Land Rover fans remain eternally divided by the old school die-hards who revere the off-road capability of the nigh bare metal square box and those who want the best of both worlds with all the luxury fittings added on.
For them, the Discovery Sport has been given a wide range of tweaks with latest technologies, new levels of interior quality and increased space for families.
The new body is 13% stiffer than its predecessor, with rigidly-mounted subframes that reduce noise and vibration intrusion into the cabin, improving comfort and providing maximum safety in the event of a collision.
Trademark Discovery design cues, including the clamshell bonnet, rising beltline and tapered roof remain, but the new model evolves and proportions have been optimised to project a more striking visual with new signature LED headlamps at the front and rear, alongside a new front grille and bumpers.
Inside, the arrival of the digital Touch Pro infotainment system and the introduction of more premium materials throughout transforms the cabin to create a high quality yet practical space. New seats across each of the three rows provide improved comfort and versatility, thanks to the second row 40:20:40 split fold and slide functionality, boosting the possible number of seat combinations to 24 and covering every eventuality.
The new Discovery Sport is available in South Africa in Base and S trim levels, or sportier R-Dynamic variants in S, SE and HSE trim, which feature Satin Dark Grey alloy wheels, unique front and rear bumpers and Shadow Atlas script on the bonnet and tailgate. Inside, Ebony seats with contrast stitching, black gearshift paddles and unique treadplates provide an edgier character.
The Discovery Sport makes the most of its compact exterior dimensions with a versatile interior that has been enhanced to optimise interior space, provide improved small item stowage across all three rows and a 20% increase in fuel tank capacity (up to 65-litres).
With the option of Land Rover’s Activity Key, a wearable waterproof wristband that allows customers to lock and unlock the vehicle without using the traditional keyfob, the Activity Key is an ideal solution for adventure hunters who may enjoy sports such as surfing or mountain biking where a conventional key may get lost or damaged.
The latest Discovery Sport is available with a ClearSight Rear View mirror that transforms into a video screen at the flick of a switch to display what is behind the vehicle in crisp high definition. Offering a wider (50-degree) field of vision and superior visibility in low light conditions from a camera mounted above the rear window, the mirror ensures rear visibility is not compromised by second row passengers or bulky items in the boot.
ClearSight Ground View technology has been introduced to help drivers navigate high city centre kerbs or tackle rough terrain by projecting camera imagery that offers a virtual 180-degree view beneath the vehicle onto the touchscreen. Effectively making the bonnet invisible, this is the realisation of Land Rover’s Transparent Bonnet technology, first previewed in 2014.
Wireless charging for compatible mobile devices is introduced for the first time within the lower centre console, while a 4G WiFi hotspot, alongside USB and 12-volt connectivity points on every row, ensure passengers remain charged and connected. Second and third row occupants also benefit from individual heating and ventilation controls to make the space more comfortable.
For regular drivers of the new Discovery Sport, Smart Settings uses artificial intelligence algorithms to learn driver preferences, adjusting massage and seat positions, music and climate settings and steering column positioning to suit each driver.
The latest Discovery Sport is every inch a Land Rover, combining assured all-terrain handling with all-weather capability, including a wading depth of 600 mm, All-Wheel Drive and a second-generation Active Driveline system. Terrain Response 2 automatically detects the surface and adjusts the torque delivery to best suit the conditions, while Advanced Tow Assist makes reversing with a trailer (up to 2 500 kg) more intuitive and safer than ever.
To maximise efficiency, the standard All-Wheel Drive system benefits from Driveline Disconnect – a Power Transfer Unit at the front axle that disconnects drive to the rear wheels under steady state cruising, reducing frictional losses and re-engaging AWD in less than 500 milliseconds.
There is a reversing camera as standard on all models, alongside a suite of advanced driver assistance systems. This includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist, which centres the vehicle in the lane based on road markings as well as maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Other active safety features include Lane Keep Assist and Driver Condition Monitor.
In South Africa the diesel engine option is covered by an efficient Ingenium 2,0-litre 4-cylinder (badged D180) with 132 kW, and is capable of returning an average combined fuel consumption of 5,8 l/100km. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h happens in 9,7 seconds and top speed is 202km/h.
Petrol power is provided by an Ingenium 2,0-litre with 184 kW and fuel consumption claimed at 8,0 l/100km. The P250-badged Discovery Sport can reach 100 km/h in 7,6 seconds and maximum speed is set at 225 km/h.
All Land Rover vehicles come standard with a 5 Year Care Plan with a 100 000 km warranty and servicing within in 5 year period, whichever comes first.