Ice? Rain? Snow?
We have a new Discovery for you……..
by Kevin Haggarthy
It’s been very cold, and certainly one of the worst Winters for a while. Think of that awful day, the one you thought would never happen; stranded in your vehicle in the middle of nowhere in snow and ice. In the same way you thought you should have gone to Specsavers before you walked into that lamp post, it’s times like these when you wish you’d bought a Land Rover.
User friendly hi tech
How about the new Discovery Sport? Land Rover describe this latest reiteration as ‘strong, stiff, and safe’. Actually it is, but it also looks and feels sumptuous behind the wheel. Our test car’s combination of white leather and black trim, aligned to a simpler yet functional dash design, lacks nothing in state-of-the-art technology; Touch Pro infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, and 4G WiFi. It’s all there. There’s also what Land Rover call ‘ New Clearsight Groundview’ camera technology allowing the driver to see ‘through’ the bonnet, whilst a smart high definition rear-view mirror guarantees a great view to the rear. What’s great about it all is that it’s easy and simple to use.
But before we get carried away with telling you what its like to drive in and out of water, here’s a few other highlights: Firstly, this is one highly practical machine – 7 seats in total (5 + 2 optional lift up seats at the back) – Land Rover reckon there are 24 possible seat configurations. It’s also bigger inside than the previous model, with increased space for both larger and smaller storage options (up to 1794 litres). Second, the new Disco Sport is designed with electrification in mind, a mild hybrid model being available from launch, achieving up to 40 mpg, with a plug-in hybrid version due later in the year. Improved mainstream engines come in the form of 2.0 litre turbo (150HP) 9-speed auto common rail diesel (150 HP), and up to 2.0 litre, 249 HP 9 speed auto, petrol.
Price and Performance
Whilst prices start at £31,575, we test drove the P200 AWD S R- Dynamic. This one starts at a not unreasonable £41,425 on the road, the ‘R -Dynamic’ includes 18-inch alloy wheels, and the total in-car accessory package. The 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbo engine generates 200 hp at 5,500 rpm, and is the mild hybrid electric 9 speed automatic transmission, accelerating to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds, has a top speed of 128 mph, and averaging just over 30 mpg.
On the road you re immediately struck by the car’s comfort and refinement. Personally, I like the smooth ‘driveability’ of the petrol engine and how it engages its 320 NM of torque; perfect for mid-range overtaking, and just lovely for threading through sweeping country lanes. What surprised me was how grounded the car felt when pushed hard into bends, along with surprisingly high levels of grip and lack of body roll. I guess that’s where the ‘Sport’ comes in to the DNA, engaging enough to prove exciting whilst pushing on at a decent pace. You can readily enjoy the physical process of driving the car- rewarding as it is- without even taking it off road; many buyers may not even go further than a deep puddle, yet still swear by one for their next buy!
For off roading, the highlight is usability at the push of a button. The new ‘Terrain 2’ technology automatically adapts to challenging off-road conditions; it’s a great contrast to the multiple option technology of old that you daren’t touch, just in case you mistakenly select the best button for going up a really steep hill, when actually you happen to be on a deep downward descent to your maker! That alone is why these systems are rarely used by Mr and Mrs Average, but with this new ‘Disco’ and its ‘one button does all’ approach – ‘You Can’.
We Did. Albeit with the aid of a professional instructor beside us, at the Land Rover Experience Centre in North Yorkshire. The very able instructors helped us to explore the raison d’etre of the Disco Sport across purpose built off roading terrain. The Disco’s performance was indeed exceptional; it was a combination of ‘you can’t be serious you don’t want me to do that do you??’ to ‘Wow! You wouldn’t believe that’s possible’ – especially if you’re driving through water deeper than your seated waist line! If you buy a Discovery or are even thinking of buying one, you simply must do this course; at the very least it’ll boost your confidence driving off road, and moreover give you a proper insight into its true off-road capabilities.
At this sort of money (these days) there’s a lot of value in buying a car like this; it drives with zest, is a serious ‘real-life ‘off roader, and a ‘family vehicle’ in the true sense of the word. Throw safety and build integrity into the equation, and you have a vehicle that is totally fit for purpose.