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2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport detailed

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover is in the process of rearranging its lineup into three product lines: Range Rover, Discovery and Defender.

A new arrival under the Discovery umbrella is the Land Rover Discovery Sport, which is due to lob in Australia in April next year.

Land Rover says it isn’t a Freelander replacement despite the fact that it’s roughly the same size and the Freelander is about to be dropped from the lineup.

The Discovery Sport is infact a more readily linked to the Range Rover Evoque with which it shares some underpinnings.

It’s a more practical vehicle though, no less striking in appearance and with a possible seven seat capacity. Land Rover is targeting the likes of Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 which are currently limited to five seats.

Though it retains full on-and-off-road capability, the Discovery Sport is a civilised vehicle equally at home in an urban environment as in the rough and the dirty.

DESIGN

The dramatic design features classic Land Rover styling cues like a clamshell bonnet, command driving position and "floating" roof but also drills right into the modern styling idiom as one of the best looking SUVs around right now.

It’s compact in size but offers plenty of room inside particularly in five seat configuration. The third row, if fitted, is pretty much for sub teenage kids but the centre pew slides through 150mm facilitating ingress and providing more legroom for row two.

Land Rover went to its customer base for intel on the Discovery Sport and implemented many suggestions from the punters such as face level aircon outlets throughout, power outlets throughout and connectivity throughout the cabin. The result is a vehicle that will have almost universal appeal.

4WD CREDENTIALS

The Discovery Sport features full all terrain ability through Land Rover’s dial up Terrain Response system but the vehicle is all wheel drive/front wheel drive with both axles only engaged on demand.

Ground clearance is 212mm, it has a towing capacity of 2500kg braked and can wade through water up to 600mm deep. Land Rover fitted numerous electronic aids to facilitate driving on and off road. A full size spare is fitted to the five seater, a space saver in the seven.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

Three engines will be available from launch, ranging from the 2.0-litre turbo petrol Si4 with 177kW/340Nm and two versions of a 2.2-litre turbo diesel with 110kW and 140kW respectively and 420Nm of torque a piece. The new ultra efficient Ingenium engines follow down the track. All engines have been optimised for internal friction reduction to save fuel.

A six speed manual will be available on the diesel with optional nine speed automatic while the petrol is nine speed auto only.

WEIGHT SAVING

Like the new Jag XE that will arrive around the same time, the Disco Sport uses weight saving aluminium throughout including the body, chassis and mechanical components such as the suspension.

Some cast aluminium components are hollow and the dash crossbeam is magnesium. Further aiding efficiency is a low aerodynamic drag rating of 0.36Cd. This also helps noise reduction.

TECHNOLOGY

The Discovery Sport is crammed with the latest technology in many areas - entertainment, safety, driver assist and efficiency boosting.

The infotainment system called InControl even allows drivers to communicate with the Sport remotely by iPhone to the point of disabling the vehicle if it’s stolen.

SD card driven satnav, 360 degree camera, 8-inch touch screen, wifi hotspot, premium audio, pre-loaded apps are just a few of the wow features in Sport. It’s the most "connected" vehicle Land Rover has ever made.

SAFETY

A five star safety rating was a given but its more than that. There’s a pedestrian airbag deployed on top of the bonnet and windscreen if required. A full suite of the latest safety equipment is fitted including laser driven head-up display.Torque vectoring is achieved through a Haldex centre clutch and dual clutch rear differential.

UNDERNEATH

Sport ushers in a new rear suspension system called Integral Multi Link that provides fine ride and handling control as well as being compact to deliver more interior room. Large disc brakes are fitted and wheel sizes range from 17-20-inch.

VERDICT

After viewing a video of the new Sport being driven through a 500mm deep by 600mm wide concrete ditch at about 32kmh and coming out unscathed, (which it’s designed to withstand) we were impressed.

Discovery Sport will be arguably the most capable and versatile premium compact SUV.