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BBC TopGear
Long-term review

Land Rover Discovery Sport – long-term review

£50,635 / £58,990 as tested / £570 PCM
Published: 28 Oct 2020
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    D240 AWD HSE R-Dynamic

  • ENGINE

    1999cc

  • BHP

    240bhp

  • 0-62

    7.7s

Here's why our Land Rover Discovery Sport is a superb all-rounder

Having only managed to put a couple of thousand miles on the DiscoBall in its first month, I have to say that it’s pretty much everything I hoped: refined, calm and comfy. Looks good, too. I’ve been mainly battering it up and down motorways and A-roads trucking between various UK-bound car launches - the car industry has pivoted to local events rather than international to launch their various new models - though I have pottered down a couple of local unpaved byways.

Nothing too revealing about the LR’s underpinnings, mainly because I think I could probably get a standard two-wheel drive saloon car down the tracks, but the way it dealt with a couple of bits of mud and some light cross-axle work bodes well. The camera that allows you to ‘see’ through the bonnet to what’s going on underneath is really good, too: you can pick your way through rocky sections without a spotter. Plus, it helps if you’re worried about kerbing wheels - not that I am particularly - the downsized 18-inch alloys have a generous bouncy sidewall that should act like the bumper I probably need. I really want to get up to one of Land Rover’s Highland off road courses to give it a proper go, mind. See if it can manage a ten-hour motorway slog, do some seriously silly off-road and then back again, without changing tyres or otherwise modding it. An ‘As it left the showroom’ run, as it were. 

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Having had only a couple of hundred miles on it when it arrived, I’ve been pretty gentle to make sure things have all bedded-in properly. It’s not really necessary on modern cars these days, but a touch of mechanical sympathy never hurt anyone, and it’s nice that all the fluids and bits and bobs seem to be holding steady. I’ve also been playing with the app, from which you can do all sorts of stuff; from finding the car to logging journeys. The latter being a massive help with doing travel expenses. 

Niggles? A couple, nothing serious. A plastic panel in the passenger footwell wasn’t attached properly at some point and dropped off, thirty seconds and some re-tightening of plastic screws seeing to that issue. I’ve also noticed that the 9-spd autobox can be hesitant, especially when coasting/accelerating towards roundabouts and junctions - an issue that seems exacerbated by ‘comfort’ mode - but I’m learning some of the car’s quirks. Mainly that it thinks nine speeds are probably too many to accurately count, and that not coming completely off-throttle helps smooth things out. It’s been hitting 43mpg on a run, 37-38 overall though, so far be it for me to moan too hard - this is still a decently-sized SUV, and that’s not bad at all. Certainly better than an uncharged PHEV smashing around, and makes me think that a clean diesel still has a place - albeit probably not for much longer unless you’re in the HGV squad. 

One of the main reasons I wanted to run a Disco Sport though, was because of its sheer utility - probably one of the main reasons most people buy a car like this. And here it scores high - it’s already done sterling service as a shoot and support car for Speed Week, and the seven seat arrangement works surprisingly well and often, even if it is just section-splitting three kids across the two rear rows. And I find that when you’ve had a hard day, whacking on a few tunes or a podcast, sticking it in waft mode and pottering home is actually something to look forward to. Uh oh…. I think that makes me officially old. 

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