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: 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.
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.