|The stylish Land Rover Discovery Sport gets plenty of updates for 2018. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
On the flip side it’s the compact luxury SUV segment’s most accommodating offering, thanks to a spacious interior with up to three rows of seats for a maximum of seven occupants, while all of its rivals seat just five. What’s more, with 981 litres (34.6 cubic feet) of cargo capacity behind its rear seatbacks the Discovery Sport is best in class (by a long shot) for hauling gear. That second row is divided in the usual 60/40 configuration, but unlike many in this class a large centre pass-through creates a 40/20/40-split that’s ideal for loading longer items like skis down the middle while those in back enjoy greater comfort from the outboard seats.
|This HSE model gets Dynamic design enhancements that come standard when upgrading to the 286-hp engine. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
For instance, the same level of soft touch pampering gets applied to the rear door panels as those up front, while the seats featured identical red-stitched, perforated leather detailing in the Dynamic HSE model tested. Standard across the line, a large, comfortable armrest folds down at centre, integrating dual cupholders and a nice lidded bin on top, while a row of device chargers occupies the backside of the front console, two being five-volt USBs and one a 12-volt socket. Standard in HSE trim, a panoramic sunroof provides plenty of light and an airy
|The HID headlamps get signature LEDs for a unique identity at night. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
While all of this is carryover for 2018, the latest Discovery Sport isn’t without its upgrades. Speaking of back support, revised front seats get new four-way powered lumbar adjustment, while an available 12-way powered driver’s seat is even more comfortable. Additional upgrades for 2018 include standard auto-dimming side mirrors with HSE trims, while adaptive cruise control and blindspot monitoring with reverse traffic detection now join lane departure warning (which was new last year) with lane keeping assist as standalone options, or can be had in
|These 20-inch alloys are standard with HSE Dynamic trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
This said it’s going to be much more difficult to fall asleep at the wheel of the 2018 Discovery Sport thanks to two new engines. To be specific, there’s really only one new engine albeit two states of tune, both in-house Ingenium gasoline-powered four-cylinders measuring 2.0 litres and featuring direct injection plus turbocharging. The new base engine makes a hair less horsepower than the outgoing Ford-sourced turbo-four at 237 compared to 240, but torque is up a point
|The LED taillights mirror those from up front. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Being that I was quite satisfied with last year’s Discovery Sport I probably would’ve been more than happy with this performance improvement, but the model
|The Discovery Sport’s interior is plenty upscale. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Aiding driver engagement is a welcome set of steering wheel-mounted paddles, the nine-speed reacting to input well with clean, crisp, quick shifts when set to Sport mode, found by twisting the rotating gear selector all the way to its rightmost position. This helps to extract the most from the engine’s new higher-pressure fuel injection system that features upgraded injectors, while it becomes easier to feel the quicker turbo response caused by a new exhaust manifold that’s now integrated within the cylinder head, a move that improves warm-up times as well.
|The Ebony and Pimento colour scheme is one of three no-cost choices available to HSE Dynamic customers. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Considering its sizeable performance advantage over most rivals the high-output Discovery Sport’s 11.7 L/100km city, 9.3 highway and 10.6 combined fuel economy rating is impressive, while the base Disco Sport gets a Transport Canada-claimed 11.4 L/100km city, 9.3 highway and 10.5 combined fuel economy rating that might not be best in class but is right in the compact luxury SUV sweet spot as well, especially when considering it’s a larger than average compact that comes standard with off-road capable four-wheel drive. An Eco mode can help you achieve such numbers, as will its standard auto start/stop system that shuts down the engine when it would otherwise be idling.
|A larger high-resolution multi-info display comes packed with top-tier functions. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
To achieve such feats the Discovery Sport comes standard with Land Rover’s very competent Terrain Response system, but it’s not the brand’s classic centre transfer case with locking differential setup. Instead it features a first gear ratio designed to limit launch speed so as to slowly crawl out of slippery situations or over obstacles, and even sports an available
|The Discovery Sport’s infotainment graphics are eye-catching, while its features are complete. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
While capable off-road, the Discovery Sport is hardly a bruiser when it comes to ride quality and is no slouch through the corners either. I took plenty of opportunities to push my tester to the limit, the result being rock-solid confidence-inspiring stability even when the roadway below its 245/45R20 Continental Cross Contact winters was less than ideal. Likewise, it delivered a comfortable, compliant ride, this partially due to its long 2,741-mm (107.9-inch) wheelbase that helps to smooth out uneven pavement.
|The dual-zone auto HVAC interface is beautifully finished. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
On top of this my tester’s cabin was fitted with an Ebony and Pimento colour scheme, a truly unique no-cost upgrade that even goes so far as to wrap each side
|This rotating gear selector saves space and looks brilliant. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Alternatively you could choose HSE Luxury trim, which adds the keyless access, auto-dimming mirror, and gesture liftgate, plus some unique exterior trim bits, illuminated
|The multi-adjustable powered seats are wonderfully comfortable and perforated leather very plush. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
All of my tester’s upgraded bodywork was finished in $670 Santorini Black metallic paint, while additional upgrades included the aforementioned $1,430 Driver Assist Plus package, plus satellite radio for $460, a load space cover for $180, and $835 worth of rubber winter mats and wheel locks resulting in a final total of $61,725 before freight and fees.
|Rear seat roominess is excellent, and comfort amongst the best in class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|A large panoramic sunroof adds an open airiness to the cabin. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
It could have also included the $1,990 Intelligent Dynamics package that features Land Rover’s Active Driveline and Adaptive and Configurable Dynamics, the former automatically disengaging rear-wheel drive when not needed in order to save fuel or alternatively engaging four-wheel drive within 300 milliseconds when required, and the latter incorporating BWI’s MagneRide system to monitor the SUV’s
|Cargo space is class-leading, while a segment-exclusive third row is optional. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Plenty of extras can be added individually too, such as a head-up display, ventilated front seats, heatable rear seats, configurable ambient lighting, navigation, semi-autonomous self-parking, and more.
The ability to personalize the Discovery Sport really helps it stand out in an ever-growing crowd of compact luxury SUVs, but its attractive styling, sporty performance on and off the road, thrifty fuel economy, accommodating interior, impressive quality, and excellent value do even more to grow its market share year after year.
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