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Land Rover Discovery Sport SE Td4 150 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Bill McKinnon road tests and reviews the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport SE Td4 150 with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Bill McKinnon road tests and reviews the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport SE Td4 150 with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Land Rover's Discovery Sport has rocketed up the sales charts this year, leaving Audi's A5, BMW's X3/X4, Porsche's Macan and the Lexus NX in its wake. It sits in second place in the mid-size luxury SUV class, behind the Mercedes GLC.

The maker recently fitted its new 2.0-litre "Ingenium" four-cylinder turbo diesel/nine-speed automatic drivetrain as part of its first update.

We're in the base model SE Td4 150 (as in horsepower, or 110kW), which compared with its German rivals looks a bargain at $56,355.

Design

This is a Tardis, with a roomy, versatile, five or seven-seat layout inside a compact body.

Two individual rear seats fold flush into the load floor.

They're a $2050 option, which also includes a 60-40 split middle bench with a simple fold and slide function that provides easy access to the back, plus buttons in the cargo bay to remotely release each backrest section for an extended floor of 1.75 metres.

The back stalls are more for occasional than daily use and fine for young kids but full-size humans are forced to squat in an uncomfortably tight space.

Voice control, which has you chatting to a nice English lady, gets it right almost every time.

No such problems in the middle row, which has plenty of legroom and is loaded with kid-friendly stuff, including two USB ports (the Disco has five in total), a 12V outlet (three in total), centre pillar vents, ample storage and low window sills, so young children won't feel claustrophobic.

Up front, in a firm, supportive, leather-wrapped seat, you face a typical bling-free Land Rover dash, with chunky controls and a small touchscreen. The menu structure can be as baffling as some of the ambiguously labelled buttons that surround it.

Still, voice control, which has you chatting to a nice English lady, gets it right almost every time (for phone and audio; it doesn't control navigation), there's yet more storage and the rear camera includes a moving centre line mode so you can hitch up first time.

As with many European SUVs, the Disco's maximum towball download is just 100kg, so exploiting its claimed 2200kg towing capacity is problematic.

Land Rover's latest party trick is Tile's tracker smartphone app, part of the $550 In Control Apps option package not fitted to the test car.

Land Rover says 64 per cent of us spend up to 15 minutes daily looking for belongings. That's not nearly enough time for me but help is at hand. You download the app and put little Bluetooth tags on your wallet, bag etc, so when you get in the car a synced display on the touchscreen tells you if you've forgotten something. If you haven't a clue where it is, the app can activate an alarm on the relevant tag, so you can track it down. Great, but what if you've lost your phone? Nobody ever does that...

Wiggle your foot under the rear bumper and the standard power tailgate opens and closes automatically. Mounted externally under the floor (in the five-seater) is — round of applause — a full-size steel spare.

Around town

Compact dimensions make the Disco more manoeuvrable than most seven-seaters, as does light, direct steering.

Small turbo diesels can sometimes struggle in the cut and thrust of traffic but the smooth, quiet Ingenium is strong and responsive from 1500rpm-3000rpm, so if you spot an opportunity you can take it.

Nine ratios help the cause and also contribute to single figure economy in town. Shifts in the lower gears can be a touch abrupt.

On the road

Torque counts, and with 380Nm from just 1750rpm in a relatively light (1785kg) package, the Disco cruises effortlessly and silently.

The nine-speed segues unobtrusively through the ratios but can take a while to kick down from the high gears when you plant the accelerator. There's no point looking for top end power — there isn't any.

The Disco Sport actually has no sports pretensions at all and is a better SUV for it.

At 100km/h, in ninth gear, the Ingenium is ticking over at just 1300rpm, averaging 5.0L-6.0L/100km.

The Disco Sport actually has no sports pretensions at all and is a better SUV for it.

Compliant suspension and high profile tyres on the base model provide superb ride comfort on rough roads. At sane speeds it handles securely and confidently, with precise, communicative steering and minimal body roll, though the front suspension is slightly underdamped, so mid corner bumps can cause a bit of bounce.

A high range only, push-button, four-mode Terrain Response traction control, Goodyear Wrangler rubber and 212mm of ground clearance allow the Land Rover to confidently traverse dirt roads, all sorts of nasty surfaces and steep grades. None of its rivals has comparable off-road ability.

Verdict

The elephant in the showroom here is Land Rover's long-established reputation, regularly confirmed by industry benchmark JD Power owner surveys and Consumer Reports in the US, for inconsistent quality and reliability.

If you're happy to give Land Rover the benefit of the doubt, you'll find this model great value for money and a highly capable, versatile, comfortable family wagon.

What it's got

Seven airbags, stability control, trailer sway control, eight-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth, navigation, voice control, five USB ports, three 12V outlets, rear parking sensors, rear camera with dynamic guidelines, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, automatic emergency braking (from 5-80km/h), collision warning, lane departure warning, power tailgate.

What it hasn't

Radar cruise, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front parking sensors, AppleCarPlay, Android Auto.

Ownership

Servicing costs $1210 over 6 years/102,000km, with intervals of 24 months/34,000km.

What we liked

Great value for money. Smooth, quiet, frugal turbo diesel. Space-efficient interior packaging. Easy to drive in town. Comfortable ride and secure handling on rough roads. Genuine off-roader. Cheap servicing. British design cachet.

What we didn't

Dated, clunky infotainment. Land Rover's reliability baggage. Seriously, 34,000km between oil changes? Low maximum towball download weight. Quick, it ain't.

 

Is the Discovery Sport SE be at the top of your shopping list? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Discovery Sport SE Td4 150 pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

$46,990
Based on 114 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$34,999
Highest Price
$55,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
SD4 HSE 2.2L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO $36,400 – 47,080 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport 2016 SD4 HSE Pricing and Specs
SD4 HSE Luxury 2.2L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO $40,000 – 51,150 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport 2016 SD4 HSE Luxury Pricing and Specs
SD4 SE 2.2L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO $33,300 – 43,670 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport 2016 SD4 SE Pricing and Specs
Si4 SE 2.0L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO $33,300 – 43,670 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport 2016 Si4 SE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.