Major makeover for midrange Land Rover

Land Rover's Discovery Sport has been dealt a significant midlife nip and tuck to ward off refreshed opposition from the likes of X5, GLE, XC60, Q5 and Cayman. Over 100 000 Disco Sports were sold last year making it the most popular Landy but waning sales prompted this upgrade, which is far more significant than it may seem at first sight.

The Freelander replacement switches from Land Rover’s D8 platform to the new Evoque’s Premium Transverse Architecture to allow for the adoption of electrified powertrains and the 48V mild-hybrid system using a engine-mounted belt-integrated starter-generator mated to an underfloor battery to offer as good as 6l/100km economy and 144g/km, with a full plug-in hybrid to follow later this year.

Starting with a front driven 110kW D150 diesel six-speed manual, all other models  get four-wheel drive with a nine-speed ZF automatic gearbox, while the flagship P250 MHEV gets a 185kW lump good for a 7.1 second 0-100. Other engines include 135 and 175kW turbodiesels and a 145kW petrol all packing latest Land Rover Terrain Response 2 with four drive modes with Driveline Disconnect to drive only the front wheels during steady and improve efficiency.

Sport gets coil spring suspension with an Adaptive Dynamics to remain capable off-road with a ground clearance of 212mm and 25 degree approach, 30 degree departure and 20 degree break-over and offers a 2 500kg towing capacity with an optional Advanced Tow Assist feature.

New Discovery Sport retains its basic styling but adds some new Evoque and Velar tweaks in new front and rear bumpers, a revamped grille, new lower body mouldings and LED headlights but a major cabin upgrade brings freshTouch Pro infotainment and tech. 

Whether all of Land Rover’s models survive the reasons for this reaction, remains to be seen — JLR has a plethora of models in this neck of the woods with Sport, Disco, Velar, the bigger new Evoque and a couple of Jaguars all chasing the same piece of pie as the rivals mentioned up top and several more, but Sport certainly does address its former challenges….