News : Facelifted 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport breaks cover

Land Rover Discovery Sport at the launch

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is hugely important to its maker’s fortunes. It’s Land Rover’s best-selling car, with 438,000 examples built since launch and, as part of the Discovery family, it’s considered core to the company’s line-up. It’s now a premium product in its own right, though, and highly profitable. It’s a world away from the original Land Rover Freelander – its spiritual ancestor – and that is why this mid-life facelift is so important.

For its mid-life facelift, the MY20 Disco Sport boasts an uprated interior, with improved infotainment, updated tech, and a much more ‘premium feeling’ cabin. The revised Discovery Sport looks very much like the 2015 original – and there’s nothing wrong with that as its styling is a highly successful effort. So, it gets reprofiled front and rear bumpers, wider track, new front and rear LED lights, and some new alloy wheel designs including 21-inch wheels available for the first time.

In other words – it’s a gentle visual update of an admittedly good-looking SUV. That’s still enough for Design Director Gerry McGovern to say, ‘Building on the success of the original Discovery Sport, this beautifully proportioned vehicle has been refined, enhancing its characterful exterior which compliments the engaging nature of the interior space.’ Andy Wheel, Chief Designer on the Disco Sport project, is more direct, saying: ‘we’re putting more sport into the Sport.’

Land Rover Discovery Sport: under the skin

The biggest news is the Disco Sport’s move to JLR’s Premium Transverse Architecture (below), which was introduced on the L551-generation Range Rover Evoque. It’s an updated version of the old Discovery Sport’s underpinnings, and usefully improved as a consequence. The monocoque is now 13% stiffer than before and it features new rigidly-mounted subframes.

The new platform has been designed for the introduction of the new 48-volt mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) powertrains, which also debuted on the Range Rover Evoque. It uses an engine-mounted belt-integrated starter generator to harvest energy and store it in an under-floor battery. So, you get coasting below 11mph, and the stored energy is used to make take-off smoother.

As before, the Disco Sport is powered by JLR’s modular Ingenium range of petrol and diesel engines. The most economical front-wheel-drive D150 version delivers CO2 emissions from as low as 140g/km (NEDC) and up to 47.8mpg combined (WLTP). Land Rover says that the three-cylinder PHEV variant will join the range later in 2019. Land Rover says the Disco Sport is one of the first Real Driving Emissions Stage 2 (RDE2) certified engines offered in its class.

Land Rover Discovery Sport (2020)

Land Rover Discovery Sport: new tech for 2020

Lots of new features previously seen in the Range Rover Velar and Evoque have made their way into the Disco Sport. You now get Ground View technology. This is Land Rover’s clever forward view system that uses projected camera imagery to offer a virtual 180-degree view beneath the vehicle which is displayed on the touchscreen. Other new features include wireless charging, a 4G WiFi hotspot as well as USB and 12-volt connectivity points on every row of seats. There’s also a reversing camera as standard on all models.

Standard safety features include Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Driver Condition Monitor and, if you are start ticking the options boxes, you can also have Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist. As we say, it’s an incremental improvement, that largely brings the Disco Sport up to the level of its rivals.

What’s the new Disco Sport like inside?

Land Rover says that the biggest change is the quality of the interior, and the introduction of more ‘premium’ materials transforms the cabin. We’ll reserve judgement on that, but similar changes to the Jaguar XE have made a difference. It also gets new seats across each of the three rows and the additional ability to 40:20:40 split-fold and slide the centre row. We’ve had a poke around the car at the launch, and early impressions are that the quality has been usefully improved, and the new seats are more supportive than before.

Disco Sport regulars will no doubt spot the loss of the old rotary transmission selector and the the uprated digital Touch Pro infotainment system that made its debut in the Range Rover Velar. It’s a widescreen system with a large landscape-format screen, and is just about on the pace of the opposition – a real improvement over what came before. You don’t get the ‘Duo’ lower screen of the Velar, but you get ‘secret ’til lit’ controls that mirror that car, using the same twin-knob heating and secondary controls.

