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2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport Test Drive

2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Eventually, the long-awaited Land Rover Discovery Sport, aimed at replacing the unpopular and outdated LR2, has become available. Can it be a rival to other representatives of the entry-luxury SUVs? We’ll see.

Exterior

The Discovery Sport is very much alike the Range Rover Evoque that’s why it’s impossible not to compare them. The new Discovery Sport is longer than its precursor, the LR2 (by 3.7 in), and the Evoque (by 9 in). It provides more headroom and better outward visibility than the Evoque due to less aggressive roofline. As Land Rover affirms, the new model has improved aerodynamic characteristics and insulation. Buyers can choose the new Discovery Sport out of 9 colours: Santorini Black, Fuji White, Indus Silver, Corris Grey, Scotia Grey, Kaikoura Stone, Loire Blue, Firenze Red, and Yulong White.

The remarkable feature is that the Discovery Sport’s platform is made of steel and aluminium combined with boron steel that make it much more lightweight but incredibly strong at the same time.

Interior

The 2016 Discovery Sport’s cabin is fit for a king. It’s trimmed with excellent-quality materials – genuine leather and metal elements. Multi-zone climate control and adjustable mood lighting will make the journey pleasant and comfortable. The car’s infotainment system now includes the InControl system. Yes, it got an 8-in touchscreen of stylish design but the system flaws remained – it’s unresponsive.

A front-seat passenger feels unbelievably comfortable sitting in a highly supportive, heated seat. Although the second-row seats cannot fold flat, they are commodious (that seems more important to us). There’s the third row in the Discovery Sport. However, these seats are considered to be children’s. First: it’s difficult to access them; second: there’s little legroom; third: they’re placed so high that there isn’t enough headroom for a tall person. That’s why the Discovery Sport is a 5+2-seater (5 adults and 2 children can be accommodated here).

Driving Performance

The 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport test drive was carried out by the HSE Lux model although there are also the SE and the HSE. Like the Evoque, the Discovery Sport is powered by a 2-litre 4-cylinder 240 hp turbocharged engine producing 250 lb-ft of torque and being paired with the ZF 9-speed automatic transmission. It’s built by Ford especially for Land Rover. The auto offers four driving modes: default, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand, and Mud and Ruts.

The ZF transmission still causes some inconveniences as it was with the Jeep Cherokee. It downshifts with a pause (it seems a few seconds are needed to change gear) while upshift is accompanied with a jerk. Regarding this, whether 9-speed automatic transmission is better than 6-speed one remains doubtful.

While the Discovery Sport’s powertrain is needed to be improved, its chassis are way better than in other autos. The body is made of steel except for the fenders, hood, roof, and tailgate that are aluminium. During the Land Rover Discovery Sport test drive on icy, bumpy off-road terrain in Iceland, the car never shattered. Can you imagine what pleasure to drive it on paved roads is? It goes very quietly (redesigned rear suspension, special hydraulic bump stops, and acoustic windshield provide better insulation) and smoothly.

The Haldrex All-Wheel-Drive system let the Discovery Sport perform perfectly well even on slippery hills where some other SUVs would slide sideways.

The Verdict

The SUV market has been replenished by the Land Rover Discovery Sport, a model that can easily rival the Jeep Cherokee, Ford Explorer as well as the Subaru Outback, with which it’s flooded.

Although there are quite few changes in its exterior look, the system it runs on has been reconstructed. As a result, it’s roomier, more agile, better insulated, can easily cope with poor terrain, and has the third seat row. However, its infotainment system as well as gear shift are somewhat slow and the third row can accommodate only kids.

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