Later this year, Land Rover shall reveal the Discovery Sport, its long-awaited Freelander replacement.
And in preparation for the big unveil, the Brit firm has wrapped its BMW X3-rivalling SUV in a fetching set of camo pyjamas and taken it on nice tour of some of the world’s least forgiving terrain, from icy Scandinavia to Arabian desert and British mud. And it’s sent us the video to prove it.
It’s all part of the Discovery Sport’s testing programme, a Tough Mudder-style assault to make sure the production car’s doors won’t fall off when you take it over a speed bump a little too fast. We’re told the 181 Discovery Sport prototypes have racked up a collective 750,000 miles again, which would get you to the moon and back again if there was a road. There isn’t.
They’ve been tested at altitudes of 4000 metres, and in climates ranging from -37*C at Arjeplog in the Swedish Arctic, to 51*C in Dubai. 51*C is coincidentally exactly the temperature within the Top Gear office during summer months.
If you’re struggling with that ‘Discovery Sport’ name, think of it this way: just as the Range Rover Sport is a (slightly) smaller brother to the full-fat Range Rover, so this Discovery Sport will sit alongside a larger replacement Discovery.
So what do we know about the Discovery Sport? We’re told it’ll launch as a five-seater, with a seven-seat version likely to follow.
And we know it’ll benefit from Jaguar-Land Rover’s just-announced range of modular, aluminium Ingenium engines – which means we should see a super-frugal, 2WD diesel version… and maybe even a hybrid.
We know, too, that it’ll get smarter infotainment wotsits than the current car, which’ll have to be mighty smart if the Discovery Sport wants to stick it to the German competition. Competition, don’t forget, that now includes the Porsche Macan.
Judging by the video, at least, the Discovery Sport shouldn’t struggle to hold its own in the off-road department…