A few months ago Land Rover invited the international media to Iceland to experience its new entry level SUV, the Discovery Sport. The stage was set – fantastic scenery for spectacular photo ops and challenging terrain to show off the Landie’s off-road prowess. Not to mention hot springs and bits of reindeer cooked in interesting ways.
Party’s over. Now it’s time for this newcomer to prove its metal in the toughest of environments – the urban and suburban jungle. Sexy Icelandic moonscapes are all well and good, but how will the Disco fare disco-ing down to Loblaws? Or Boogie Oogie Oogie-ing on over to the YMCA? Will it do the bump on the notoriously crappy Rebecca Road here in Oakville? And does its little turbo four-pot have what it takes to Do the Hustle on those crazy freeway onramps?
Hey, come back. No more lame disco song references, I promise. Not.
With a starting of price $41,490 for the Discovery Sport SE, Land Rover is making it a bit easier for the everyman to buy into this storied marque. There are two subsequent trim levels – the Sport HSE at $46,490 and tested here, the $49,990 Sport HSE Luxury.
The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport replaces the not-particularly-loved LR2. Built on a modified version of the Range Rover Evoque’s platform, it sees an 8-mm wheelbase stretch, is 24 cm longer overall, and gets a more compact multi-link rear suspension instead of the Evoque’s strut setup. The latter allows for the optional third row that gives the Discovery Sport a leg up on its closest competitors with available 5+2 seating. Without the third row there is some under floor storage above the spare wheel.
Power comes from the Evoque’s Ford-derived 2.0L turbocharged four that generates 240 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. All four wheels are driven through a nine-speed ZF automatic transmission and Haldex AWD coupling.
Gerry McGovern and his design team have done a terrific job here. Having just been At the Car Wash, the taut flanks of the Disco state unequivocally, We Are Family. It looks handsome, purposeful and unmistakably Land Rover from any angle. The blacked out D-pillar and resulting “floating roof” is a cool touch. This HSE Luxury gets a few extra flourishes like script and trim in Atlas Silver, “Noble” plated door handles and special 19-inch 9-Split Spoke alloys, although this tester was fitted with optional 20-inch rolling stock ($1,500).
For its tidy size, interior packaging is excellent. Much of this can be attributed to the Disco’s upright architecture. The 40/20/40 second row slides and reclines, and unlike like its Evoque sibling, the Discovery Sport delivers masses of headroom and good visibility all around.
Similarly, hatch space is wide and unencroached by intrusions or a sloping roofline. The second row seats fold down easily and are nearly flat. This tester didn’t have the optional third row, but other reviews suggest they are only suitable for smaller humanoids. As would be expected.