Driven: Land Rover Discovery Sport in India

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Just look at it. It’s Land Rover’s replacement for the popular and potent Freelander. In many ways the Land Rover Discovery Sport is pretty much like Michelle Rodriguez, sexy yet ruthless enough to be a cold blooded murderer who would get the job done.

 

The Discovery Sport looks smart; yes it doesn’t exude show value like its elder siblings, but there is a fair amount of no nonsense “don’t mess with me” attitude to it. The flared proportion might remind of you the Freelander with touches of the Evoque.

 

The Sport is 91mm longer than its predecessor and also sits on a wheelbase that’s grown by 80mm. These increments, and the incorporation of a compact multi-link rear suspension, have allowed Land Rover to fit in a third row of seats, giving the Sport somewhat of an advantage over its five-seat competitors – the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60. But Land Rover is being cautious and calling the Sport a ‘5+2’, simply because space in the rear is only suited for kids.

 

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On the Inside it is the typical Land Rover fest with a neatly laid out cabin, and the big chunky buttons  have a tactile feel to it. The fit and finish feels like it will outlive the owner. The new and improved touch screen is very intuitive and easy to use, however don’t expect slick operation like on your tablet. The seating position is high and offers a good view of the road ahead. The seats are comfortable and offer good bolstering, the middle row seats can slide front and back allowing access to rear seats.

 

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The Discovery Sport comes in four trims, with the top HSE Luxury available with the more powerful of the two engines on offer. The base S trim doesn’t get all that much in equipment, so if you are considering a Discovery Sport, then it is worth shelling out some more money for the SE version that comes with a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlamps, sliding and reclining rear seats, parking aids, two-zone climate control and a 10-speaker audio system. HSE versions additionally feature full leather seats, electric seat adjust, rear view camera and park assist (it’ll parallel/ perpendicular park the car for you!). The pricey HSE luxury version gets rear seat entertainment systems, 10-way powered front seats and a 17-speaker Meridian audio system. An adaptive suspension is also part of the kit.

 

Land Rover offers the Discovery Sport with two engine options. It is the same four-cylinder, 2.2-litre diesel engine tuned at – 147bhp and 187bhp mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox. We drove the ‘TD4’ version of the Discovery Sport which is a little less on power, and found it to be an SUV that’s quite well suited to average city and highway use, power deficit to rivals notwithstanding. Refinement level is typically Land Rover and power is delivered in a linear manner. It is no way a tyre-burning monster, but the performance is good enough for your spirited highway runs and city cruises.

 

The gearbox is very well mannered and works well, though the gear shifts aren’t as precise as other 8-speed units. Yes there are paddle shifters, should you wish to take matters into your own hands. So switch to sport mode and you are good to go.

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The Discovery Sport is an amazing vehicle to cruise around those long distance highway runs. The suspension seems tailor made for Indian road conditions with the perfect damping, reduced body roll, and a confidence inspiring, well weighted steering wheel. On imperfect roads, the Discovery Sport feels planted and outshines, the terrain response which comes standard does a mighty good job, giving you traction whenever needed, by working the steering, throttle, braking and centre coupling-based all-wheel-drive system for a variety of conditions. The Discovery Sport’s good approach, departure and ramp breakover angles, and impressive 600mm wading depth enable the agility and control.

 

They say if you want to go somewhere remote, buy a Land Rover, there is no doubt about its terrain handling capabilities, and driving dynamics are great enough to live with. It looks good, feels solidly put together and comes with plenty by way of goodies. You’ll also have little to complain about with the way it drives and rides.

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The Discovery Sport is priced at Rs 46.1 Lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai) and tops off at Rs 62.18 lakh for the top of the line 187 bhp version. On paper the Discovery Sport might look like a slouch but fret not, because for the money, you get an SUV which will tread any terrain and get you out of the worst of the mucky roads. Yes a major chunk of these cars might never see that sort of terrain but who knows, if you ever have to go there and come back, buy a Land Rover Discovery Sport.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Brand: Land Rover
Model: Discovery Sport
Variant: TD4 HSE

Price:  Rs. 48.6- Rs. 65.5 lakh(Ex-Showroom Mumbai)

 

Engine

Type: 2.2-litre 147.5bhp 16V TD4 Diesel Engine

Fuel: Diesel

Displacement: 2179cc

Power: 147.5bhp@4000rpm

Torque: 400Nm@1750rpm

Performance

Acceleration (0-100kmph): 10.3 seconds

Top Speed: 180kmph

Transmission

Layout: 4WD

Type: 9 speed Automatic

Dimensions

Length x width x height:4600x2173x1724mm

Wheelbase: 2741mm

Kerb Weight: NA

Ground clearance: 212mm

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