Land Rover Discovery Sport Review, First Drive

By Ravi Ved | on February 17, 2019

Another year, another update – but is it enough?

Gone are the days when a car’s lifecycle was about 4 to 5 years. Believing firmly in the idea that ‘change is the only constant,’ Land Rover has been continually updating the Discovery Sport ever since its launch. And, while some of these changes have been rather trifling, others have been more significant. Let’s take a quick look at the updates over the years.

Land Rover added a petrol variant to the Discovery Sport in 2016, the new Ingenium diesel in 2017 and expanded the feature list in 2018. Now, for MY2019, JLR has added a more powerful motor to the SE and HSE variants. This motor has been on offer for a while now, but only in the top-spec HSE Luxury trim. Land Rover has now introduced it in the mid-spec SE and HSE variants too. 

Power up 
We’ve tested the HSE variant of the Discover Sport in its previous avatars, but previously with its 148bhp motor. While its low-and mid-range was acceptable, it needed more power at the top of the rev range – something that also reflected in its in-gear acceleration. The lack of power, in fact, was quite evident when you really wanted to step on it. The 2019 Discovery Sport, in the HSE trim too, gets the more powerful 174bhp mill – the same one that powers the XE and XF sedans. 

Land Rover Discovery Sport Rear View

Drive the 2019 Discovery Sport, and you’ll immediately feel the difference in acceleration. The additional 30 horses that the car develops makes it a bit livelier and punchier. In comparison to its 148bhp tune, this one certainly manages to hide the weight of the Disco more effectively. A wee bit of lag can be felt below 2,000rpm, but once the tacho crosses that mark, the availability of 430Nm of torque is quite satisfying. Sure, in terms of acceleration it doesn’t feel as quick as the XE, but the presence of that little bit of extra power and torque does bring it on par with the competition. 

The 2019 Discovery Sport continues to be paired with the same 9-speed automatic gearbox. It still provides slick upshifts, but also slightly hesitant downshifts. In Dynamic mode, the transmission feels a little better oriented. 

Carving corners
If touring is on your agenda, the Discovery Sport works phenomenally well. While it claims to be a 7-seater, the last row isn’t the most comfortable place to find yourself in. Out on the highway, the Disco Sport is very stable. The suspension does a great job of ironing out highway imperfections, but it still feels far too firm in the city – tossing around its occupants on bad roads. And while the steering is slightly on the heavy side, as a result of which it requires some extra effort in the city, it does provide a great deal of stability to the driver. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall 
From the outside, the 2019 Discovery Sport isn’t very different from the model it replaces. Although we like the butch stance and the pure SUV feel of the Discovery Sport’s design, there’s no denying that it’s starting to show its age. And that really becomes apparent when you pit it against recent SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Land Rover, however, does offer the Dynamic Design Package with an additional body kit, chrome tail pipe and a unique black radiator grille. But, sadly, it’s limited to the top-end HSE Luxury variant. 

Land Rover Discovery Sport Interior

The interior, too, tells a rather familiar story. While the infotainment system has recently been updated, much like on other JLR offerings, the size of the screen does seem a bit small in comparison to the competition. And the analogue instrumentation appears to be a bit too basic as well. The Discovery Sport leaves little to complain about in terms of fit-and-finish though. 

Finally… 
The 2019 Discovery Sport doesn’t quite ‘sport’ as many changes as we would’ve liked. It looks the same, feels much the same and doesn’t really wow you into suddenly becoming a believer. But, in fairness, JLR hasn’t increased the price of the 2019 Discovery Sport either. The starting price continues to be `44.68 lakh, while the HSE variant that we tested is priced at `55.80 lakh. With that in mind, and with the additional power and torque on offer, the Discovery Sport remains a sensible choice for someone looking for a capable SUV that’s great on the highway as well as off the beaten path. 

Oh, and there’s a facelifted version coming later this year – so expect yet another update not before too long…  

  • 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Engine: 1,999cc / 4-Cylinders / 16-Valves / Turbocharged

Fuel: Diesel

Power: 174bhp @ 4,000rpm

Torque: 430Nm @ 1,750rpm

Price: ₹55.80 lakh (ex-showroom)

X-Factor: Additional power and torque, along with Land Rover’s unmatched off-road ability, keeps the Discovery Sport relevant.

Pros           
• Steering feedback
• Solid build quality
• Off-road ability

Cons
• Starting to look & feel dated

Tags: Land Rover Land Rover Discovery Sport

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Land Rover Discovery Sport [2018-2020] Model Image
Last Recorded Price ₹ N/A Ex Showroom Price (New Delhi)

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