The BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLK Class and Infiniti QX50 dominate shopping mall parking lots throughout suburban America. The most “off-roading” any of these vehicles do, is if they accidentally hop a curb while fighting for a parking spot in front of Aldo. While many of these CUVs actually do have some decent off-road chops, they are never, ever utilized. This is where Land Rover comes in, to shake things up.
I’ve always been a fan of Land Rover and their off-road-first mentality. That same mentality has been used in creating the new Discovery Sport.
Successor to the LR2, the Discovery Sport attempts to take on the Germans and Japanese for luxury-crossover domination. As the only car here that can actually handle rough conditions, it poses a big threat to the competition. Built on a new, aluminum-intensive platform, the “Disco” is the most modern and high-tech CUV in the segment.
Some of the tech that comes standard on the Disco Sport are as follows: 9-speed, ZF automatic, Terrain Response System, Trailer-Stability Assist, Hill Start Control and Hill Descent Control. You can see where Land Rover’s priorities are when it comes to standard equipment.
The engine is a familiar 2.0 liter, turbocharged four-cylinder which makes 240 hp and is borrowed from the Evoque. That, when paired to the 9-Speed auto, can take the Disco Sport to 60 mph from a standstill in 7.8 seconds. Not as fast as the X3 or the Q5, but outright speed is not its mission. And while it handles well enough, with nicely weighted steering and decent chassis dynamics, it won’t beat an X3 around a track. Not that any sane human would take either to a track (I would).
The Disco looks good too. It has all of the classic, rugged Land Rover styling with some new, Evoque-inspired touches to keep it fresh. Most importantly, though, it looks utilitarian. It isn’t trying to be something it’s not like the Lexus NX, it looks like a Land Rover. The interior is all business as well, with nothing too fancy, just enough leather and creature comforts to make it a nice place to be. That steering wheel, while nicely trimmed, is an inoffensive yet functional piece and the rest of the cabin shares that same style.
The best part about the Disco Sport is the price. Starting at $37,070, and coming with all of that aforementioned kit as standard, it undercuts the X3 with xDrive by $3,000. Considering that is has actual off-road credibility, along with good looks and a good interior, the Disco Sport could very well eat the X3’s lunch. While not as good looking as the X3, in my book, it adds much more functionality for less money. Let’s just hope it doesn’t follow after the previous North American Discovery and fall apart after six miles.