Land Rover Discovery Sport review

Land Rover Discovery
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

An all-wheel drive and safe family motor that oozes refinement both on and off the road.

Follow motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay on Instagram @tbarnesclay.

Do you care about your image, or don’t you give a toss? Sometimes it’s nice to kick back and let the world see who you really are, warts and all. The truth is, many of us like to put on a front – and look as good as we can for other human beings.

It’s hard to keep that “perfect” look going if you have a partner – especially if you live together. Real love needs to come out at some point, and that means both of you accepting each other in all sorts of states – healthy, ill, grumpy, happy. The real you has to be revealed for a relationship to work – because falseness isn’t ever going to do anyone any favours in the long run.

Cars are a way of hiding the real you from the world, though. Yes, they’re essentially just a set of wheels to get us from one place to another more quickly than walking or running, but they’re more than that. They’ve become symbols of power, wealth, weakness and poverty.

Drive a shiny new Discovery Sport, like the D180 AWD SE I drove, and you’re more likely to be perceived in the “successful” or “well off” category. Drive, say, a knackered Vauxhall Astra, and you might be seen as less successful and perhaps struggling with money. It can be a shallow old world, but we do tend to make judgements about other people, consciously or sub-consciously pretty quickly.

In the car circle, you’re probably doing okay financially if you can afford a Discovery Sport. The model on test here costs from £43,175, but with a bunch of tempting options to add, the price can soon get closer to £50,000.

You get a lot of stock kit, though. Touches like a leather steering wheel, two-zone climate control, connected navigation, all-terrain progress control, low traction launch and hill descent control, demonstrate you’re in a refined machine that’s also more than capable off the tarmac.

A handsome discovery

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder 180ps turbocharged diesel lump gets the car from idle to 60mph in 9.4 seconds and will pull it to 125mph where possible. For a heavy vehicle, the efficiency side of things isn’t too bad, either – you’re looking at 39.6mpg. This frugality is partly down to clever mild technology housed where the oily bits are.

Perhaps more importantly than a “well off”, possibly “country set” kind of image, the Discovery Sport makes a decent fist of being a safe family motor. Seven seats come as standard on engines with an automatic transmission, and the Land Rover holds a top five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.

If you genuinely are going to venture off-road from time to time, then the Discovery Sport is something to consider. But I suspect most people buying it are doing so for the look more than anything else. Yes, it’s handsome and safe, but so are many other cars these days – and for half the price.

None of us are robots, though – and we tend to buy with our hearts rather than our heads. So, stuff it – I won’t judge you if you buy a Discovery Sport. Hell, if I had wads of wonga, I’d have one – but only so I can get all the family in. I’d also feel safe during the winter, knowing I had a vehicle with all-wheel drive to get me through snow, slush and rain.

It’s a lovely car, yes, but don’t feel you need to don a tweed jacket or live in the country to drive one. All you need is a fat wallet – and maybe a bit of self-awareness. 

Fast Facts – Discovery Sport D180 AWD SE as tested:

  • Max speed: 125mph
  • 0-60 mph: 9.4 seconds
  • Combined mpg: 39.6
  • Engine layout: 1999cc, four-cylinder turbo diesel
  • Max. power (PS): 180
  • CO2: 155g/km
  • Price: £43,175

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