Land Rover Discovery Sport L550 (2014-present): Review, Problems, Specs

Don't be fooled by the name, the Discovery Sport has nothing in common with the Discovery, known as the LR3/LR4 in the United States. Launched in early 2015, the Discovery Sport has replaced the Freelander/LR2 as the brand's entry-level model. One of the few compact SUVs that offer the option of seven seats, the Discovery Sport also delivers excellent off-road capabilities and a fresh design, both inside and out. The SUV is also one of the first models to feature Jaguar Land Rover's new "Ingenium" family of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel modular engines.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Excellent off-road capabilities
  • Big on space and practicality
  • Attractive exterior and interior design
  • Economical diesel engine (in Europe)

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Cramped third-row seats
  • Only one engine choice (U.S.)

Stay Away From
  • Early models equipped with 2.2-liter diesel (Europe)
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • No recalls or problems reported so far.
Car Details
Powertrain

The Land Rover Discovery Sport offers a single engine option in the United States – a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline unit rated at 240 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a standard nine-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels, the engine offers the Discovery Sport decent acceleration, although the SUV is slightly slower than similarly-powered rivals from 0 to 60 mph (7.8 seconds). Still, the 2.0-liter turbo four offers enough power for most buyers in most situations. Europe also gets a 2.0-liter turbodiesel with 150 PS.


Handling

The Discovery Sport shares underpinnings with the Range Rover Evoque, which means it's fun to drive on the asphalt. The SUV feels very stable on twisty roads, thanks to a well-balanced suspension and an accurate steering. While it doesn't feel quite as nimble as the Evoque, the Discovery Sport delivers an enjoyable driving experience. Off-road, the compact SUV is one of the most capable in the segment thanks to the all-wheel drive system controlled by Terrain Response, as well as the standard hill descent control and hill start assist systems.


Safety

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS assessed the Discovery Sport yet. However, the Euro NCAP crash-tested it in 2014 and gave it an overall five-star rating. The compact SUV also gained the "Best in Class" label that year in the Small Off-Road category. Euro NCAP gave the Discovery Sport a 93 percent score for adult occupant protection, 83 percent for child occupant protection, 69 percent for pedestrian protection and 82 percent for safety assist systems. Standard features include ABS, stability and traction control, seven airbags, a rearview camera, and parking sensors.

Comfort

The Discovery Sport's suspension setup is a bit on the firm side, but you won't feel any discomfort if you stay away from the optional 20-inch wheels. The ride is comfortable and refined most of the time, but can get a bit bumpy on poorly-maintained surfaces. The compact SUV has spacious, very comfortable front seats. Finding an ideal driving position is simple for most body types, and the gauges and controls are easy to reach and intuitive to operate. There aren't any visibility issues.


Quality

The cabin has a conservative, robust design and features high-quality materials. The upright dashboard is simple and pragmatic, with two areas: a horizontal one grouping the central touchscreen and the instrument panel, and a vertical one consisting of the center console where most buttons are. The materials used inside look good and are pleasing to touch – particularly the plush leather upholstery found on top trim levels.


Practicality

The Discovery Sport is one of the most practical and versatile models in this segment, despite the fact that it has a more compact footprint than most five-seat 4x4s. Front passengers have plenty of leg, shoulder and head room, while the second row of seats can slide or tilt for extra comfort. The seats' 60/40 split also helps versatility and can be set at different distances to make trips comfortable for one or two passengers with long legs. The third row of seats can be used by adults only for short trips, though, as space is tight. Trunk capacity is 60 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded flat.


Infotainment

All Land Rover Discovery Sport models come equipped as standard with an infotainment system consisting of an 8-inch touchscreen and a 5-inch color TFT Driver Information Center. The touchscreen offers an improved interface that controls climate, audio, phone, and navigation functions, as well as InControl apps. The system works well, with a smartphone-like functionality, but is rendered superfluous sometimes by the accompanying physical buttons. Standard equipment also includes a 10-speaker audio system, four USB ports for front- and second-row passengers, and an Aux port.

Efficiency

The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine is EPA-rated at 22 mpg combined (20 mpg city/26 mpg highway) in standard four-wheel drive configuration, which makes it slightly less efficient than rivals. The most economical Discovery Sport model can be found in Europe, where Land Rover offers a 2.0-liter diesel with 150 PS, which averages just 4.7 l/100 km in front-wheel drive configuration with six-speed manual transmission and as low as 4.9 l/100 km in all-wheel drive configuration with the same gearbox.


Equipment

The 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport is offered with three trim levels (SE, HSE, and HSE Lux) in the United States. Equipment is generous on all grades, with the base SE including 18-inch wheels, heated power-folding lateral mirrors, automatic headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. The list of standard features is completed by cruise control, dual-zone climate control system, partial leather upholstery, and a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, among other things.


Acquisition

The entry-level 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport SE is priced from $37,455 in the United States (excluding $995 destination). This makes it a competitor for premium compact SUVs like the Lexus NX 200t ($34,965), Volvo XC60 ($36,600) or BMW X3 ($38,950). Compared with these models, the Discovery Sport has the advantage of versatility (the seven-seat option) and off-road expertise. Another competitor comes from Land Rover's own back yard – the Range Rover Evoque. However, the latter model caters to a different type of customer, one that cares more for luxury and refinement than practicality and versatility.

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