car ahead of you:

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Another parting shot from the grasslands:

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The headlamps are superbly powerful:

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When the rain Gods showed some love for the Discovery: 

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ORVM with turn-indicator:

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Illuminated spoiler:

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Damn, damn hot!

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The swept-back headlamp neatly integrates into the body of the car:

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19-inch alloys. The alloy wheel design isn’t too loud. Wish we had slightly bigger disks on all 4 wheels:

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Pull-type grab handle. Nothing can come close to the door handles of a Velar:

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Just in case you forgot what you are driving:

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The tail lamps actually wrap around:

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Minimalistic panel gaps:

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A closer look the spoiler, it’s not an LED though:

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Rear-wiper does a pretty good job of cleaning the rear glass:

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Shark-fin?

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Chrome-tipped exhaust:

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The ORVM’s offer a pretty decent view. However, they aren’t;t as big as the other LR’s:

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Heated glass with rear dimenster:

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For some reason, I love the way this glass is designed. We had a similar design in the first-gen fortuner too:

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In case you wondered how the lighting combo would look like:

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Intercooler:

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Wipers are thick enough and do a decent job of cleaning the windshield. Nothing to write home about. 

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Plastic cladding can be extremely useful in our outdoor conditions:

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What a brilliant panoramic sunroof! 

Cockpit

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The interior is nicely styled while being simplistic at the same time. While it might share much of its DNA with the more expensive Range Rover Evoque, the Discovery Sport’s dashboard has a more modest feel to it. But the materials are still robust, and there is a pleasing, user-friendly simplicity to the control layout across the cockpit. Unfortunately, the interior design doesn’t feel luxurious as its German counterparts.

The cabin is wrapped in beige leather as well as soft-touch materials that feel long-lasting. The presence of massive, panoramic sunroof makes the cabin feels extremely airy. The seats, both upfront and at the rear, are comfortable. However, the front seats lack enough support, especially at the bottom, to keep you in-place when you push the Discovery hard around corners.

All the buttons, knobs and switches are neatly laid out within easy reach to the driver. However, there are certain controls which are oddly positioned like the power window switches and control for ORVMs. Quality of these switches could have been better, for its asking price.

The dials themselves are easy to read, and the central touchscreen system with Land Rover’s latest software is decently-good, although some functions could be easier to access and there’s sometimes a bit of software lag. It’s simply not the best-in-class. and it can be challenging to use it while focussing on the road. Some of the icons are small making it difficult to operate while driving.

Landover has partnered with Meridian to provide a sound system with 16 speakers and 825W with a dual channel sub-woofer delivering crystal clear and high rich bass sound system.The Discovery Sport enters as the junior SUV in Land Rover’s range and is more family focused. Hence the new Sport has three rows of seats as standard, creating seating for seven. With lots of room for passengers and easy entry and exit, the Discovery Sport is a good people mover.

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Built to last:

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Doors open wide-enough for easy entry/exit:

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Thankfully, the loading lip is not very high:

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Pull those straps to fold the seats:

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Neatly integrated chrome handles:

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Wow! Certainly, one of the best and elegant steering wheels of all times:

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The instrument cluster kind if feels outdated compared to the Germans:

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Notice the “also” digital speedometer:

Seats are pretty decent, although they lack under-thigh support. Could have easily been more comfortable:

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Brilliant quality of stacks:

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We all love the paddle-shifters. don’t we?

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Aluminium pedals would have made more sense here:

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Notice the electronic lumbar support:

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I could write a book on the storage options available in this car:

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That’s how big the sunroof is:

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9-speed Automatic:

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Loved the quality of stitching on the door handles. Small things do matter:

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The glove box is protected with a lining to keep your valuables scratch-free:

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Found the ORVM button to be oddly placed:

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Hey, we have another storage space here:

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and here:

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and here too: (Placement of this socket is extremely useful) 

Gearbox

The 9-speed gearbox has good ratios and you’ll find the engine revving within the initial rpm while cruising at 100 kmph. That said, the gearbox is a little slow to respond when you go pedal to the metal. This is also the case while driving in Sports mode or using the paddle shifts to go up or down the gears.

