Land Rover Discovery

Sport HSE

E-Capability

Land Rover Discovery Sport, chateau 2
Land Rover Discovery Sport, chateau 1
Land Rover Discovery Sport, chateau 3
Land Rover Discovery Sport, forest front
Land Rover Discovery Sport, on ferry
Land Rover Discovery Sport, vineyards
Land Rover Discovery Sport, woodyard
Land Rover Discovery Sport, front seats
Land Rover Discovery Sport, rear seats
Land Rover Discovery Sport, boot empty
Land Rover Discovery Sport, boot full
Land Rover Discovery Sport, dashboard

YOU might wonder how many buyers of an upmarket SUV - like the Discovery Sport - put running costs near the top of the must-haves on their automotive shopping list.

Well, in the case of the car driven here, they can have their economy cake - and eat it, because in top spec HSE trim they'll get a car that drips with kit but sips fuel.

In fact, the E-Capability bit in the car's title drops a hint there are savings to be made at the pumps, with 'E' for economical, even if any implied electrical assistance isn't actually there.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is based on the more obviously upmarket, and dearer, Range Rover Evoque but comes with extra room in the rear and a plainer, more no nonsense approach to looks both inside and out.

To these eyes the result is a good looking car with a pleasing absence of tricksy swoops and slashes on the outside hinting at the Discovery Sport's potential for off road adventures, thanks to its four-wheel drive and buttons to push when you're deep in sand, mud or rocks.

Inside, this lack of stylistic pretention continues with a mass of black on black fixtures and fittings, all solid to push or twist but lacking the final panache you'll find in an Evoque.

But back to the economy. This is the most fuel frugal Discovery Sport you can buy, thanks to a 2.0-litre diesel that produces 150 horsepower compared to the 180 horses available for a bit more money.

It also uses a manual six-speed gearbox, producing better official consumption figures that the automatic gearbox available as an option only with the beefier diesel.

So the stage is set for some notable economy, with the official average nudging 58mpg. Well, in more than 1,000 miles of mixed motoring on the mostly superb roads of northern France, this Discovery showed 43.7mpg on the trip computer.

That's a more than decent return in a car that sits tall and proud and pulls around a body made to stay tough in the rough.

It made the journeys to and from the land of two hour lunches aboard efficient and friendly DFDS ferries via Dover and Dunkirk and proved comfortable for more than the pocket too, with suspension tilted towards a cushioning ride, despite the Sport part of its name.

You can own a Discovery Sport SE for £31,095 but you can bet not many do, choosing at least the SE Tech, from £32,845 which adds satellite navigation (albeit with a dated look and feel) and useful powered tailgate.

This car had those features too but, as an HSE version, added touches like leather trim (and electric adjustment in the front) along with a reversing camera, keyless entry and a 10 speaker Meridian sound system.

You can't order a Discovery Sport with 150 horsepower engine and a third row of seats - you'll need the 180 horsepower version for that. But second row occupants will feel relaxed in either, with more space to stretch than the dearer Evoque can offer.

FAST FACTS

Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE E-Capability

Price: £37,995

Mechanical: 148bhp, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 11.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 57.7

Insurance Group: 36

C02 emissions: 129g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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