Land Rover is one of the oldest four-wheel drive vehicle manufacturers in the world, developing one of the most capable SUVs that money can buy. The British automaker first launched the Discovery in 1989, which shared underpinnings with the flagship Range Rover. Today the Land Rover Discovery is in its fourth generation and is called the Discovery 4 (LR4 in the US). The Land Rover Discovery has got several awards including the best large SUV in the world. This 7-seater SUV is quite capable and benefits from Land Rover design and technology. It is available in India with a TDV6 diesel engine, making it an formidable alternative in the full sized SUV space.
EXTERIORS AND STYLE
The Discovery Sport has a lot of similarity in styling to an Evoque. Many onlookers even asked if this is the new Evoque and we realised that in colours like white and silver, one could mistake the Discovery Sport as a Range Rover Evoque. Once, the new model year Evoque makes its way into India, we shall note that there is a major difference between the two. To speak of the styling, it has a sleek front grille with pulled back headlamps and DISCOVERY embossed above the grille stating that this is a part of the Discovery family. Land Rover has discontinued the Freelander2 and this is its replacement. There will three families under the Land Rover brand, Range Rover, Discovery and Defender.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the newest member of the Discovery family and it is based on a new platform, which will be used for more Discovery products in the near future. The side profile of the Discovery Sport has a sloping roof, a design that is similar to that of new-generation Land Rovers. The Land Rover design DNA has been retained the clamshell bonnet and the floating roof. The Discovery Sport is certainly a looker.
INTERIORS AND SPACE
Though LR officials said that the new RR Sport has 75 per cent unique parts compared to the current generation Range Rover, the moment I step into the cabin there is a strong air of familiarity. The crisscrossing vertical and horizontal dashboard configuration and the mix of round and rectangular elements is an obvious carry forward from the Range Rover. There is a choice of two tone or three tone leather seats, with adjustments to suit every body type and there is also a range of wood veneers to choose from. The seats are super comfy, with the soft pillow like headrests almost luring me to sit in the car for longer.
There is enough and more headroom and legroom in the front two seats and the second row. If you flip the open the third row with its oversized, whiplash protected headrests, it can at best accommodate kids or teenagers. Particularly pleasing additions were the ‘felt’ roof lining, the panoramic sunroof (we were test driving the new Sport during the sunniest days of the year in the UK – a sweltering 32 degrees), the automatic terrain response interface, the Meridian audio and the LCD instrument display that replaces the traditional dials.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The Discovery Sport gets the same 2.0-litre turbo petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines as the Freelander2. The Discovery Sport is lighter than the Freelander2 and hence it has much better performance also. The Freelander2 was based on a Ford-designed EUCD platform, which it even shares it with other Volvos as well. The new-generation Land Rovers are utilising in-house technology and this is helping them to become independent and at the same time even moving away it’s synergies from its previous owner Ford Motor Company.
The Discovery Sport’s diesel engine is offered in states of tune, one is 148bhp and the second is 188bhp. These are mated to a nine-speed transmission. We have driven the five-seater 188bhp version. The engine noise is fairly low and the NVH levels are at par with competition. The power that this engine produces is good enough and what we appreciate is the instant response from the engine. There is sufficient power on tap to overtake but no V6 Diesel option on offer that some of the competition offers as well. So if we compare apples to apples the Discovery Sport is at par with competition.
Driving in city or the highway you won’t run out of steam. There is sufficient grunt in the engine and makes it easy to drive. Ideally drive it in D mode, the S mode is when you want to sprint ahead but the difference isn’t anything major. In D the engine is comfortable as it is mostly in its power band and this is sufficient to drive.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Through its stability control systems, the Land Rover Discovery limits itself to a fairly sensible pace on the Alpine Hill Route. The car’s challenges here are not just that it is tall and heavy, but also that it has hybrid road/off-road tyres, whereas rivals use less compromised rubber.
However, the chassis electronics include good understeer control and you very quickly identify how much speed the car can securely carry through corners and simply drive to that pace, which would be far from restrictive for anyone on the road. Body control, although better than it used to be, remains decidedly loose when push comes to shove.
You can’t totally disengage the car’s stability control, but you can ramp down its sensitivity if you want. There is little to be gained from doing so, though. The car’s at-the-limit handling is stable at all times, but driving it hard on the road plainly isn’t what it’s engineered for.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
All trim levels come with eight airbags and automatic emergency braking, which (as it says on the tin) means the car can automatically hit the brakes if it senses you’re about to hit the person in front – even if they’re on foot.
Upgrade to HSE trim and you’ll also get a driver condition monitor, traffic sign recognition (the speed limit of the road you’re driving down is displayed on the dashboard), a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross traffic alert. The latter warns you of approaching vehicles when you’re backing out onto a road.
All three rows of seats have Isofix mounting points, a point noted by Euro NCAP when it awarded the Discovery the maximum five stars in its crash test. If you look at the individual categories, the Discovery isn’t as good as the XC90 or the Q7 for adult or child protection, but outscores them both when it comes to protecting pedestrians.
The Discovery is a good SUV with many strengths, but that doesn’t mean it stands above its competitors. There are other luxury midsize SUVs that are plenty athletic. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport has powerful engine options and is one of the few SUVs in the class that can match the Discovery’s off-road abilities. If you like the Discovery’s luxurious interior, you might be interested in the Volvo XC90, which delivers excellent cargo space, plenty of technology, and possibly the most comfortable seats in the class.
Land Rover Discovery Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 68,05,000/- (Discovery S Petrol) to 1,02,86,000/- (Discovery First Edition Diesel) .Land Rover Discovery has 10 Variants of Petrol are available in India. Land Rover Discovery comes in 10 colours, namely Fuji White,Baltic Blue,Firenze Red,Indus Silver,Nara Bronze,Bali Blue,Siberian Silver,Ipanema Sand,Marmaris Teal,Santorini Black.