Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE 2.0 TD4

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Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE 2.0 TD4

4 X 4 - Automatic - Diesel

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Review of "Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE 2.0 TD4"

published 27/06/2015 | RICHADA
Member since : 20/06/2004
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Good
Pro Badge. Space. Style.
Cons Handling. Performance. Ride.
exceptional
Value for Money
Road Handling
Comfort
Features
Fuel consumption

"RICHADA MAKING A SPORTING DISCOVERY?"

Very Evoque like from the front three-quarter.

Very Evoque like from the front three-quarter.

WHAT IS IT?

The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is a replacement for Land Rover’s long running Freelander model, sold since 1997, the baby of their range. Whilst unloved in some quarters, the Freelander was successful from a sales point of view, and from pretty poor beginnings, evolved into a decent car when it entered Series 2 production in 2006. It ceased production in late 2014, to be replaced by this car, the Discovery Sport, launched at the beginning of 2015.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is what the Americans would refer to as a compact “SUV” i.e. Sport Utility Vehicle. It is a five door hatchback and has seven seats as standard equipment, the rear two folding flush into the boot floor.

Currently all Discovery Sports are four wheel drive, following the Freelander and current Evoque, I foresee an identical looking front wheel drive version entering the market at a lower price point (and reduced CO2 emissions) in the none too far distant future.

WILL IT FIT YOUR GARAGE?

In all probability, yes – as one who garages his car, a definite plus for me that.

The Freelander got us acclimatised to the idea of a modern, small Land Rover and although this one carries the Discovery badge, it is considerably smaller than that car.

The Discovery Sport is 4599mm long and 2173mm wide (2069 with the door mirrors folded in). It is 1724mm high and weighs in at 1744kg unladen. With a car such as this, its class leading towing capacity of 2200kg may be a useful statistic for you.

As a comparison, a Volvo XC60 is 4627mm long, 2120mm wide and 1713mm high.

To give the uninitiated some sense of scale here, a current model Ford Focus Estate is 4556mm long and 2010mm wide – these “enormous” SUV’s really aren’t as large as you thought are they?

WHICH SPECIFIC MODEL?

The specific model that I am reviewing here is the Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Black. Powered by the 180bhp version of the new 2.0 litre Ingenium engine, this is a standalone model in the range.

You can buy a Discovery Sport from £30,695 for a six speed manual, 163bhp SE model, and pay up to £43,000 for the 180bhp HSE Luxury model with the automatic gearbox.

When driving any new range of cars I always try to start at the bottom of the range, unfortunately Land Rover were unable to offer me an SE model Discovery Sport to drive with a manual gearbox, a pity as, from experience, I know that the Range Rover Evoque, equipped with the manual, six speed Getrag made gearbox, is a very good drive, that with the much older 2.2, Ford sourced, diesel engine under the bonnet. The manual gearbox is available in all other models of Discovery Sport, apart from the one reviewed here which is only available with the 9 speed automatic gearbox.

The knowledgeable, or eagle eyed, reader may by now have realised that these new Ingenium engines are shared with the new Jaguar XE and will soon go into both the Range Rover Evoque and soon to be launched Jaguar XF replacement.

IN WHAT CAPACITY AM I REVIEWING THIS CAR?

If you believe that in order to review a car you need to own it, please stop reading now!

One of my less onerous tasks in business is that of fleet manager, purchasing, maintaining and disposing of the Company’s small fleet of cars. This gives me access to a very wide range of cars during the average year as well as an invite to the annual Company Car in Action event at the Millbrook Testing Ground. Those who read either Autocar or What Car will probably be aware that all of their testing is carried out at this very comprehensive, purpose built facility. Those who would argue that you cannot, fully, evaluate a car at such an event have never driven at Millbrook.

I have now run my Subaru Legacy for seven years and, after 92,000 very enjoyable miles, have an awful dilemma as to what to replace it with. So good has that car been, that it has occurred to me that, come the day, maybe I should seek a completely different alternative to the compact, four wheel drive, sports saloon that I am used to driving. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is one serious contender, as a supplier to Jaguar Land Rover, nothing would please me more than to be driving one of their products. First and foremost though I am a keen driver – a notorious anti-brand snob too, come the day I will purchase the best car for the job, given a budget, irrespective of the badge on its boot!

