By Mike Torpey on 2017-06-18 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Land Rover Discovery
Sport TD4 HSE Luxury
FLICKING through the pages of the adventure magazines and exotic travel brochures - and wondering where the finance was going to come from - encouraged a few local wags to spew smart ideas.
Like the wise-cracker who ventured: "Why don't you create some pioneering of your own and try caravanning."
Just one problem of course. I loathe caravans and care even less for the people who tow them, at least while they're crawling along the roads holding up traffic.
"You're probably right," came one reply. "That Discovery Sport probably wouldn't pull a decent size van anyway."
Now I don't intend to put that misinformed response to the test, but I know one thing for certain; the Disco Sport may be the smallest Land Rover model, but it's as tough as they come.
In fact it was only last summer that a standard model, powered by Jaguar Land Rover's 180ps Ingenium diesel engine, towed three luxury train carriages weighing more than 100 tonnes along a railway track.
I kid you not. It was a 10km journey through the Rhine region of northern Switzerland and the Sport proved it could pull 60 times its own weight.
That engine apart, the vehicle benefited from the portfolio of towing and traction technologies like Terrain Response, Tow Assist, Tow Hitch Assist and All Terrain Progress Control - all included as standard kit on the car.
Now it may well be that, like me, you hope never to pull a train, trailer or, heaven forbid, a caravan. But it's comforting to know that the smallest Disco has both the grunt and traction to do the job.
The Discovery Sport features five plus two stadium-style seating in a tastefully appointed cabin with its vertical centre console, 10.2-inch colour touchcreen, multiple storage areas, four 12V power points and USB charging sockets for all three rows of seats.
Top grade HSE Luxury trim brings perforated leather seats and a large glass sunroof which adds a bright, airy ambience to a family-friendly cabin.
There's ample space too, provided the third row of seats isn't in use, and if that's the case then you need to slide the middle ones a bit further forward, so reducing legroom.
As for ease of use the back pair of seats couldn't be simpler to raise or lower - just a light pull on a tab.
But they are only suitable for kids - in fact only kids would be able to extricate themselves from the back, where there are small, well positioned windows for them to see out, as well as a pair of cupholders.
As for technology, of which there's sufficient to launch a space rocket, most drivers probably won't ever venture properly off-road - and use the car's Terrain Response set-up operated at the push of a finger for general conditions; sand; mud and ruts; and grass, gravel and snow.
Dial in the latest Hill Descent Control system and there are few conditions the Discovery Sport can't surmount.
This model's power comes via a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine producing 180ps and driving all four wheels smoothly via a nine-speed automatic transmission.
It is both comfortable and rewarding to drive, should return around an average 48 miles per gallon, though the official Combined figure is 53.3mpg, and comes packed with goodies.
So you get stuff like heated and cooled front seats, rear view camera, parking aids and push button start, though it's easy to ramp up the cost with extras.
They include a Black Pack contrast roof plus 20-inch wheels at £1,555, an entertainment pack for £1,900, an all-round Vision Assist pack for £2,385 and for caravanners an electrically deployable Tow Pack at £1,345.
Safety measures include a bonnet airbag, autonomous emergency braking and a bodyshell constructed from both ultra high strength steel and lightweight aluminium, and the car also has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 HSE Luxury
Mechanical: 180ps, 1,999cc 4-cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via nine-speed automatic transmission
Max Speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 53.3
Insurance Group: 38
C02 emissions: 139g/km
Bik rating: 29%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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