New Disco Sport an

unbeatable 4x4

Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, front
Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, side
Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, rear
Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, rear, off road
Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, interior
Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, rear seats
Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, grille
Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, instrument panel
Land Rover Discovery Sport, 2019, boot

IT'S Land Rover's top seller and now there is a new Discovery Sport ready to roll taking much of its features from the latest Range Rover Evoque.

The two models are built at Land Rover's Halewood plant on Merseyside and both sit on an all-new platform which enables electrification as well as boosting ride and handling.

Like the Evoque, the new Discovery Sport looks very familiar on the outside but there's a refreshed grille design, different bumpers and LED headlamps.

All the engines have been upgraded making them more efficient and the line up now starts from £31,575, an increase of around £1,000 on the previous model.

Land Rover says average fuel economy has been improved by seven per cent and the entry level, front-wheel-drive diesel version is rated at 47.8mpg under the new WLTP test procedure with emissions as low as 140g/km - a reduction of almost 10 per cent.

Mild-hybrid technology has been brought into play across the range and that uses a 48-volt system to further improve efficiency - a plug-in hybrid is on the way - and the fuel tank capacity has also been increased by 20 per cent to more than 14 gallons resulting in a range of some 680 miles.

But it is on the inside where the greatest changes have taken place and there is a completely new interior with a high definition touchscreen in the centre of the dash, a multi-mode control panel below and new-look instrumentation.

There's also more onboard storage space, more comfortable seats and the 5+2 seating configuration has been retained but now with cupholders and connectivity points for the rearmost passengers.

Boot capacity now ranges from 115 to 1,451 litres and while that is slightly down on the previous version overall maximum storage space is up to 1,794 litres.

Smart features such as the Land Rover Clearsight system which allows the conventional rear view mirror to use a camera mounted in the rooftop antenna for an unobstructed view of what is behind.

And like the Evoque, the new Discovery Sport will also be available with the Ground View system which uses more cameras for a view of what is happening immediately ahead - a boon when parking or in off-road conditions.

We have just tried out the latest Discovery Sport in mid-range SE trim and powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine developing 180bhp mated to a nine-speed auto box with all-wheel-drive.

It is an impressive vehicle on every front - 0 to 60 takes 9.4 seconds with a top speed of 125mph - and sound insulation throughout the cabin has been improved significantly.

On the road, ride and handling is noticeably better and the latest Disco Sport has a real sporting edge while fuel economy on our run averaged 35.7mpg - not far off the official 37.2 to the gallon.

Emissions are 150g/km which is a huge improvement over the 170g/km from the previous TD4 powertrain.

Even off-road work over harsh terrain at the Land Rover Discovery Centre in Yorkshire failed to put too much a of dent in the consumption figures reducing them only to an average of 30.8 overall.

With Land Rover's latest Terrain Response system and its clever All Terrain Progress Control - which keeps speed and progress constant in harsh conditions - it is a formidable performer.

Ground clearance is more than eight inches, there's a 25 degree approach angle, 30 degrees for departure and the Discovery Sport can made through water two feet deep - more than the original Defender.

It can also tow loads of up to 2.5 tonnes and is now fitted with what Land Rover calls an Active Driveline meaning the rear wheels are brought into play as and when necessary - a further fuel saving feature.

The car we tried was priced from £43,175 and with 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof and rear privacy glass among the extras which added almost £3,000 to the price the overall cost was £46,085.

Compare that to anything from the German brands and it is easy to see why some 20 per cent of the 120,000 models a year produced at Halewood are sold at home in the UK.

The Discovery Sport has marked itself out as a great car since its launch in 2015 - a now it has just got better.

As all-rounders go this is top of the tree - and that's about the only place you can't get to in this fantastic 4x4.

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