COSTS:

Land Rover owners are a hugely diverse bunch, from school run mums through proper farmers to the landed gentry. Royalty even. Rugged as they are, even the simple old 110’s – the traditional Land Rover – will at some stage require garage attention and those are so simple that often a local blacksmith can patch them up and keep them running.

However, that is not going to be the case with any modern Land Rover, packed with technology, mechanical and electronic – a Discovery Sport is as sophisticated as a 110 is simple. Into the future, and these cars are built to last, relatively high running costs will be a fact of ownership.

At Group 36 (of 50), this car will cost more than I anticipated to insure. An equivalent Volvo XC-60 is in group 28 or 29, depending on the exact trim level.

For company car drivers, this specific model has a CO2 rating of 139g/kg; costing a 40% tax payer £342 per month in Benefit in Kind taxation. This compares to a monthly figure of £282 for a more powerful, but less expensive, less polluting Volvo XC60 D4 R-Design Lux Nav AWD Geartronic.

PURCHASE COST 6 / 10

By good luck, rather than judgement, we experienced this car some days prior to actually researching the price list.

We have enjoyed driving in Land Rovers and Range Rovers at Millbrook for many years and have become adept at guessing, give or take a couple of thousand pounds, what you would pay for a new one. It may be that I am more out of touch with up to date car prices than I thought, but I had this particular car pigeonholed in the £30,000 to £35,000 bracket.

At £41,250, I felt that this HSE Black model was very ambitiously priced indeed. It simply lacks the look and feel of a car with a list price of over £40,000, especially so when you look at a similarly priced Range Rover Evoque or Volvo XC-60.

Obviously there is better value to be had elsewhere in the Discovery Sport range, but this is the car that I am reviewing here and, in my eyes at least, it is over-priced.

THE OPTIONS GAME: 7 / 10


Or “How much do I need to spend to make it habitable?”

At this price I would not expect to pay for any options on this car at all. However if you want this car any other colour than black, then you are going to have to pay more for it. The car reviewed here is finished in metallic Firenze red (£600), which does look good with the gloss black roof and wheels.

Inside “our” car was an optional (£225) black headlining, making it feel quite claustrophobic, so maybe better saving the money and staying with the paler, standard fit, one.

Most owners of a car like this are likely to want the facility to tow – factor in £675 for a factory fit detachable tow bar, or keep your hands clean and spend £950 on a nifty electrically retracting one.

As an exercise, I just chose the car in my favourite colour (on this car) Phoenix Orange – a £1700 option - and specified it with all the options from the list, which, money no object I would have on “my” Discovery Sport. The fantasy, for that is what it is, invoice comes to £52,583

DEPRECIATION 8 / 10


Always the biggest running cost.

As in the Purchase Cost category above, the depreciation sweet-spot will lie elsewhere within the Discovery Sport range. Add in the £10,000 worth of options above and you will end up with a car that actually depreciates very quickly indeed.

Again, on grounds of depreciation, I could not recommend a Discovery Sport HSE Black.

FUEL ECONOMY 7 / 10

The economy figures posted for this brand new model look impressive. You do not need me to tell you that the government average 53.3mpg will be unattainable in the real world, but for a car of this type and weight it is impressive. In the real world probably budget on 42mpg and with its 65 litre (14.3 gallon) tank you can expect a range of 600 miles between fill ups. Again, dare I say it, but the Volvo XC-60 trumps it in this category too.

SERVICE & MAINTENANCE COSTS 10 / 10:

Bearing in mind current servicing costs, Land Rover’s Service Plan, covering the first 50,000 miles or five annual services for £499, looks like extraordinarily good value for money to me.

THE EXTERIOR: STYLING 9 / 10:

A very subjective category here.

When it comes to cars I am firmly in the substance over style camp, valuing the way a car drives and its capabilities over the way it looks. Until, arguably, launching the fashion statement Evoque – which genuinely is as good to drive as admire, Land Rover had prioritised engineering over styling. Having seen the runaway success of the Evoque, there was a certain inevitability about the styling of the new Discovery Sport, it just looks thoroughly desirable without turning a wheel.

