Land Rover has launched the updated Discovery Sport. Now many of you might not even know the Discovery Sport, such was the anonymity of this new car’s predecessor. Not this guy. This guy will be known, presence felt and acknowledged. If Land Rover South Africa plays its cards right and markets this car properly, it should become the company’s bread and butter. SUVs, especially of its size and positioning, are currently doing well in the marketplace. They must take this opportunity with both hands because they finally have the product to be competitive. Very competitive.

Here in Mzansi the Discovery Sport is being offered in four models; two turbo diesels called D180, and two turbo petrols called P250. Additionally each engine model comes in five trim levels namely base, S, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE and R-Dynamic HSE, each with its own standard and optional features. At the launch event in the Western Cape area we only had the D180 diesel models to drive.

One will be able to spot the updated car from a distance, thanks to a whole new front and rear design. Basically it has taken from the likes of Velar and Evoque by adding a stylish front grille with new LED headlights and daytime running lights, new bumpers, redesigned and rear LED lights. Depending on the trim type one will also get Satin Dark Grey alloy wheels. The normal wheels range from 17-inch to 21-inches.

Having driven and experienced the pre-update model a few years ago, the new Discovery Sport now looks better than ever before. The interior features new, higher quality build materials that look and feel better than before. The surfaces feel more solid to the hand too. A new Touch Pro touch screen infotainment system with satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple Carplay, Android Auto and wireless charging. Some of these are optional, depending on the model chosen.

The Discovery Sport is quite spacious inside, with an option of a third row of seats which means two extra seats right at the back for smaller people. Of course when those two seats are up there is minimal boot space, so there is always a trade-off. The second row also slides. Land Rover offers plenty of storage spaces, including the cubby hole, cup holders front and rear, as well as the cooled centre console among others. There is better noise insulation, which means a quieter drive.

Land Rover is known for its off-road prowess and the Discovery Sport is no different. While it will not literally go anywhere, there are few types of terrain that it cannot cover, thanks to several technical aspects that include all-wheel-drive, Terrain Response 2 surface selector, a wading depth of 600mm, 25-degree approach angle,30-degree departure angle – the sportier R-Design models will have lower angles – and automatic Hill Descent control.

Power is provided by 2.0-litre engines; one petrol and the other diesel. The petrol P250 produces 184kW of power and 365Nm of torque, while the D180 makes 132kW and 430Nm of torque. Both are paired to an updated 9-speed ZF automatic transmission which I found to be very smooth during the drive. It engages easily, with shifts going through at expected periods. Land Rover says average fuel consumption is around 7 litres per 100km for the D180, and about 9.3 litres per 100km for the P250. Nought to 100km/h sprint times range from 7.6 to 10.1 seconds, according to Land Rover’s own tests.

Thanks to the raft of improvements, added technologies, and a much more attractive look, the Land Rover Discovery Sport will no longer sit anonymously at the corner while its competitors run away with buyers’ wallets. It now certainly deserves to be seriously looked at as an alternative, especially for those who require extra off-road abilities that some competitors just don’t offer in the premium segment.

Land Rover Discovery Sport Prices

D180 – R749 500

D180 S – R795 500

D180 AWD R-Dynamic S – R819 100

D180 AWD R-Dynamic SE – R855 300

D180 AWD R-Dynamic HSE – R897 800

P250 AWD – R759 900

P250 S AWD – R805 800

P250 AWD R-Dynamic S – R829 500

P250 AWD R-Dynamic SE – R865 700

P250 AWD R-Dynamic HSE – R908 100

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