Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 Diesel Review

Posted on Mon ,02 Jan 2017 8:50 pm
Team CarzGarage
Rating by CG: 
    
Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 Diesel Review

Trading flamboyance for practicality!

 

 

What is it?

 

The Discovery Sport is the successor to the Freelander and a practical cousin of the very flamboyant Evoque. It has got seating for seven (5+2 actually, but more on that later) and serious rough-road abilities; two credentials which its German rivals lack. We drove its most powerful diesel avatar, the 188bhp SD4 (available only in top HSE Luxury trim), to find out how it compares.

 

 

 

Does it look boring then?

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury Front View

 

If you look directly at the front or rear of the Discovery Sport from a distance, you may mistake it for the Evoque. Now the Evoque is not a bad looking vehicle at all, is it? That said the Sport has its own distinct identity and the side profile with its proper SUV silhouette best illustrates it. Design highlights include unique signature LED lighting elements in the headlamps and tail-lamps, clamshell bonnet, a distinctive C-pillar and dual exhausts (to emphasize the “Sport” in Discovery Sport). With the sheet-metal skin wrapped tightly over the frame, there is not a single bad angle on the Sport and it looks especially dapper in lighter or brighter colours with the contrasting black roof.

 

 

 

How is it on the inside?

 

The Discovery Sport in this top HSE Luxury form gets high quality soft tan leather seats and a few trim pieces made of the same material. The quality of the plastics used though is a notch below what is found in the Evoque. The dashboard design can be best described as utilitarian, but with well laid out large buttons and legible markings the controls are a breeze to operate. The top marks in this segment for interior design and quality goes to the Mercedes GLC for sure though.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury Interior

 

That said the driving position in the Sport is good as is the cabin space in the first and second row. The seats offer plenty of support and you are sure to find a comfortable position in them as the driver and passenger seats have 10-way electrical adjustment with memory function and the second row can slide and recline by a few inches on its 60:40 rails. The large glass area (compared to the Evoque) and a panoramic roof let in plenty of light into the cabin which gives you the feeling of sitting in a larger space. A comfortable and airy cabin means long journeys in the Sport won’t wear you out.

 

 

 

What is this “5+2 seats” all about?

 

See no other vehicle in the premium mid-size SUV segment can boast of having seven seats. So a third row in the Discovery Sport is its biggest USP. Land Rover has been clever to not label the vehicle as a seven-seat model but instead as a “5+2” because the third row is only suitable for two little people under five feet in height. The sitting position is knee-up as the as the seats are literally flat with the floor. If you push the second row all the way forward on its rails and be ready with a really good sweetener deal, then maybe full-size adults too will adjust themselves for the short trip to the mall or a movie. Be warned though that the deal will have to be renegotiated if the journeys get any longer.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury 5+2 Seat

 

The good thing about the +2 seats is that they fold completely flat in the floor when you don’t need them. The 5+2 seat pack is available as an option on all variants of the Discovery Sport (including this top HSE Luxury trim) and cost INR 1.5 lakh (approximately) extra over the 5-seat variants. AC control and USB port for the third row are part of the package. The +2 seats gobble up the under-floor storage space at the rear which is available in the 5-seat model and you have to settle for a space saver tyre instead of a full-size spare wheel when you opt for them.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury Boot Space

 

With all the seats in position the boot space in the Sport is small – 194-litres, which is good enough to carry two soft bags. But with the +2 seats folded the space increases to 981-litres which is enough to carry a family’s vacation luggage. With the second row folded too it increases to a substantial figure of 1,698-litres which is large enough to move furniture.

 

The +2 seats maybe used only occasionally but it’s good to know that when the need arises your buddies won’t be left stranded.

 

 

 

How does it perform on the road?

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury 188bhp Engine

 

While all Discovery Sport diesel variants get a 148bhp/400Nm 2.2-litre TD4 engine, the HSE Luxury trim is the only one to get the beefier 188bhp/420Nm SD4 version of the same engine. The official figure quoted by Land Rover for the 0-100 km/h sprint is 8.9 seconds but with the engine having nearly 1.9 tonnes of weight to pull, the vehicle moves ahead in a linear fashion instead of a surge. Peak power of 188bhp is generated at 3,500rpm and peak torque of 420Nm is available from a low 1,750rpm. The power is transferred to the 4WD system through a 9-speed automatic gearbox. At slow city speeds it takes a while for the box to shift from second* to third and vice-a-versa, which can cause some fury if you find the gap in traffic. On the highways too it is the same story and with the gearbox wanting to keep the engine spinning in the mid-power band, you should expect constant unpleasant downshifts.

 

*The first gear on the 9-speed auto box is an ultra-low ratio and reserved for off-road manoeuvres; the Sport even starts in 2nd gear.

 

 

 

Is it comfortable?

