LR TAKES A KNIFE TO ITS MEDIUM SUV

Model

CAMERON KIRBY

Model Land Rover Discovery Sport P250 SE

Engine 1997cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo

Max power 184kW @ 5500rpm

Max torque 365Nm @ 1400-4500rpm

Transmission 9-speed automatic

Weight 1985kg

0-100km/h 7.8sec (claimed)

Economy 8.1L/100km

Price $67,852

On sale Now

THIS IS much more than a regular mid-life facelift. Land Rover has essentially given the Discovery Sport a new platform and a heavily updated interior four years after it was first released.

The big news for the 2020 Discovery Sport is the addition of 48-volt mild-hybrid systems to all bar one engine, which the company claims improves fuel economy by seven percent.

Further, the Discovery Sport has been moved to an updated platform, the same that underpins the all-new Evoque released earlier in the year. This brings a claimed 10 percent stiffness improvement over the previous model, and introduces revised engine and transmission mounts.

Three diesel and two petrol engines will be available, with the most powerful versions of each made available to Wheels in Spain. Both petrol and diesel are 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo units, with only the 110kW/350Nm D150 diesel missing out on a mild-hybrid system.

Other diesel units are the D180 (132kW/430Nm) and the D240 (177kW/500Nm), while petrol variants comprise either P200 (147kW/320Nm)or P250 (184kW/365Nm) engines.Each sends power to all four wheels via a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission.

Significant effort has gone into the cabin update. There are new seats, along with a 12.0-inch TFT digital instrument cluster, and 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen lifted from the Evoque. The climate controls and terrain response system are also now controlled through a Touch Pro system, and the rotary gear selector has been replaced by a traditional shifter.

While the interior changes improve the feel and quality of the cabin overall, the climate and terrain response controls are now fiddly to operate, with no haptic feedback through the Touch Pro system.

Adaptive cruise, high-speed emergency braking, blindspot assist, the 5+2 seating configuration and an ‘activity key’ are now standard across all variants, going some way to justifying the price increase of roughly $4000 across the range. A petrol P200 S is now the entry-level variant, starting at $60,500, with nine other variants on offer, topping out with the $82,900 D250 HSE R-Dynamic.

Driven well below the limit, where it will surely spend all but the briefest moments of its life, the Discovery Sport remains a smooth cruiser. The most powerful engine tunes we drove were punchy, with the mild-hybrid system effective in providing extra torque down low. The steering is fluid, and the car remains poised and enjoyable on flowing mountain roads.

The test route consisted of roads smoother than Dwayne Johnson’s head, meaning we’ll reserve our judgement on the Discovery Sport’s ride until it faces a proper Aussie B-road. However, the fact that it rides as well as it does, albeit in favourable conditions, while also being capable of significant off-road feats, should be admired.

CAMERON KIRBY

PLUS

Composed on-road handling paired with class-leading off-roading

MINUS

Slow gearbox calibration; no haptic response on touchscreen