It's been two years since the new Land Rover Discovery Sport hit our shores. Back then it impressed us with its abilities, both on and off-road. For 2017, it gets a new diesel heart - the 2-litre Ingenium motor - that you'll also find in the 2017 Range Rover Evoque and the Jaguar F-Pace.
The Discovery Sport does not get any cosmetic updates for 2017, but that's not a bad thing at all. The design still looks contemporary and I like its proportions that make it manageable in the city. The front end is the most striking, with its big DRLs, sleek grille and the large Discovery badge above it. On the whole, this is quite a handsome SUV with enough presence to intimidate those pesky cab drivers who cut into your lane.
The interior layout is quite functional, with everything falling at hand with ease. The cabin is swathed in beige leather as well as soft touch materials that feel premium. Coupled with the large, panoramic sunroof, the cabin feels airy. The seats, both upfront and at the rear, are comfortable. However, the front seats lack enough support, especially at the bottom, to keep you from sliding a bit when you push the Discovery around corners.
The 2-litre Ingenium diesel motor truly is a gem. It is very refined, and at idle I could barely feel any vibrations creeping in. Step on the throttle though and you do hear some engine noise, but it's well within what's acceptable.
This engine is available in two states of tune, depending on the variant. The one on the test is the HSE trim (7-seater) and its motor produces 150PS (180PS in the HSE Luxury trim) and 382Nm of torque that peaks at 1,750rpm. Now 150PS may not sound like much, but it's the way the power is delivered that makes it so impressive.
The 9-speed gearbox has well-spaced ratios and you'll find the engine revving at a relaxed 1,500rpm while cruising at 105kmph. That said, the gearbox is a tad slow to respond when you go pedal to the metal. This is also the case while driving in Sports mode or using the paddle shifts to go up or down the gears.
We recorded a 0-100kmph time of 12.1 seconds which is decent for this size of an SUV. The lower state of tune and 9-speed gearbox also make it frugal at the pumps. It delivered 11.1kmpl in the city and 15.4kmpl on the highway.
The Discovery Sport's suspension set-up offers a great blend of ride and handling. Driving over Mumbai's monsoon ravaged roads, I barely lifted off the throttle, as the suspension went about ironing out every pothole and bump. On the flipside, there is a bit of body roll when cornering hard, but it's not unnerving at any point. In fact, the quick steering and the grip levels from the Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season tyres instil a lot of confidence, in case you get enthusiastic.
The Land Rover badge on the grille automatically means that the Discovery Sport has good off-road capability. It has terrain response that alters the Disco's characteristics to suit a particular terrain (mud, sand, grass, gravel). I didn't really get a chance to explore its full potential, but Rahul has experienced what this SUV can do at the Land Rover Experience despite its 200mm ground clearance.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport, at Rs 60. 23 lakh, in my books, is the practical Land Rover to buy. It is spacious, has adequate road presence and bears an iconic name. The new Ingenium motor then is like the cherry on top of the cake, and it's a sweet one.