Whilst many purists would tell you that, with cars such as this, and the Evoque, selling on style, Land Rover have sold out to the masses, I actually maintain that they are using the profitability generated to work on future advanced engineering products – at least, having now experienced the Discovery Sport on the road, I hope that is what they are doing!

The HSE Black model is the most overtly stylish in the range, treading a fine line between bling and exclusivity with its black roof panel and matching wheels. This however is NOT the Discovery Sport model that I would choose, preferring a more discreet finish on such a car, although it does look best in the £1700 optional Phoenix Orange paintwork toned down by standard steel coloured alloy wheels and a body coloured roof.

The Discovery Sport is a very handsome car, very much like an Evoque from the front, but with a more purposeful, utilitarian rear end that has been stylishly integrated, cleverly not looking as though two different people designed it. Very many of these, just like the Evoque, will sell on looks alone.

OVERALL BUILD QUALITY AND FINISH 10 / 10


Does it look as though it was slung together?

Once again, a top notch British built product here, in no way looking slung together.

Millbrook is a useful exercise in car evaluation in so many ways, one of which is being able to compare models like for like for consistency of build and paint finish. The entire fleet of Discovery Sports here all appeared to share the same, hewn from solid, build quality to them, all had superb paint finishes too.

SAFETY 6 / 10


If it comes to the worst, how well are you and your family going to come out of it?

I have lost count of the number of different cars that I have driven on the circuits at Millbrook over the last twenty years or so, but it tends to be the ones that scare me that I remember most. To be fair to Land Rover, the Discovery Sport is in no way intended to be a track car, but one has to compare it not only to other Land Rovers, especially the similarly priced Evoque, but also to less expensive competitors such as the Volvo XC-60.

Neither my wife, in the passenger seat, or I at the wheel felt entirely safe in this car. Unusual in this day and age is the feeling of a high centre of gravity, the full sized Discovery, in which you sit considerably higher, managed not to throw us about, the Volvo XC-60 (and XC-90’s old and new) felt totally safe and unflappable on the twisty and climbing corners at Millbrook. It probably would hold on, but from the drivers seat I got the distinctly unnerving impression that, at speeds that the other cars mentioned took the corners quite comfortably, this one would topple over.

THE INTERIOR:

There are few nicer places to be than the interior of a modern Land or Range Rover product. You may think it odd that I lump them in together like that, as Jaguar Land Rover have gone all out to split the image of Land Rover and Range Rover, into utility and luxury vehicles. With the Discovery Sport they have failed woefully to do this, the Range Rover Evoque DNA here is far too strong, and, as it turns out, that is entirely to this car’s benefit.

ERGONOMICS 8 / 10


Before I can start the engine and drive away I need to feel at home in the “working environment”. The relationship between the controls and how I, the driver, am able to instinctively operate those controls is all important. This for me is make or break, before I drive a car, if it does not instinctively “feel” right in this department then I will never like it or, ultimately, buy it.

The static, showroom if you like, impression is that this is a very well designed interior. This model has fully, electrically, adjustable seats and as with any Land Rover product, finding my ideal driving position is childsplay. The basic relationship between the steering wheel, pedals and gear knob are spot on.

Beyond that, other controls are rather more intuitive to use on this car than many others driven too, I did not feel the need to have spent the previous evening reading the handbook before pressing the Start button for the first time.

Why then only an 8/10 score?

On the move, I found myself thrown about far too much in the leather seat. Comfortable, upright and bucketed though it is, through the corners I was sliding from side to side on it, which had an adverse affect on the relationship between myself and the cars controls.

VISIBILITY: 8 / 10

The front and side view, as with any Land Rover product is peerless. The Command driving position is legendary in these cars and for good reason.

As with the rest of the range, the downside comes when you wish to reverse it. The rear window line is high and your visibility restricted. As with other manufacturers Land Rover offer you a cheat in the guise of a superb rear view camera (thanks to the best dashboard screen currently on the market) and essential reverse park radar.

SPACE: 10 / 10:

This is the Discovery Sport’s most outstanding feature. This, compact car will seat seven people, five in comfort, plus a couple in the rear seats which fold out of the boot floor – and even leave you some luggage space behind that!