The gear changes are smooth and there’s just no rubber band effect. Something which was not to be missed is the turbo lag(slight), The petrol becomes brutal past the 2,000 RPM mark which you’ll achieve once you’ve crossed the 20-30 kmph mark. The petrol motor doesn’t have the low-end grunt of torque to match that of premium diesel engines, but it’s just fine. This engine gearbox combo is ideal for relaxed highway cruising in our countryside at triple-digit speeds.

Drive wise, I love how Land Rover has managed to give this 2 ton SUV such agility and performance figures. The only issue arises is when the car moves fast from slow speeds, like in the overtaking scenarios. The sudden acceleration from standstill has that rubbery feeling, probably because of the gearbox.

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Ride and Handling

The Discovery Sport actually works very well as a vehicle for long distance travel. The suspension feels beautifully damped at high speeds and body control is good. Add to this a brilliantly tuned, well-weighted steering and what you get is a great feeling of control. Also, while the Discovery Sport may not be an X3 around the corners, handling is always neat and crisp.

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There is a fair amount of body lean when cornering in the Discovery Sport. As a result, it feels a bit sloppy along twisting, country roads compared with an Q5 or even a Q3 for that matter. Fortunately, though, the Discovery Sport has plenty of grip, so it does actually hold the road well. And with reassuringly precise steering, it gives you plenty of confidence and control.

All four-wheel-drive models come with Terrain Response, a system that allows the driver to select from a variety of drive modes tailored to different surfaces, such as grass, mud and sand. It means the Discovery Sport is better off road than just about anything else in this price bracket.

Space and Practicality

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a comfortable car to travel in, especially with only five seats in use as it gives room to plenty of cargo space. Passengers seated in the two tiny rear-most seats on seven-seater models won’t be so pleased – they’re best left for small children. Front-seat passengers have lots of headroom and it’s easy to get a comfortable driving position thanks to a fully adjustable steering wheel and a standard-fit armrest that’s perfectly placed for your elbow

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Passengers in the middle row of seats can slide backwards and forwards to improve either their legroom or that of the people in the very back row. You can also recline the middle seats for more comfort and can comfortably carry three people side-by-side because there’s not much of a hump in the floor, permitting enough room for everyone’s feet

There’s a vast door bin in each of the Land Rover Discovery Sport‘s four doors, and each is big enough to fit a two-litre bottle of water. There’s also a sizeable glovebox and even a handy storage shelf above it.

Each passenger gets their own cupholder and you can remove the one in the centre armrest to create even more storage space. There’s even enough room for a few snacks in a tray built into the rear centre armrest, and all three rows of seats feature 12-volt sockets and USB outputs so your passengers can charge their mobile devices instead of talking to each other – phew!

Safety

Discovery Sport is a proud recipient of 5-Star Euro-NCAP rating as well as 5-Star ANCAP ratings. There are numerous airbags inside the car apart from few other safety measures like Dynamic Stability Control, Electronic Traction Control, Roll Stability Control, Anti-lock Braking Systems, Emergency Brake Lights, ISOFIX mounts, etc.

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The Land Rover Discovery Sport scored the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s crash tests. Its score for adult occupant protection was particularly impressive, plus there’s an airbag under the bonnet that deploys to protect a pedestrian’s head in the event of an impact. Beautiful!

It is also fitted with front, side and window airbags, plus another beneath the steering column to protect the driver’s knees. All models feature an automatic braking function that can perform an emergency stop from low speeds if it senses an impact is imminent. A feature very similar to the Volvo’s.

Competitive Advantage

The Land Rover Discovery Sport in India takes on stiff competition from the likes of the Germans such as the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5. It also competes against the relatively new Swedish entrant, The Volvo XC 60.

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This is how it fares against the competition:

It’s amazing to see the way Land Rover has managed to price the Discovery Sport so well in spite of the performance figures being similar to cars priced 20% more. Also, it is important to note that the Discovery Sport is the only car amongst the competition to offer 7 seats. Phenomenal!

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Should You Buy One?

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The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a practical luxury SUV with good road presence and adequate interior space. The SUV bears an iconic nameplate and is nothing short of a near-perfect all-rounder.  However, having said that, the only sore thumb sticking out is the overall premium feel which seems to be missing compared to its German rivals. Practicality is another big plus point, thanks to the Discovery Sport giving you the option of seven seats. Though there are certain bits that are just fine at best, it still offers more presence compared to its popular German rivals.

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