2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport: Still got the fight?
“2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport.” “2019? But Kedar, it is 2020 that’s begun now.” “Yep, I’ve noticed that. But they still sell it. I know it’s getting a facelift next month, but that just makes the current model more VFM. Land Rover will want to sell the current model from its stocks, wouldn’t it? I want to know that if someone does buy the 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport right now, would it be sensible? That’s why I’ve loaned one right now.”
Does it look its age?
Well, let’s agree that the Land Rover Discovery Sport has been in the market for so long, and unchanged, since probably a lifetime ago. I simply cannot recollect as I write this review. 2014, says Wikipedia. When it did, I was a teenager who perceived it as bland, as compared to the Evoque. Today the design has grown over me so well, I cannot imagine it any other way.
The simplicity of the Disco Sport’s design is refreshing. In this day and age when carmakers are slapping grilles the size of dinner tables on the front ends of their cars, the Discovery Sport comes as a soothing relief. The grille is an inverted trapezoid draped by the signature grille design of the Land Rovers of today. Another narrow slat below the grille probably does the actual breathing of air needed by the engine. The headlamps have an aggressive squint to them and house the DRL’s and projector lamps. The foglamps are horizontal LED units in the bumper integrated air dams. Add a skid plate and the front end has a pleasing, aggressive look. It bears a strong resemblance to the full-size Discovery that sits above in the Land Rover series.
Moving to the side profile, which I much appreciate. Clean, modern with a towering stance. And notice how beautiful the C-pillar is. The rising rear overhang and the rear sloping roof, with the rear spoiler, make for a sporty, aerodynamic profile. Moving to the rear, the bumper gets a black cladding and the skid plate flanked on either side by exhaust pipes. The alloy wheels are 18 inchers and have a striking design. The look even more exquisite should you tick the sports package box, which blacks out the wheels. long with them, the ORVMs, grille, bonnet insert also get the black treatment.
And on the inside
This is where the Discovery Sport kinda shows its age. Certainly not dull, don’t get me wrong. The interior has a very functional layout for 2020. The dashboard has a standard shape with the infotainment stacked up in the center. below the screen sit a host of buttons for the infotainment controls and climate control, the usual stuff. There’s also a host of buttons lined up for you to change the driving mode according to the terrain.
The steering as well spills the beans on the age. It looks way too simplistic, though it gets controls for the infotainment and cruise control. It also hosts the control for the Terrain response off-road management system. The speedo and the tachometer are analog and there’s a digital info display between them.
You also get a massive sunroof, but for reasons unknown, its a sealed unit i.e. doesn’t open. Funny. The rear seats have a 60:40 split along with reclining function for the backrest. The seats are comfortable, though taller passengers could complain about under-thigh support. The third-row seats are best left to children for long journeys. But they get air vents as well as cup-holders, which is a thoughtful touch. There are 12V USB ports around the cabin for convenience.
Overall, the interiors of the Disco Sport might look dated but have great functionality. There are plenty of intelligent touches and the quality of all materials is top-notch. Also, the clean simplistic lines are easier on your eyes, unlike most busy interiors that you get on modern automobiles. The effect that this has is over long journeys, you are relaxed and feel less fatigued mentally. I’m not sure whether there’s any scientific backing to my theory but courtesy to the Discovery Sport, I feel that simple interior designs translate to lesser fatigue. More on that in another thread in the future.
Is it really a Sport though?
Under the hood of the Discovery Sport sits a 2 litre Ingenium 4 cylinder diesel engine. And diesel is the only way to go if you want a Disco Sport. The engine makes 180Hp and 430Nm of torque. All the numbers aside, the Sport moniker that sits in the name needs to justify itself. And it does, very well indeed.
The first thing to take notice of is the surprisingly high seating. There is a good view of the surroundings from the driver’s seat. The 2-liter diesel is pretty quiet at idle, rising to a hushed growl as you step on the gas. The gearbox, a 9-speed automatic unit is smooth with the shifts and has quick reflexes to inputs. not completely devoid of lags though, which surface when you’re cruising at a constant speed and suddenly put your foot down.
But, the engine itself is a gem, a tower of power, smooth, easy power. The peak torque kicks in at 1750rpm says the brochure, but you can feel the surge right from 1500rpm. It tapers off around the 4000 rpm mark, but believe me, at 4000rpm, you’d have reached illegal depths of the speedo in any scenario. On our drives, the engine sat happily at around the 1700rpm mark, while at speeds as high as 120km/hr. And no matter how much you wring the engine, it never feels stressed. What is it made of Land Rover? Rocks and souls of ancient sages?
The Disco Sport has good road manners. The ride is planted right from the word go, and body movements are well controlled. The high-speed stability is impeccable. However, this baby ain’t no BMW X3, mind that. But it doesn’t need to be. The Sport moniker isn’t meant to be justified on the tarmac, I reckon. So we left the tarmac to the rearview and onto some mud track.
The riot starts here. The Discovery Sport is untouchable once you leave the tarmac for some off-road fun. I have driven it in hostile terrain as a part of Land Rover’s Above And Beyond Tour. Take my word for it, dear Discovery Sport Owners, if you aren’t taking it off-road, you’re missing half the point of the ownership. The Disco Sport gets various driving modes due to the aforementioned Terrain response System, as well as ATPC (All-Terrain Progress Control) which is like cruise control for off-road driving.
What is commendable is on mud tracks or broken roads, the ride quality gets better and better as speed rises. As if to encourage the driver to push it harder, resulting in an incredibly high amount of fun.
So, the 2019 Discovery Sport then, is a great highway miler, has commendable offroad performance and looks handsome. Sure, it misses some features that it’s rival’s latest versions get. The interiors, when compared to these rivals i.e BMW X3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60, are ages behind in terms of design. But it makes that up with rock-solid build quality, commendable performance on and off the road, and 2 extra seats. So, does it make sense to buy one right now?
My opinion: Go for it.
Visit The Land Rover India Official Website to know more.