By Nauman Farooq
The Discovery name has been absent from Land Rover’s Canadian line up for over a decade, but now the name is back on a new vehicle that is based on a Range Rover!
Think of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport as a Range Rover Evoque for people who prefer less flash, and larger proportions - the latter comes courtesy of a 81 mm longer wheelbase. The added length doesn’t sound like much, but it was enough to allow Land Rover engineers to squeeze in a couple of extra seats. So, the Discovery Sport offers three rows of seats, although, the very last row should only ever be used by small children on short drives.
Realistically, the extra length provides more cargo space (with the third row of seats folded down), but the second row of seats can slide back and forth. So, if you use it as just a five passenger vehicle, the Discovery Sport is very practical.
It is comfortable too. Land Rover just seems to know more about comfort than its competitors, and hence the ride quality on the Disco Sport is just excellent. Quite a nice vehicle for trips out of town then. It doesn’t drink much petrol out on the road either. On the highway, I was averaging about 9.0 L/100 km. On a city and highway combined run, I averaged 10.3 L/100 km - that is really very good.
The reason this new Disco Sport is so efficient, is because of its drivetrain. The only engine offered on this model is a 2.0L, four-cylinder, turbocharged motor that produces 240 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all-wheels via a smooth and quick nine-speed automatic gearbox. For those who like to know about performance numbers, the 2017 Discovery Sport can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, while its top speed is electronically limited to 200 km/h. So, it is fast enough to offer some thrills, but speed is not what this vehicle is about.
Capability is what a Land Rover has always been about, especially when you need to go to an area where tarmac doesn’t exist.
This is where the Disco Sport really shines and leaves its competition behind, as it has a good ground clearance (212 mm), and it has proper off-road driving programs to help you get out of sticky situations like sand, mud, or rocks.
In the Canadian climate, for most drivers, it’ll be this vehicles ability to handle snow, and I have no doubt that the Disco Sport will be just excellent when Jack Frost shows up.
However, not everything about the Disco Sport is excellent. My biggest issue is with its touch screen infotainment system, which is quite difficult to work with when the vehicle is in
motion. I also couldn’t work out why there was only some red trim around the dashboard, but not anywhere else!
Then, there is the turbo-lag.
Put your foot down in it, and there is at times an agonizing delay from the time you ask it to accelerate till the time it does.
The nine-speed automatic causes issues also, as the vehicle spends its time deciding which gear would be best for you when you ask it to accelerate. I got so frustrated with this powertrain at times, that I’d put it in sport mode and use the steering wheel mounted pedal-shifters to go up and down the gears - this way I could control the progress a little better. All in all, the 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport is a fine vehicle for those looking for a practical vehicle that offers some prestige also.
Pricing starts from $42,790 - making it $7,200 cheaper than the base Range Rover Evoque.
Given how similar the two vehicles are, and that the Discovery Sport actually offers more practicality, the one to get is the one wearing the Land Rover badge!
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