Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0L Ingenium
Engine: 1998cc, inline-4 cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 9-speed automatic, 4-wheel drive
Top Speed: 200km/h
Price: S$229,999 w/COE (May 2018)
British automaker Land Rover can be something of a conundrum to non-car enthusiasts. Technically a marque in its own right, the Land Rover brand also falls under the larger Jaguar brand umbrella. Its flagship model is called the Range Rover, which has its own variant, the svelte Range Rover Evoque.
They are all Land Rovers, but technically they are also Jaguars. This happened when the Indian automotive company Tata Motors bought them both in 2008 and combined Jaguar and Land Rover into a single entity, but keeping them as two separate brands.
Further downstream from the Land Rover and Range Rover is the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the car driven here. The smallest luxury SUV in the Land Rover line-up, it nevertheless is an imposing vehicle.
The new variant, boasting a new 2.0-litre, turbocharged engine that is completely built in the United Kingdom, is also the most fuel-efficient of the Land Rover Discovery range. With a 200bar direct fuel injection system and a twin-scroll turbocharger, it’s an engine with a very wide power band. Maximum torque is delivered from right off idling speed, and there are no flat spots to be detected as the engine revs climb.
Available as a seven-seater, with two third-row seats that fold flat into the floor, it’s a versatile vehicle that will suit many purposes. Despite a respectable 240hp power output and a nine-speed automatic transmission, it does not feel particularly quick off the mark, largely because of its mass. Despite the name, the Discovery Sport is not designed for speed, but like all current Land Rovers is a capable, off-road vehicle with plenty of luxury trimmings.
In place of the traditional gear lever is a rotary dial on the centre console. This selects the transmission gears and also allows the dashboard to maintain a sleek, clutter-free look that is also shared with Jaguar cars.
The seats have been designed to give the occupants maximum visibility, with the second-row bench positioned slightly higher than the front seats. USB charging ports are also placed throughout the car so on one is going to run low on mobile phone power anytime.
A full suite of multimedia options are installed and selectable via the touchscreen interface, including the integrated GPS navigation system. The interface is slightly more involved than what you’d find in a typical continental car, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is placed in a highly competitive segment with many other luxury SUVs all fighting for a piece of the action, but its advantage is that carries with it a design language and style that is unique and still quite British.