By Mike Torpey on 2018-10-14 - 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 auto
A CONSTANT stream of small to mid-size SUVs have hit the new car scene since the Land Rover Discovery Sport was launched three and a half years ago.
None though have quite matched the heights of the Liverpool-built seven-seater for its versatility, sharp design, space age technology and upmarket image.
And if the Sport's original diesel engines were a bit raucous, that's certainly not the case with the smooth and silent Ingenium units powering the lion's share of current models.
A fair number of the Disco Sport's owners may not want to risk their pristine bodywork and shiny wheels on sluicing into the great wide open, but they can be reassured that this 4x4 is a serious player when the going gets tough.
In time-honoured Land Rover fashion, the Sport's Terrain Response set-up can be operated at the push of a finger, making light of sand; mud and ruts; grass, gravel and snow and general conditions.
Dial in the latest Hill Descent Control system and you'll be amazed at just how nimble and adept this vehicle is. Even mountain goats would have trouble following you down some of the steep slopes that are bread and butter to the Discovery Sport.
Realistically though, the majority of its everyday work is going to be in the city, suburbs and on the motorway - all of which are consumed with ease.
Sweet and smooth to drive, the Disco benefits from both performance and refinement from that new Ingenium powerplant, which is matched perfectly to Land Rover's nine-speed automatic gearbox.
You may not quite match the claimed average fuel consumption of 60 miles per gallon, but it's possible with sensible driving to return around the 50mpg mark depending on the number of passengers aboard.
The Disco Sport may be the smallest Land Rover variant, but it's not short on space - at least not when the two individual back seats are tucked away.
You can slide the middle row over a range of 160mm, affording terrific space for five occupants and more measured legroom for those times when there's a full complement of seven aboard.
As for ease of use the back pair of seats couldn't be simpler to raise or lower - just a light tug 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.
Boot space, too, is excellent - up to 689 litres - when that rear pair are folded down.
That five plus two stadium-style seating is the principal feature of a beautifully 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.
HSE trim brings perforated leather seats, in the tested model's case in an attractive ivory shade, and a large glass sunroof which streams an airy ambience into a family-friendly and well insulated cabin.
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 has also a five-star Euro N-CAP safety rating.
Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 HSE auto
Mechanical: 180ps, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 8.4 seconds
Combined MPG: 60.1
Insurance Group: 29
C02 emissions: 142g/km
Bik rating: 32%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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