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Land Rover Discovery Sport Test Drive Review

Date: 06 January 2015   |   Author:

Category: 4x4
P11D: £42,650
Rival: BMW X3
On sale: January 2015

The Discovery Sport kicks off Jaguar Land Rover's fleet campaign this month, as the firm renews its focus on the corporate market having previously not had enough of the right products to attack it.
It's really the Jaguar XE that will lead the JLR's fleet ambitions, and so the Discovery Sport, with its 166g/km CO2 2.2-litre diesel  engine, makes the corporate launch a bit of a soft one.

There will be a 119g/km two-wheel drive model that will go on sale in the middle of next year, which will be big news for fleets, but in the meantime, eager user choosers can snap up the first Discovery Sports before the end of January. Land Rover says it has 120 fleet orders before anyone has got behind the wheel, but wouldn't elaborate any further on volumes or what sort of percentage of sales fleet would represent.

It did say it was expecting a high proportion of customers to be conquest sales and admitted there would be some Range Rover Evoque and Freelander 2 customers that would make the switch.

The Discovery Sport is the first in a family of lifestyle vehicles under the Discovery name, and the idea is that it's skewed towards practicality, rather than design like the Evoque.

There's certainly more space in the Discovery Sport, with a total wheelbase of 4590mm compared with the Evoque's 4355mm, and there's also the added bonus of seven seats as standard. The extra seats in the back are a bit cramped, but they're fine for occasional use. All the seats are easy to drop down flat too with a button-push operation just inside the boot wall.

There are four trims on offer, made up of SE, SE Tech, HSE and HSE Luxury. The SE Tech and HSE trims have been singled out as the fleet favourites.

The cabin is full of plush leather and detail stitching on the HSE Luxury trim we tested, and JLR engineers have dampened things well enough to effectively keep the majority of road and wind noise out. The automatic nine-speed gearbox is smooth and switches up through the gears without vibration.

The weather and routes on the launch in Iceland meant it was difficult to put the Discovery Sport's handling through its paces, but it certainly dealt with the snow and slush with ease. Land Rover's all-terrain response system carries over from other models and it automatically takes on the hard off-road work so that the Discovery Sport, and not the driver, carries the load.

There's a good level of standard safety equipment included, with a five-star rating at EuroNCAP and a pedestrian airbag, which deploys on the bonnet. Autonomous emergency braking and lane-departure warning systems are also available as standard.Fleets can spec a space-saver tyre as an option too.

While the Discovery Sport has a strong badge, good looks and is a practical addition to the Land Rover range, it's difficult to recommend to fleets on running costs at this point.

The model in the trim we tested is pricey when compared against its rivals and it can't compete at this level on CO2 or CPM with the BMW X3 or Audi Q5. It's the X3 that is the clear leader at this level, and the 119g/km CO2 for Land Rover will be vital in improving its performance in fleet.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Model price range     £32,395-£42,995
Residual value       38.9%
Depreciation       £26,100
Fuel         £7710
Service, maintenance and repair £3024
Vehicle Excise Duty   £700
National Insurance     £5297
Cost per mile       89.6p
Fuel consumption     44.9mpg
CO2 (tax)       166g/km (29%)
BIK 20/40% per month £206/£412
Warranty       3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 981/1698 litres
Engine size/power     2179cc/190hp


Good looks and practicality, but fleets should wait for the 119g/km diesel.
  • The Discovery Sport has design and badge cachet on its side
  • It needs the 119g/km diesel to compete against the best