The current-generation Land Rover Discovery Sport has been around for over half a decade now and it remains one of the most lucrative yet underrated choices in the segment. But the recent update on the brand’s global bestseller aims to change that; bringing that much-needed upgrade to elevate the Discovery Sport’s appeal. The Land Rover Discovery Sport facelift then boasts of new styling, features, engines and even a new platform underneath. Do the plush new upgrades infuse some freshness in this British SUV? Read on to find out.
WATCH: Land Rover Discovery Sport Facelift Review
The pre-facelift Land Rover Discovery Sport was always a handsome SUV and the new one builds on the same while bringing it visually under the Discovery family umbrella. Upgrades include the slimmer and wider headlights with new LED daytime running lights, which run standard across all variants. The new grille looks smoother than before with the honeycomb mesh, and the bumper has been reworked to accommodate the LED fog lamps and the silver-finished skid plate. In this R-Dynamic SE trim, it gets the body painted lower-cladding and is finished in black on the lower grades. Changes at the rear are minimal and include the new bumper with the skid plate and a new set of LED taillights sporting a new signature pattern. For the record, I did like the circular LED DRLs and taillight pattern on the pre-facelift Disco Sport, which also gave it a more distinctive look. Land Rover India could’ve also added the machine-cut alloy wheels on the top-spec Discovery Sport as seen on the international spec model, and the current ones look a tad dull on the otherwise premium car.
If you think the new Discovery Sport is wearing only a pair of new clothes, look again. The facelifted version is based on the new Premium Transverse Architecture, which also underpins the new-generation Range Rover Evoque. You would wonder why we need a new platform altogether? And the answer is electrification. The new platform has been designed to accommodate batteries, new mild-hybrid engines, and spawns a plug-in hybrid version internationally while making room for an all-electric version in the future. The new body is also 13 per cent stiffer than its predecessor, and the rigidly-mounted subframes reduce noise and vibration intrusion into the cabin. And yes, there is a noticeable level of silence in the cabin than before.
The cabin hasn’t changed too much but gets laced with wood and brushed aluminium inserts, and leather upholstery. The quality levels are top-notch and everything feels plush albeit with a certain degree of ruggedness. For fans of the older gear selector, Land Rover has replaced the same with a conventional gear shift knob and it does take away some of that novelty in favour of convenience.
There’s also the new widescreen infotainment system that brings a new and easy-to-use interface along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The unit is heavy on information right from off-roading data, vehicle telematics, navigation and more. Land Rover has also replaced the climate control buttons on the centre console with feather-touch ones that light up on a piano black surface. The unit looks more premium but is prone to attracting dust. There is no haptic feedback, which means you end up inadvertently selecting options while trying to access the infotainment screen. The company has also cleverly integrated the driver side AC control to double up as a dial for Terrain Response 2, while the passenger side climate control dial doubles up as a blower at the touch of a button. The haptic treatment extends to the new steering wheel controls offering multiple options on the same unit.
There’s also the new digital instrument console on the Discovery Sport facelift and is configurable as well. Sadly, it is restricted to the range-topping HSE trim, while the lower variants will get a semi-digital unit. Interestingly, the panoramic sunroof is standard, along with a 180 watt Meridian sound system from Meridian and wireless charging. The Discovery Sport also benefits from the new and clever ClearSight Camera feature that gives a clearer view of what’s happening behind with the IRVM turning into a monitor.
The front seats are comfortable and well-bolstered, but a tad too firm. The second row is comfortable with ample legroom and headroom, while the third row is best reserved for children. The boot capacity is a decent 115 litres with all three rows up, which can be increased to 840 litres with the third row folded, and a humongous 1451 litres with the second row folded as well. There are enough and more storage spaces and charging points across all three rows, while the large quarter-glass lends a better sense of space in the third row.
Also Read: New Land Rover Discovery Sport BS6 Petrol Deliveries Begin In India
Performance & Dynamics
The new platform makes the new Land Rover Discovery Sport heavier than the pre-facelift version, but there is a slight sense of urgency now. That also comes from the new petrol and diesel engines. We are driving the 2.0-litre turbo diesel that is now a part of the Ingenium family and develops 177 bhp at 4000 rpm and 430 Nm between 1750-2500 rpm. There is also a 2.0-litre Ingenium turbo petrol on offer with 247 bhp available at 5500 rpm and 365 Nm of peak torque that kicks in between 1400-4500 rpm. The overall performance has seen an improvement and it feels a lot more responsive than the predecessor. Power kicks in from as low as 1700 rpm, but the 9-speed automatic transmission has been calibrated for more relaxed shifts. It’s apparent when you slow down for a speed bump and then want an immediate surge in power. The engine has been optimised for strong mid-range performance but power tapers off at the top-end.
The handling has seen a vast improvement over the pre-facelift Discovery Sport and the SUV attacks corners with much more confidence. There is, of course, noticeable body roll but the SUV remains composed around a bend. The overall performance isn’t outright sporty, which is ironic for its name. Instead, the new Disco Sport has been optimised for a more comfortable drive. The ride quality is excellent and the suspension does a good job in absorbing undulations and even the nastier potholes without a hassle, albeit at cruising speeds. The set-up does get a little uncomfortable at lower speeds. The cabin is better insulated than before, with only some of the tyre noise creeping in at high speeds. The braking set-up is strong and there are plenty of electronic aids to keep you in control.
The new Discovery Sport is in its element on the highway and is definitely what a family would want to be driven around in. The ride quality supple, the motor is refined and the steering offers adequate feedback. You could cruise between 80-120 kmph in the ninth gear all day and the SUV will feel at home without any hassle.
Also Read: 2020 Land Rover Defender: Five Things You Need To Know
Being a Land Rover, the Discovery Sport facelift has that off-road DNA in-bred and that’s what differentiates it from the rest of the competition. The SUV has a 25-degree approach angle, 20-degree ramp angle and a 30.2-degree departure angle. The water wading depth is an impressive 600 mm. There’s a torque-vectoring system which works by applying brakes and allows the Disco to trundle over difficult terrain with ease. The system works well enough in auto mode, but other options are available if you want finer control with Terrain Response 2. The only things stopping it from taking over the countryside are its road-biased tyres.
The new Discovery Sport comes with six airbags, Roll Stability Control, Emergency Brake Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Auto High Beam Assist and Lane Keep Assist. There’s also the Driver Condition Monitor that will warn you in case the driver feels drowsy, while features like the 360-degree Parking Aid and Park Assist are a boon. The SUV has also scored a five-star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash test results and that’s reassuring.
The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is priced from ₹ 60.99 lakh for the S Diesel trim, going up to ₹ 64.46 lakh for the range-topping R-Dynamic SE petrol. The R-Dynamic SE Diesel we are driving is priced at ₹ 63.23 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom India). Compared to its rivals that include the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Volvo XC60 and the likes, the Discovery Sport is competitively priced and also offers that little extra with three rows of utility.
Also Read: Land Rover Range Rover Sport Crosses 1 Million Sales Milestone
What appears to be a mild evolution of Land Rover’s global bestseller is actually a bit of a tech revolution. The styling is premium, the new infotainment system is a breeze to use and the new architecture is a step forward in bringing more versatility to the range. The new Discovery Sport is also competitively priced and plusher than its predecessor, with notable improvements. It helps that the three-row configuration brings in that extra level of practicality over its rivals. For those looking at a luxurious yet functional highway mile muncher, the Land Rover Discovery Sport facelift is a capable all-rounder that absolutely needs to be on your consideration list.
For the latest auto news and reviews, follow carandbike.com on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.