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The Land Rover Discovery Sport is impressively competent as a plug-in hybrid.
ClearSight rear-view mirror, surround camera system, head-up display, heated steering wheel, 14-way electrically-adjustable front seats with memory settings, Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, 12in digital instrument display, wireless device charging, Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility, rear privacy glass, heated windscreen, matrix LED headlights, keyless entry, Terrain Response off-road settings, blindspot assistance, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assistant, traffic sign recognition, adaptive speed limiter
309hp 1.5 petrol plus
R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE, R-Dynamic HSE
We first drove the revamped Discovery Sport just over a year ago. It's actually a second-generation version, although it looks like a subtle redesign of the original.
The reason an entirely new platform for the car was ushered in just five years after the first Discovery Sport went on sale was because of its ability to accommodate electrification.
Now's the time for the new platform to shine with the launch of the plug-in hybrid version, giving refuge to company car drivers who have seen their tax liability reach eye-watering levels using diesel or petrol variants.
The combined output of engine and electric motor is 309hp, with maximum torque of 398lb-ft.
Unfortunately for now, the EV range of the Discovery Sport isn't quite as high as originally expected. It's certified at up to 34 miles, which, with CO2 emissions of 44g/km puts it in the 10% BIK tax bracket for the current financial year. So far, so good, as this is competitive with most rivals.
But when the model was announced earlier this year Land Rover had ambitions to eke out 40 miles of EV range from the battery. It still has these ambitions, but it seems that the opportunity to officially test and certify it during the coronavirus pandemic has not arisen. It seems likely that at some point a Discovery Sport with up to 40 miles of EV range will appear, and would be four percentage points lower for BIK tax than the current model.
That's probably not a deal-breaker for many, but perhaps enough to make people feel happier about choosing one if their company car swap is a little further down the road.
However, we already know the new Discovery Sport is a good car from our experience with the diesel version a year ago. It combines excellent refinement, with a solid and robust feel.
The high-level of specification offered with the plug-in hybrid makes it look good value, especially with the level of performance available too (0-62mph in 6.6 seconds), and, perhaps aided by the low-mounted battery pack, the ride and handling is also impressive for a fairly large SUV.
Other versions of the Discovery Sport are available with a seven-seat option, but the plug-in hybrid technology makes it impossible to have more than five on the P300E. However, it means boot space is decent (the 847 litres mentioned in Land Rover's data is up to roof height, which is a different volume measurement from the minimum all other car manufacturers provide), and there is a little underfloor capacity too.
If you really needed a seven-seater in the family, you might consider conventional-fuelled alternatives as plug-in hybrids with that level of accommodation are rare, and are usually much larger cars.
The level of equipment on our R-Dynamic S variant - effectively the entry point to plug-in hybrid - is high with a raft of safety and convenience features fitted as standard.
The Discovery Sport is a very likeable car in PHEV guise, and should increase fleet interest in the Land Rover brand.