Disco to make even

the grumpiest smile

Land Rover Discovery Sport, front, static
Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury, front, action
Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury, side
Land Rover Discovery Sport, rear, static
Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury, rear
Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury, interior
Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE Luxury, boot

ASa barometer of advancing age-related grumpiness I would suggest that you have probably reached the final pressure reading when the Brits annoy you just as much as Question Time.

For those wondering, this is a gathering of one-track minds heavily masquerading as a self-love fest for people incapable of speaking any word if it can first be shouted. The Brits, conversely, is a musical awards contest.

With the sound off the Brits makes for an hilarious spectacle of gurning and extreme fashion of the day. High-hipsterism and girls whose mums really should have said something about mirrors and bums to them.

Exclusively I can reveal that one of the go-to essentials of a Brits wardrobe this year was shirt braces. Signature Shirt Stays connect braces-style between shirt and socks to retain a crisp within-the-waistband look.

Anyone who has worn braces knows they are liable to ping off in all directions under load. Good luck with that one down your trousers.

Fashion is no stranger to the motor industry. Think Mrs Beckham and the Evoque.

So, when the idea of a Land Rover Discovery Sport was first mentioned there was consternation across the Grade 1 agricultural land. Men in tweed leaned on sticks, feared for their sheep and wondered if an EEC grant would be available.

Thoughts wandered back to the Range Rover manifestation and how it became the bastion of not quite good enough footballers and entrepreneurs in the alternative entertainments industry, who saw privacy glass as essential security.

Was the farmer's wife about to be whisked along the red carpet to a world of glitz and endless prosecco? No.

The Discovery Sport is a trick and a half. You take away the cow shed rear end, rub in a little oil of Evoque and yet still manage to retain the essential bullishness of the original. And despite that more gentle rear line there is still plenty of boot space. Room enough for a double dog box but you need to keep your guns on the back seat. And for an alternative day out, two extra seats in the luggage area.

We are talking two-litre TD4 HSE automatic here, with ebony and leather interior. £43,000 without extras such as an electrically deployed tow bar and indulgent entertainment pack.

Standard equipment is far from that. Every imaginable parking and safety aid is joined by a powered tailgate, sun roof and automated lights, high beam and wiper functions. Needless to say creature comforts abound in a far from cluttered cabin; heated seats, panoramic roof, that sort of thing. And unlike the Evoque there is no visibility compromise for the body style.

The Sport does get quite a helping hand from the Evoque. Same platform, much of the switchgear but different suspension. It also manages to create a very real Range Rover-like feel. It is totally unrecognisable from the Freelander for which it is the replacement.

Off road it is accomplished, accomplished enough to have been a major attraction on the two dirty days I put it to work among those who buy into this market almost exclusively. The nine-speed automatic gearbox is quite capable of making its own way around the fields.

Be sure we are not talking play time here. Hill descent control and 600mm of wading ability along with proper workmanlike approach and departure angles leaves compact SUV rivals with muddy faces.

On the road silence is golden. This is a truly smooth car with little road noise and only a small amount of bumping around at low speeds. Get yourself a little excited and body movement is well controlled.

How excited can you get? Well, 8.4 seconds to 60mph should satisfy most enthusiasts who want performance in a 4x4. Average consumption of 53mpg would then be something to write home about but the car was recording closer to 43mpg. Tax is a middling £130 a year.

It fills me with what is left of any sensation of great joy to conclude that Land Rover has given the Discovery a workable stablemate which takes it from farm to town with no real loss of off road ability and in so doing has built one of its best cars. Ever.

Yours faithfully, Mr Grumpy Old Git.

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