Up front you do not feel in any way constricted for space, the huge panoramic glass roof even increases this sense of space, but with the blind closed the tallest driver will have no issue with head room.

The centre row of rear seats are equally spacious and offer very good head and leg room. The rearmost two seats are more restricted both for head and leg room, but would be more than adequate to seat a couple of younger teenagers.

STYLE 10 / 10:

I have not sat in a Land Rover or Range Rover designed in the last 10 years that I did not admire the style of inside. This one blends aspects of the completely practical full-size Discovery with the style of the Evoque, which, to my eyes, probably has the best interior on the market.

The car reviewed here had an all-black leather interior, beige and grey are also available, my preference would be for beige, but the black may well be regarded by most as more practical in a vehicle like this.

MATERIALS, FIT & FINISH 8 / 10:


Aspreys or Ratners?

Once upon a time, in British Leyland days, Land Rover produced some pretty shoddy and surprisingly fragile car interiors, the first Discovery model amongst them. Those days are two decades behind them now and this is a thoroughly well made car interior.........

.......or, so you would think until you take it out onto the road.

The car that we drove, bearing in mind that £42,000+ price sticker, suffered from the most awfully annoying creaking squeak coming from the centre of the dashboard – this on a brand new factory demonstrator. It was so bad that I actually mentioned it to the Jaguar Land Rover staff on returning the car to them. The question begs to be asked here; if a brand new one is like this, how many squeaks and rattles will it have three years and 36,000 miles down the road – possibly after some light off-road use even?

AUDIO & CLIMATE CONTROL SYSTEMS 9 / 10:


Strange grouping?

I prefer Land Rover’s solution to this over Jaguar’s in the new XE. The systems are the same behind the fascia, and work well. However, here in the Discovery Sport, the climate controls are bigger, simpler, and more intuitive to use. They also have a perfect tactile quality to their weighting.

Infotainment will vary slightly according to the options specified, but this is a complex system, the central screen covering all functions from radio, through phone to satellite navigation (standard). It is actually a split screen allowing, for instance, sat nav and radio controls to be used at the same time. This is latest current technology and the clarity of this screen is second to none.

ON THE ROAD……

……Time to press the START button and to offer you a driving assessment.

NOISE, VIBRATION & HARSHNESS 8 / 10


Silk purse or sow’s ear?

The Ingenium engine, or a version of it, featured in this car, will find its way into virtually all Jaguar and Land Rover models over the coming years. Having driven it in both this Discovery Sport and the new Jaguar XE I can tell you that it is an engine bordering on perfection in refinement terms.

The old cliché that you would never know that it is a diesel is absolutely true here. There is no vibration or diesel rattle, it revs far more freely and smoothly (just as well in this case!) than any other diesel engine that I have ever driven. All that taken into account though, its character suits far better the svelte, sporting saloon car that is the XE, rather better than it does this Land Rover.

Call me perverse, but in a real sense I have an expectation of having a feel of something mechanical going on under the bonnet of a Land Rover badged car, the Evoque it will suit just fine.

Road noise and wind noise are impressively well subdued, only the interior creaks really spoiled the overall sense of refinement here.

PERFORMANCE 6 / 10


Sh*t off a shovel or a constipated tortoise?

With 180bhp and a nine speed automatic gearbox, I was expecting rather more of the Discovery Sport.

The free revving nature of the Ingenium engine sees the gearbox working its way up and down through those nine gears like a shot. So smooth are the changes that, without the revcounter constantly dancing about you would be unaware that this was happening.

However this is a heavy car, although it does not feel so to drive, being aware that 180bhp is at your disposal, it does not feel very quick at all and in this case (unlike in the Jaguar XE) I would recommend spending the extra money on the 180bhp version, I can only imagine the 163bhp model feeling quite limp.

This car is a seven seater, I have only driven it with a front seat passenger, with five people seated behind us, with a resultant all-up weight approaching 2.2 tonnes, I can only imagine the performance becoming quite pedestrian, with that in mind I would question the 2.2 tonne towing capacity too – just don’t get stuck behind one of these down a country B road!.

RIDE & HANDLING 6 / 10

This was the only car driven this year in which my wife said she felt car sick.

