Driven: the Land Rover Discovery Sport

With its piddly four-cylinder engine, is the Disco Sport a real off-road car? 

Damien Reid February 3, 2016

It’s been some time since I’ve clambered behind the wheel of a Land Rover product and yet as soon as I made myself comfortable, it all seemed familiar, like rediscovering your favourite pair of old shoes in the back of the cupboard. 

What followed after the brief whir of the starter was an element of surprise as I heard the distinctively quiet murmur of a four-cylinder, petrol engine. 

Yes, you see for decades before, the Land Rover came with two engine options comprising a V8 or a V-e-e  E-i-g-h-t and much later to keep the tree huggers happy, it added the clackety-clack of a diesel.

That I could handle, but a four-cylinder petrol Land Rover? 

Its 2-litre turbo four is a good unit, but how it handles the demands needed for serious off-roading I’m not sure. Although with a nine-speed auto (yes, nine!) it almost literally does have a gear for every occasion to get out of tight spots off road with the added bonus of it returning ridiculously good fuel consumption. Though you may get a bit tired of the constant gear changing. 

As a comfortable, easy-to-maneuver family wagon it ticks many of the right boxes, just don’t get fooled into thinking that having a Land Rover badge is an automatic ticket to Anywheresville and expect it to get back out again. 

Even with its very intelligent Terrain Select System that optimizes torque and delivers it to the correct wheels at the right time depending on the terrain which you select with the dial, it’s still a softroader, albeit one with a legendary pedigree of fine SUV engineering behind it. 

The Land Rover Discovery Sport and I gelled nicely after our few days together but it wasn’t until after it was returned that I realised I hadn’t taken it off road, which is something I’ve always done with previous Landies. 

It wasn’t intentional, rather I just never had the inclination or I didn’t receive the message like a mischievous pup when you come home after work that it wanted to play. 

I liked the new Discovery Sport but for entirely non-offroad-related reasons and I’m still not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. 

The Specs:

  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo
  • Power: 240bhp @ 5800rpm
  • Torque: 340Nm @ 1750rpm
  • Transmission: nine-speed automatic
  • 0-100kmh 8.0 seconds
  • Top Speed: 200kmh
  • Price: AED 159,000