Land Rover has revealed a heavily updated Discovery Sport that gets a range of new electrified engines, a new platform and a major upgrade to its interior in order to better take on rivals such as the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5. Launched in international markets in 2014, the Discovery Sport remains Land Rover’s top-selling model, with nearly 100,000 examples sold worldwide last year, which accounts for almost a quarter of the British brand’s total sales. Despite that, sales have tailed off as the Sport has lost ground to newer rivals.
Available as a five- and seven-seater, the new model switches from Land Rover’s D8 platform to the new Premium Transverse Architecture used by the second-generation Range Rover Evoque, which is also built at the JLR’s Halewood plant. This new platform allows the adoption of electrified engine options - the 48V mild-hybrid system introduced on the Evoque features on the bulk of the Discovery Sport’s powertrain line-up, for now.
The system uses an engine-mounted belt-integrated starter/generator mated to an underfloor battery. A full plug-in hybrid version will follow later this year.
The entry-level model – and only non-mild hybrid – will be the front-wheel-drive version of the D150 diesel, offered with a 6-speed manual and providing 150hp and 380Nm of torque. All other versions feature all-wheel drive and use a 9-speed ZF-sourced automatic that has been updated to improve fuel economy on its own by a claimed 2 percent.
The highest-performing version will be the P250 MHEV – along with outputs of 250hp and 365Nm of torque, the 0-96kph sprint takes a claimed 7.1sec. Other engine options will be 180hp and 240hp diesels and a 200hp petrol. As with the Evoque, the all-wheel-drive system features the latest version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system, with four drive modes to adjust the all-terrain technology as well as an auto option that detects and adjusts for the conditions itself. It also offers Driveline Disconnect, which sends power to only the front wheels during steady cruising to further increase efficiency.
All versions ride on coil springs, with an Adaptive Dynamics system that uses variable suspension dampers to monitor and adjust to road conditions. The new model is similar in size compared to its predecessor at 4,597mm in length (2mm shorter), 2,173mm in width (identical) and 1,727mm in height (3mm shorter). The 2,741mm wheelbase remains unchanged.
Land Rover has made sure that the Discovery Sport remains a capable off-roader when required. Along with the new drive mode systems, it offers ground clearance of 212mm and 25deg approach, 30deg departure and 20deg breakover angles. It also has a 2,500kg towing capacity, with an optional Advanced Tow Assist feature to aid with manoeuvring.
In terms of design, the new Discovery Sport maintains the styling cues of the popular original, but has been updated with a number of tweaks to bring its design in line with the second-generation Evoque and Range Rover Velar. The exterior changes focus on new front and rear bumpers, a revamped grille, new lower body mouldings and LED headlights.
The interior has been more extensively revamped and Land Rover’s latest infotainment and technology systems have been adopted. The firm’s Touch Pro infotainment system, which features a 10.25-inch touchscreen and is now compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, is standard. A lower interface, which incorporates controls for the heating and ventilation systems and Terrain Response, is offered as an option. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is also available, along with a colour head-up display. An optional wireless smartphone charger is offered, as are up to eight USB ports. Passengers in the second row of seats also gain AC controls.
The Discovery Sport’s driver assistance technology has been upgraded, too. New features include the ClearSight Ground View system originally introduced on the Evoque. This ‘invisible bonnet’ concept uses cameras in the front grille and door mirrors to project a feed onto the central screen showing what is underneath the vehicle, to aid manoeuvring in tight city streets or off road.
Accompanying this, is a new ‘smart rear-view mirror’, which works as a normal mirror but on request will use an HD screen to display the feed from a rear-facing camera with a 50deg field of vision. Land Rover says this will ensure better rear visibility when the car is full and in low-light conditions. Among the other driver assistance features are front and rear parking aids, a rear camera, autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist. A number of packs offer extra options.
Land Rover has also worked to increase the Discovery Sport’s practicality and comfort by adding a new 40/20/40 split in the second row of seating that, the firm says, offers up to 24 seat combinations. There’s leg room of up to 968mm in the second row and 655mm in the third. There has also been a focus on increasing storage in the cabin and Land Rover claims the central cubby and redesigned door bins offers 48 litres of storage, a 25 percent increase on the previous model’s. In five-seat form, the boot capacity to the roofline is 1,179 litres – up from 981 in the outgoing Discovery Sport – rising to 1,794 litres with the rear seats folded. The firm has also increased the fuel tank capacity from 54 to 65 litres.
The new Discovery Sport is available in Sport, S, SE and HSE trims, along with an R-Dynamic version that has additional design flourishes.
There is no word on when this heavily update model will be brought to India, where the previous, locally assembled Discovery Sport retails at Rs 44.68-61.95 lakh (ex-showroom, India).