Whilst expecting any Land Rover product to be a well-honed compromise between on road driving dynamics and being able to exceed any ordinary drivers’ skills off-road, the Discovery Sport left me disappointed in this respect, rather more the handling than the ride.

Whilst certain that this car would leave the competition trailing in its wake when taken off road, I have not driven it thus, and in my ordinary, everyday life, I have no intention of off-roading anyway, just like the vast majority of owners of these cars.

I have driven all of the modern Land Rovers and Range Rovers here at Millbrook; the standard (full size) Discovery proving amazingly adept in its handling and ride – especially for such a big car. All three (two automatics and a manual gearbox) Range Rover Evoques too proved to be not only fun to drive on the challenging Alpine circuit, but also to isolate you well from some of the (deliberately) awful surfaces here.

The Discovery Sport, in isolation, rides very comfortably indeed, especially in a straight line. However, drive it through tight corners at a speed that a Volvo XC-60 or a Ford Mondeo will handle with aplomb and the Discovery Sport will have you backing off as you feel as though you are being thrown about too much. Unlike any Land Rover recently driven, this car actually feels as though it has a high centre of gravity, an Evoque simply stays four square and handles the bends with distain – in this Discovery Sport you would be quite simply unable to keep up the same pace.

I simply expect more of a car with the word “Sport” so prominently in its title, even one wearing a Land Rover badge.

There may be an argument in favour of a manual gearbox here, this allowing more control of the car into and through the bends, but the car reviewed here – the 180bhp HSE Black - is only available as an automatic.

CONCLUSION

Would I buy one myself and would we want to drive it to Poland in a day?
No, and no again.

Whilst very much recognising that cars are not a one size fits all purchase, as something of a Land Rover / Range Rover fan, my own lottery win car of choice would be a Range Rover Sport, I was very disappointed with the stylish new Discovery Sport.

In so many ways I wanted to like it, and of all their current model range felt that this car should suit me the best. That it didn’t will go down as the motoring disappointment of 2015. The fact that the less expensive (automatic too) Volvo XC-60 D4, hardly a new design now, proved so much better, driven on identical roads back to back with this car, was the biggest shock in my recent motoring memory.

FINAL SCORE: 136 / 170

I am quite surprised, on this occasion, that the Discovery Sport HSE Black scores as highly as it does. In terms of desirability several cars with lower scores on the list below are both better to drive and more comfortable to travel in – especially the very much cheaper Subaru Forester.

Putting that score into perspective are the following cars based on identical scoring criteria:

AUDI A4 2.0TFSi SLine – 71.1%
AUDI A6 2.0TDie SE – 74.4%
FORD KUGA 2.0 TDCi TITANIUM - 64.7%
HONDA ACCORD i-DECT EX GT (2008 Model) Saloon - 69.4%
JAGUAR XE 163PS PRESTIGE – 88.2%
JAGUAR XF 3.0D PREMIUM LUXURY – 82.9%
JAGUAR XF 2.2 SE 163BHP – 81.8%
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT – 80.0%

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4 HSE (2012 Model) – 88.2%
MASERATI GHIBLI 3.0D V6 – 74.7%
SUBARU OUTBACK 2.0D RE - 85.3%
SUBARU LEGACY 2.0D RE SALOON – 85.8%
SUBARU FORESTER D XC PREMIUM CVT – 77.6%
TOYOTA PRIUS T-SPIRIT – 85.8%
VW PASSAT TDi 140 S ESTATE - 71.7%

(c) RICHADA CIAO 27.06.2015

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This review was read 1582 times and was rated at
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Comments on this review

  • 2mennycds published 17/09/2015
    Brilliant as ever! I definitely need more Es to be able to give!
  • xKatieeex published 03/09/2015
    I always thought leather seats were a weird choice for cars
  • danielclark691 published 14/08/2015
    fantastic review as always
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Product Information : Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE 2.0 TD4

Manufacturer's product description

4 X 4 - Automatic - Diesel

Product Details

Manufacturer: Land Rover

Range: Land Rover Discovery

Body Type: 4 X 4

Range + Engine Type: 2.0

Transmission type: Automatic

Fuel Type: Diesel

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