You also get a ‘smart rear-view mirror’, like that fitted to the Range Rover Evoque, which usefully improves rear visibility when the boot is loaded or you have rear-seat passengers.

Land Rover Discovery Sport interior

When can I buy one and how much is it?

The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is available to order now, with deliveries starting from the autumn, and is priced from £31,575 for the standard front-wheel-drive version in D150 form, and tops out at £48,575 for the P250 R-Design in HSE form. The PHEV model will be arriving around six months after that.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is available in standard and R-Dynamic body variations, and each of those comes in S, SE and HSE trims. How can you tell a standard Disco Sport from an R-Dynamic? Look for the sportier bumpers and body coloured sills and arches.

Land Rover Discovery Sport (2020)

Keith Adams


  1. I am no fan of these SUVs but I must say that this a lot better than the competition, for example whenever I see a white Volvo XC40, I think it looks like a giant Star Wars Storm Trooper’s helmet on wheels.

  2. I thought PTA stood for Parent Teacher Association…

    What? Too soon?

    It looks like a slightly deranged late night Chinese restaurant manager both coming and going and will invariably be driven by one-speed and one-lane (theirs, ie the middle of the road) wonders.

    And please please please stop with the “safety” electronics. We are suffering from a pandemic of “shit-driver-disease” as it is. Every driver should be trained by a police advanced driver grade instructor in remanufactured beetleback Vanguards on crossplies. There should be a reporting system for dangerous and incompetent driving instructors – which would decimate the collective. I was taught by a guy called Jim Khan – who taught the police advanced drivers – I hope he’s still alive and kicking – but if he’s not – that whirring you hear is him spinning in his grave faster than a redlined Hayabusa.

    I think I need to look into a LUS kit for the Wolseley (Landcrab Urban Survival). In other news the self designed and built long plenum intake, electronic ignition & new “KW” competition needle have made a real improvement.

    Translation index #672

    PHEV – Perennially Hyped Electric Vehicle.

  3. They’d be better to call it CVT – Child View Technology – so soccer mom can get a “Bones” eye view of the kid she just squished while she was on the phone while doing her makeup.. Steering with her knees..

    • Oh that is so unPC and so very very true.

      You forgot the 50 quid designer coffee cup she spilled in the process

      Talk about driverless vehicles – nappy valley SW London is already gull of them 😉

  4. It does make you wonder how they managed to create the absolute monstrosity that is the full sized Discovery

    Having said that, the Velar looks downright bizarre and oddly proportioned when its not in silver in real life.

    • To me (and indeed all the reviews I’ve read) the Velar is a stunning looking vehicle.

  5. For what it’s worth, I’ve owned one of these for three years and I’m not a middle lane hogger. I’m not a soccer mom either. It’s very space efficient inside and its external dimensions are just right. I work in the countryside, the 4WD is actually useful for me. I know lots of people think McGovern has lost the styling plot but I think it looks good. People also compare the Ingenium to a tractor engine; all I can say is there must be some damn nice tractors out there. It’s too heavy but the MPG is alright, the connectivity is okay but the transmission slow witted. It can shift and it handles very well I think, but it’s no sportscar. It also hasn’t gone wrong and it’s without so much as a squeak – yet. I really like it, on its own merits. I’ve never really given a monkeys about what other road users think when I’m driving it – considerately.

    • If I wanted a “soft roader” and needed genuine off road capability, the Disco Sport is still a very attractive package.

  6. I’m now on my 6th Land Rover product in a row after having been completely blown away by being taken around a Land Rover off road course, at Gaydon, late in 2010. I simply could not believe what it would do! Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to give this car a proper approach angle; it would seriously struggle to get around the serious bits of a course without getting its deep front spoiler and huge front overhang firmly wedged in the ground! The 21″ wheels and low profile tyres are also an unwelcome concession to fashion over function.

    But, practicality and off road compromises aside, it looks better than it did and it now looks fresh again. The lights are nice, the black roof really suits it. The inside looks a lot nicer, even if they have fallen back in line with all of the ordinary manufacturers and fitted a traditional (and obsolete) standard automatic gear selector.