 

The Discovery Sport is built on a modified Evoque chassis and the two vehicles share the same front suspension design, but the Sport features a new multi-link setup designed to be compact and not intrude into the cabin to accommodate the +2 seats. Compared to the Evoque the Sport has a softer suspension setup but still with a firm edge. The HSE Luxury gets adaptive dampers filled with magnetic fluid. At slow speeds on smooth roads the ride is supple, but the large potholes and road imperfections make the suspension audible. At highway speeds though the Sport’s ability to soak up all the crests and dips and stay flat is just stellar. The one vehicle that can match the Sport’s ride quality is the Mercedes GLC.

 

The steering wheel is a delight to use despite being an electronic unit. Land Rover has got the calibration spot-on with a bewitchingly linear movement and a crisp 2.3 turns lock-to-lock. It is a very fun vehicle to drive on the twisty road sections.

 

 

 

How does it perform off-road?

 

The Discovery brand name has a legacy to follow and with the Discovery Sport it is no different. This compact SUV gets full-time 4WD and Land Rover’s Terrain Response System with settings for Mud, Rocks, Sand or Snow. Sure the little Sport doesn’t have low-ratio gearbox but it does have an ultra-low first gear which is engaged during the off-road manoeuvres. The system actually does what it says on the label and will alter the engine power, torque and braking to individual wheels depending on the mode selected and what data the various sensors feed.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury Off-Road Terrain Response

 

With 212mm ground clearance, 25 degrees approach angle, 31 degrees departure angle, 21 degrees ramp angle (5-seats) and 20 degrees (5+2 seats) and a water wading depth of 600mm, the Discovery Sport will keep the competition at the foothills of the mountain while it finds a way to the peak.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury Off-Road

 

Just like the +2 seats, you won’t use the off-road abilities every single day, but it’s good to know that when the need arises you can take on the rough without thinking twice.

 

 

 

What gizmos do I get?

 

Since the SD4 is only available as in top HSE Luxury trim it is loaded with equipment like adaptive xenon headlamps with LED signature DRLs, 18-inch alloy wheels, 10-way electrically adjustable driver and passenger seats, panoramic roof and an excellent 17-speaker Meridian audio system along available as standard. There are USB ports available for every passenger and a rear seat entertainment package with LCD screens is fitted too. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation has outdated graphics and sometimes lags between functions.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury Meridian Audio

 

Since the thick pillars on the Sport can cause parking nightmares, you will be pleased to know that there are front and rear parking sensors along with a rear-view camera fitted to the vehicle. If you still don’t want to park yourself, there is the automatic park assist feature available too.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury Rear-Seat Entertainment

 

Safety features available include hill descent control, ABS, traction control, dynamic stability control, roll stability control and six airbags.

 

 

 

Should I get one?

 

The Discovery Sport has rivals in the form of the BMW X3 (amazing on-road manners), Mercedes GLC (it will get a little ahead of the foothills of the mountain with its excellent all-wheel drive system) and the Audi Q5 (quality interiors). The top diesel variants of all these vehicles are priced about INR 10 lakhs cheaper (on-road) than the Discovery Sport SD4 5+2.

 

So get the SD4 only if you want the extra oomph, otherwise the TD4 with 148bhp (around 10.3 seconds to 100 km/h) will reduce the price of your acquisition to the same as the competitors but with some equipment sacrifices (no Meridian audio, magnetic dampers and adaptive headlamps), but still with advantages like the 5+2 seats and the Terrain Response System.

 

 

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 Technical Specifications:

 

-Engine – 2.2-litre, inline-4 turbo diesel; 188bhp @ 3,500rpm and 420Nm @ 1,750rpm

-Drivetrain – Transversely mounted front-engine permanent 4WD

-Gearbox – 9-speed ZF automatic

-Speed – 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds; top speed 188 km/h

-Mileage – 9 km/l (city/highway combined)

-Dimensions – 4,599 x 2,173 x 1,724 (length x width x height in mm)

-Wheelbase – 2,741 mm

-Weight – 1,884 kg

-Boot Space – 194-litres with all 7 seats up; 981-litres with the third row folded; 1,698-litres with second and third row down

-Fuel Tank – 65 litres

-Wheels & Tyres – 235/60 R18

-Turning Circle Diameter – 11.6 metres

-Ground Clearance – 212 mm

-Off-road details – Approach Angle 25 degrees, Departure Angle 31 degrees, Ramp Angle 21 degrees (5 seats) and 20 degrees (5+2 seats), Wading Depth 600mm

-Price on-road in Mumbai (approximately) – INR 80.40 lakhs (SD4 HSE Luxury 5+2 seats) & INR 78.51 lakhs (SD4 HSE Luxury 5-seat)

 

 

Photos by Anuj Malandkar & Amith Bhagwan

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