The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a compact luxury crossover SUV that prioritizes off-road prowess over refinement.
Over the past 50 years, Land Rover has built its reputation on vehicles with unstoppable off-road capabilities. More recent times have seen the iconic British company turning out luxury SUVs that are more likely to be seen cruising Rodeo Drive than conquering the Serengeti. That said, the company has stayed true to its heritage of producing truly off-road-worthy rigs. The Land Rover Discovery Sport, the company's entry-level model, upholds that proud tradition and indeed provides more off-road ability than its luxury brand rivals.
Still, those shopping this popular segment are typically looking not only for brand cachet but spirited performance, a swanky cabin, and ample room for passengers and cargo. And the Discovery Sport is a mixed bag. The only engine, a turbocharged-four, looks competitive on paper with its rivals' base engines, the Rover doesn't move out with quite as much verve. That's probably due to its somewhat lazy nine-speed automatic transmission, which can be reluctant to step down a gear or two when a burst of acceleration is needed. Inside, there's respectable room for passengers, and even an available third seat (rare in this class) for added kid-toting capacity. However, the cabin, though well-constructed, lacks the upscale ambiance offered in competitors.
Current Land Rover Discovery SportThe Land Rover Discovery Sport compact luxury SUV is offered in three trim levels: SE, HSE and HSE Luxury. Standard highlights for the SE include Land Rover's Terrain Response system (that changes vehicle settings to suit a given surface), a rearview camera and four USB charging ports. Stepping up to the HSE brings added perks such as keyless entry and ignition, a panoramic sunroof and leather upholstery. The key features of the HSE Luxury include unique exterior accents, upgraded upholstery and smartphone app integration.
Every Discovery Sport is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 240 horsepower that is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard across the board as well. Combined fuel economy is rated at about 22 mpg.
In reviews, our staff had mixed feelings about the Land Rover Discovery Sport. The spacious passenger and cargo areas drew praise, as did the junior Land Rover's above-average abilities when traveling off-road or while negotiating foul-weather driving conditions. Certainly those practical traits are admirable. But the SUV's relatively tepid performance and the lack of other engine options, as well as the cabin's lack of a luxury vibe, drew a collective thumbs-down.
Used Land Rover Discovery Sport ModelsThe Land Rover Discovery Sport debuted for the 2015 model year. The few notable changes for the following year included remote locking, unlocking and starting capability for the InControl Remote app. For the 2017 model year, the infotainment system featured a larger screen and faster response, and an adaptive suspension system became available.