  7. I still think the idea of applying the world “sport” to a vehicle like this is hilarious. What is a “Sport Utility Vehicle” anyway? I thought a sports car was something like a Lotus and a Utility Vehicle is the thing that empties my dustbins every week. I still can’t recall anyone combining the two successfully.

    As to the Disco Sport itself, I have to grudgingly admit I that quite like it. It’s certainly much better looking than its competition. I’m also delighted that LR have resisted the urge to try and make it as eye-poppingly hideous as the full-on “Fat Arse Five” Discovery and greatly releived they’ve left the number plate in the right place.

  8. I wasnt a fan of these when they were launched originally but they have grown on me visually,
    I had a real Discovery (2) and now have a Freelander (2) which is the pre decessor to the Sport and Id say its a possibility as a replacement for the Freelander but not for a good few years yet.
    They do have notorious problems with the Ingenium engine needing much more frequent oil changes than recommended due to oil dilution on DPF regeneration and with cam shaft wear.
    These problems will not be much of an issue to the first (mainly pcp) owners but may well be a headache for somone buying them a few years later.
    Not a fan of McGovern’s “style” but I think this is the best looking of the current line up, waiting with interest to see what new Defender turns out like.

    • Oil dilution? So the DPF wastes so much diesel on regen that it’s peeing down the bores? Not good.

      I suspect the chocolate camshaft problem will be solved soon after they solve that because the cam first to wear with oil starvation.

      A case of “hail to the new boss, same as the old boss” as far as reliability is concerned.

  9. I drive 35,000 – 40,000 miles a year. I have driven exclusively LR products over that time (Freelander 2’s, Disco 4’s & now an L405 Full Fat RR), totalling around 300,000 miles in all. All but one of these cars have been bought and run with my own money. I have spent around a quarter of a million pounds on LR’s over those 8 years.

    A colleague has just completed 130,000 miles in his 3 year old, Ingenium powered, Disco Sport.

    A colleague still ruins my original FL2 and that’s showing over 180,000 miles now and the current owner won’t part with it for anything.

    Consequently, I’m pretty well qualified to give an opinion on LR reliability.

    Firstly, the 130,000 mile DS was still running its original camshafts and balance shafts. It had problems with both EGR’s and DPF’s, but nothing that doesn’t affect similarly equipped cars – even those that came from Germany! It had a new gearbox, but that’s probably more to do with LR saying that it never needs an oil change, when ZF (who make the ‘box) say it should be changed every 60,000 miles.

    I’ve had two annoying problems on all of my LR’s put together: one Disco 4 needed a new high pressure oil pump, while the Fatty has needed a new oil sensor, which was a 7 hour job to fit and it needed a new turbo, as a result of oil contamination from the leaking oil sensor. That’s it, over 6 cars and 300,000 miles and all sorted at no cost to me.

    I’ve driven this sort of annual mileage since 1985, in cars from Nissan, Vauxhall, Austin, Ford, Citroen, Peugeot, Volvo, BMW (MINI) and now Land Rover. No single car has been more reliable than the LR’s, or had better manufacturer support, while it’s been a lot better than some (Citroen, Vauxhall and Ford come to mind).

    I get pretty twitchy when I read the same old comments about LR reliability, from people that probably don’t share that level of experience of the brand. However, they’ve heard the same old stories and are very happy to repeat them. If you’ve got direct experience with your own LR, please relay it, but please don’t run them down on the basis of Internet / bar room style rumours.


  10. Sorry, paragraph 1 should have read:

    I drive 35,000 – 40,000 miles a year and have done since 1985. I have driven exclusively LR products over the last 8 years of that (Freelander 2’s, Disco 4’s & now an L405 Full Fat RR), totalling around 300,000 miles in them. All but one of these cars has been bought and run with my own money. I have spent around a quarter of a million pounds on LR’s (excluding trade ins) over those 8 years.

    • Thanks for that contribution – there does seem to be a lot of lazy chitchat from non-owners about JLR generally and it’s reliability issues elsewhere, especially on Autocar where the magazine’s alleged pro JLR bias is now being countered by an army of trolls (BMW salesmen on their lunchbreaks?!).

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