THE new addition to the expanding Land Rover Discovery family is set to live up to its billings – it is above and beyond.
A bold and progressive design defines the all-new Discovery Sport.
By Tatenda Macheka
I was fortunate enough to be part of the Sub-Saharan Africa team of motoring writers invited to test drive this new monster on the small and beautiful island of Mauritius.
Although the Discovery Sport is smaller than the Land Rover Discovery, it seems to borrow heavily from successors of the Freelander.
One is tempted to compare it with its “elder cousin”, the Evoque.
But the Discovery Sport’s design leadership combines with engineering integrity to conjure a dynamic profile, the ultimate use of interior space and 5+2 seating configurability.
Land Rover design director and chief creative officer Gerry McGovern said the main challenge is coming up with such a sophisticated product has been to combine premium design with exceptional versatility, and the two attributes must work in harmony.
“I’m proud to say we’ve achieved that, Discovery Sport’s dynamic design will resonate on an emotional level with consumers, and this vehicle is more versatile than any other premium compact SUV on the market,” he believes.
This spirit of adventure is reflected in Discovery Sport’s interior, which has been designed with customers at its core. It features high-quality materials and a strong vertical centre console graphic to reflect the premium design of the exterior, while the core Discovery value of versatility is evident everywhere.
Storage solutions are integrated into the cabin and up to four 12V power points and six USB charging sockets can be specified for all three rows of seating, allowing multiple electronic devices to be charged simultaneously.
The unpredictable weather in Mauritius, humid atmosphere, dormant volcanoes, stretching sugar-cane plantations that sandwiches swatches of Mauritian roads, including shortage of parking space, made my driving of that SUV more interesting, intriguing, unforgettable and fun.
An interesting feature of the Discovery Sport is that when you apply emergency brakes, it automatically deploys its hazards to warn other road users.
The terrain in Mauritius is reminiscent of the terrain back home.
There are stretches similar to the terrain at Mapinga on your way to Chinhoyi or the famous Boterekwa in Shurugwi, Christimas Pass and the ruggedly breathtaking Eastern Highlands. Believe me, the Discovery Sport can conquer just about anything thanks to its intelligent four-wheel drive system. Of course, this car has been developed by Land Rover Dynamics specialists to deliver confident and refined driving experience.
It delivers the ride comfort of a Discovery, but offers higher levels of agility and responsiveness.
However, what impressed me the most is the four-terrain response settings. The first is General Driving, followed by Grass/Gravel/Snow, and then comes Mud and Ruts and the last is Sand. You simply engage the terrain setting that best suits where you are driving. Other key all-terrain chassis technologies include hill descent control (HDC), or Gradient Release Control. HDC makes the driver’s descent from a slope or hill smooth and gentle without changing speed. You need not overly rely on brakes. It also comes with the Hill Start Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Electronic Traction Control and Roll Stability Control.
The Discovery Sport is comfortable, refined and rewarding to drive on-road, while retaining the breadth of all-terrain capability for which Land Rover is world-renowned.
In fact, with approach, departure and break over angles of 25, 31 and 21 degrees respectively, Terrain Response Technology, and the ability to wade to 600mm, Discovery Sport offers class-leading capability in all conditions. As with every new Land Rover, safety has been a key priority in the development of the new Discovery Sport, resulting in a first-in-class pedestrian airbag, autonomous emergency braking, and a state-of-the-art body shell featuring both ultra-high-strength steel and lightweight aluminium. The Discovery Sport is equipped with a range of four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.
Both the all-alloy Si4 2-litre petrol engine and the 2,2-litre turbo diesel feature high-pressure direct injection, low-friction internal components and smart regenerative charging for outstanding performance and economy.
Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa managing director Richard Gouverneur said it is, without a doubt, the most accomplished vehicle in its segment
Discovery Sport is produced at Land Rover’s award-winning manufacturing facility at Halewood, Liverpool.
It is believed that there are already 12 Land Rover Discovery Sport vehicles that have already been bought by Zimbos. During its 67 years of existence, the Land Rover has penetrated 170 global markets. Discovery Sport features an all-new premium infotainment system, with an 8-inch touch screen display and 800×480 pixel resolution for an easy and intuitive user experience.
It allows drivers to monitor and control a wide range of functions by dragging, scrolling or swiping content, just as they might on a smartphone.
The home screen provides easy access to audio, climate, telephone and navigation functions, while users can swipe to an additional two screens to access a range of other functions. This includes 4x4i off-road displays, Eco Data and ambient lighting control.
Largely shared with the award-winning Range Rover Evoque, the front architecture includes a magnesium crossbeam for outstanding torsional rigidity and reduced weight. Discovery Sport is 80mm higher than the Range Rover Evoque because of the wheelbase.
A range of four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and turbodiesel engines is available. All feature stop-start technology, high-pressure direct injection, low-friction internal components and smart regenerative charging for outstanding performance and economy.
Petrol derivatives use an all-alloy Si4 2-litre engine with 177kW and direct fuel injection. This offers six-cylinder levels of performance in a compact package that reduces weight and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by up to 20 per cent, compared to conventional larger capacity engines with a similar power output. There are 2,2-litre turbo diesel derivatives which are available in either 110kW TD4 or 140kW SD4 specification. With both TD4 and SD4 producing the same 420Nm, drivers can count on exceptional fuel efficiency,as well as effortless overtaking ability.
All engine derivatives are mated to an advanced ZF 9HP48 nine-speed automatic transmission for peerless refinement, efficiency, driver engagement and off-road capability.
Discovery Sport customers can choose from 12 exterior colourways: Fuji White, Santorini Black, Corris Grey, Indus Silver, Loire Blue, Scotia Grey, Aintree Green, Kaikoura Stone, Firenze Red, Yulong White, Barolo Black and Phoenix Orange.
Discovery Sport’s interior is an inclusive and highly configurable space, making it perfect for demanding family schedules and active lifestyles.
Land Rover designers have prioritised head, knee and shoulder room, and interior space is excellent in all derivatives thanks to a wheelbase of 2741mm, while the backs of the front seats are ergonomically contoured to unlock even more knee room.
Having spent close to 17 hours behind its steering, I could only judge that this is really a bold revolution that is ready to meet any challenge.
Zimbabwean prices range from US$64 400, which is the entry point, up to USD$94 000.
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