LAND Rover is using its latest model to notch up another first with the debut of its home-grown new diesel engine in the Discovery Sport.
It's the first of Jaguar Land Rover's family of Ingenium engines which are designed to be high on performance and good on economy.
Jaguar is already using a version of the diesel in its new XE saloon and now Land Rover is installing the Ingenium engine in the Discovery Sport to replace the long-serving 2.2-litre SD4 block which was sourced from Ford.
The new engine is a 2.0-litre four cylinder and in the Land Rover it has been boosted to produce either 180 or 150ps - the latter becoming the new entry level Discovery Sport priced from Â£30,695 and with class leading fuel figures of 57.7mpg and emissions of 129g/km.
Compared to the previous diesel that is a 25 per cent improvement in economy and for business users chops up to £75 a month off tax liability.
In the Land Rover stable the new Discovery Sport is fractionally more economical than the front-wheel-drive Range Rover Evoque yet the Disco has retained its 4x4 credentials.
The engine is impressively smooth and refined and while the lower output unit is available only in a five seat version of the Discovery Sport with a six speed manual box, the 180ps diesel comes either as a manual or a nine speed auto and in the seven seat models.
As such the new 180ps TD4 becomes the mainstay of the Discovery Sport line up which is priced from Â£32,395 to Â£43,000 - the same as the SD4 models but with the addition of a new Black Edition which is auto only, costs from Â£41,250 and comes with additional styling including a black roof, 20-inch alloys and black finishes to the grille and side vents.
JLR has invested some £500 million creating a new factory in Wolverhampton to produce the Ingenium engines which will be used to power its latest models with the diesels being introduced now and petrols following next year.
For the Discovery Sport Land Rover has mounted the engine transversely and it is mated to an on-demand four-wheel-drive set up which is enhanced with Terrain Response technology but no low ratio gears.
Nevertheless the Disco Sport has impeccable off-road credentials as it demonstrated going around the Land Rover proving ground at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire where it championed severe terrain in accomplished fashion.
There is nothing lacking from the new powertrain and the 180ps top range HSE Luxury automatic is both luxurious and very capable.
This model costs from £43,000 and with the new TD4 engine it is not only significantly more economical but also quicker.
Officially it is rated at 53.3mpg compared to 44.8mpg from the previous engine and emissions are now 139g/km, a 16 per cent improvement. The top speed remains the same at 117mph but the 0 to 60 acceleration is now 8.4 seconds which is more than a second quicker than before.
Not only is it noticeable quieter on the road but there is plenty of punch on demand and it is a fine cruiser making the most of its nine speed box at motorway speeds.
We managed to average 44.3 to the gallon at an average speed of 40mph over a 90 mile route which speaks volumes for the new engine. Off road fuel consumption will be closer to 12mpg but that has to be tempered with the workload of moving 1.9 tonnes of vehicle through the mire.
With the new engine service intervals have been increased from 16,000 to 21,000 miles.
Land Rover claims that the Discovery Sport is the world's most capable and versatile SUV and since being released at the end of January it has already clocked up more than 8,500 sales in the UK.
The new TD4 diesel can only cement its position as a brilliant all-rounder that is now British to the core.