By Sala Masindane
Recently we travelled to Clarens, Free State with the updated Land Rover Discovery Sport. Seen as a spiritual successor to the Freelander, the recently updated version shifts things several notches up and is solidly a luxurious and capable SUV that can go toe-to-toe with any offering in its segment.
At first glance, the Discovery Sport does not seem to have changed much from the previous model but the new signature LED headlamps at the front and back, a new front grille and new front and back bumpers have done a lot not only to distinguish the car from its first iteration but to also make it stand out.
Gone are the round lights which made the car look slightly dated and round. The car appears chiselled and stylish now, giving it a more modern look.
Inside our test unit, there were ebony seats with contrast stitching, black gearshift paddles and unique tread plates for an “edgier character.” The small item storage solutions across the car provide more practicality across all three rows.
The new Touch Pro infotainment system is easy to use however the configuration did have us unwittingly engaging the Terrain Progress Control whilst attempting to adjust the temperature. Once we got over that, we enjoyed its fairly simple use. Additional connectivity comes courtesy of USB and 12-volt connectivity ports across the SUV.
The reverse camera is standard alongside a suite of optional advanced driver assistance systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist, Lane Keep Assist and Driver Condition Monitor.
Overall the car is spacious and fairly comfortable. Adding to the comfort was the optional massage function. This was on both the driver’s and passenger’s seat.
In terms of quality, interior closes edges ever closer to bridging the gap between itself German competition, particularly the Audi Q5 and the X3. That said, the Disco Sport might have one up on the Mercedes Benz GLC. Perhaps the final salvo for the Disco Sport is the 7-seat option which comes in handy if you have a family of more than five. The GLB is no doubt coming for this audience.
Engine and drive
Under the hood of Discovery Sport is a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder (badged D180) turbodiesel engine with 132kW of power and 430 Nm of torque. The engine is good and responsive which is what you would expect from a Land Rover. And maybe that is the problem with the Disco Sport, is it that is comfortable but not exciting unlike some competitors. Where it is possibly ahead of them, is when you go off-road as it’s at home there, again as expected with the brand heritage. The key though is the employment of off-road capability with Terrain Response that offers modes such as rock-crawling or hill-descent system. The system will see you tackling tough tasks in the simplest of ways. The nine-speed automatic transmission is the perfect match diesel motor and is always keen to put in some work.
The Discovery Sport is a premium offering that should not be overlooked and if you are in a search for a luxurious off-roader that seats more than five and can do some off-roading.
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