Review: Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover is in the midst of revamping its entire line-up and results have been mixed so far. A recent test drive of the refreshed Range Rover Supercharged left a lot to be desired—the ride was sluggish and felt bulky at best, but it did boast an incredibly lavish interior. Whereas, my time in the updated Evoque was wholly enjoyable. Here, we step into the Discovery Sport, which replaces the LR2, to see how the rest of the line-up is looking.

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First Impressions
The Discovery Sport looks quite similar to the Evoque. That’s not a bad thing, unless, of course, you’re not a fan of the sloping windshield and tight roofline that creates its distinctive silhouette. Its bulkier backend doesn’t quite give it a sleek finish, but that’s easily overlooked since this Rover has a go-anywhere attitude built into its DNA. If you’re actually taking this thing off road, then it’s just fine to not be the prettiest machine on the block.

What I Liked
Much like the Evoque, the 2015 Discovery Sport perfectly balances daily driving with high speed and off road pursuits. Not surprising since it shares the same 2.0L turbocharged engine that’s capable of 240 HP.

The setup is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission that’s set to save you fuel. But, that doesn’t mean it lacks fun. Steering wheel feedback is great and you’re able to push it pretty hard around corners and turns—the Discovery Sport goes to work to minimize body roll and feels comfortable no matter what you put it through. And, if you want to take it on rougher trails, it comes equipped with settings (Sand, Mud-Ruts, etc.) that tweak the engine, transmission and AWD system to meet the demands.

Oh, and it starts at $41,490. Perhaps that’s the best thing of all.

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What I Didn’t Like
The dial. I tried to like it. In fact, I initially enjoyed it on the Evoque. But, after a week in the Discovery Sport, my tune changed. The dial I speak of is the gear selector. It rises from the console when the Discovery is fired up and is turned to select the gear. It’s kind of cool at first, feeling like something out of a futuristic film. But, after a while it becomes a little frustrating. My biggest complaint is that I wasn’t able to shift from Drive to Reverse as quickly as I like to; the dial just doesn’t allow it, which isn’t enjoyable when that shift is required.

Takeaway
The starting price alone makes the 2015 Discovery Sport a contender in the luxury crossover segment. The fact that it drives like a dream and has a very Land Rover-like interior (that is to say, it’s incredibly comfortable) makes it that much more of a steal. Expect the Discovery Sport to steal buyers away from the Audi Q5, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.