WITH the Defender and Freelander being consigned to the history books it would seem that the days of the utilitarian, agricultural Land Rover are gone - quite possibly for good.
Instead the world famous marque is moving well away from its workmanlike roots into the upmarket arena as the distinction from high-end Range Rover relatives becomes increasingly blurred.
The Discovery Sport appeared in 2014 to replace the outgoing Freelander 2 - which was far from basic itself in its final guise - and has more than a shade of the Range Rover Evoque about it.
But while the traditionalists may be left shaking their heads by the apparent gentrification of the Land Rover brand - they can't argue with the sales figures.
The Discovery Sport was an instant hit and continues to go from strength to strength after last year's introduction to the range of the manufacturer's Ingenium diesel engine - built at its new West Midlands plant and already used in the acclaimed Jaguar XE.
The new power pack not only increases economy, one of very few criticisms of the Discovery Sport at launch, but it's also much quieter and refined.
The 2.0-litre unit replaced the previous 2.2-litre version and is the only engine in the range, although it is available with outputs of 150 and 180ps - the higher-powered choice coming with the option of a £1,800 nine-speed automatic transmission, which was fitted to this car.
The combination makes for a smooth and laid-back drive with plenty of pull across a wide rev range.
The automatic gearbox is not quite as slick as it is in a Jaguar - proving a little hesitant when looking for a swift injection of pace - but dynamic handling and well-weighted, accurate steering still make this a pretty engaging car to drive for an SUV.
The typical raised ride height does mean some lean in bends but Land Rover's renowned intelligent 4x4 system offers plenty of grip, so you can take on winding country lanes with enthusiasm and confidence.
Motorway cruising is undertaken with similar aplomb, while turning on Eco mode robs the Discovery Sport of some of its urgency but does make plodding along in town traffic trouble free. Relatively compact dimensions also mean that it's not as difficult to manoeuvre in tight urban spaces as you might expect.
And, of course, being a Land Rover you can take the Discovery Sport off road with a high degree of confidence too - one thing which the traditionalists can't grumble about.
The company's Terrain Response system comes as standard with up to four specific settings including mud, sand and snow, and the car has been designed with excellent ground clearance and the capability to wade through water up to 60cm deep.
Whether on road or off, though, passengers in the Discovery Sport travel in some style, with the cabin offering not only a very well-appointed travelling environment but also one with enough durability and practicality to trump the Evoque and many of its other rivals.
Entry level SE grade cars get part leather upholstery, heated front seats, climate control, cruise control, an eight-inch touchscreen interface, digital radio, Bluetooth, and rear parking sensors.
Stepping up the range adds niceties such as satnav, reversing camera, powered tailgate, automatic lights and wipers, full leather trim and a panoramic glass roof.
All but entry level versions also get seven seats - although Land Rover calls this a ‘5+2' set-up, reflecting the fact that the foldaway third row are only really suitable for occasional use and, even then, best left to the kids.
The 60/40 split middle row slide forwards and backwards MPV-style - allowing either the already impressive boot space or rear legroom to be optimised - and also fold flat to create an absolutely cavernous load bay.
A five-star EuroNCAP crash safety rating will give family buyers peace of mind with an automatic emergency braking system, nine airbags, including one to protect pedestrians, electronic stability control and lane departure warning systems all on board.