RUGGED, tough and durable...each an appropriate adjective for the iconic marque Land Rover.
But a description less likely to be used is ‘refined and smooth' . Yet these are the salient qualities and the prevailing impressions of the Discovery Sport P300e, a plug-in petrol hybrid that also possesses the established offroad traits of the breed.
Powered by a 1.5-litre, turbocharged four cylinder engine with electric assistance, it pushes out a not insignificant 305bhp. More relevant is its unusual quietness and the complete lack of hustle-and-bustle that in which is covers the miles.
Like all Disco Sport versions, it's four-wheel -drive and comes with an automatic eight speed gearbox. From the outside there's little to give it away from its fossil-fuel eating brethren barring a small tailgate badge and fuel filler flaps on each rear wing.
First impression is of an eerie silence as you draw away, and even when the engine starts after an electric start, there's a barely audible background sound of the internal combustion engine. The next thing you notice is the thump-in-the-back acceleration.
With 300-plus horsepower at hand, the family holdall sprints to 62mph in less than seven seconds - that's hot hatch terrain. On the fiscal side of things, emissions of 32g/km make it particularly tax friendly, and the official economy is given at 141mpg - but in reality you are more likely to achieve something in the mid-30s.
As far as the electric range is concerned, it will cover around 43 miles before engaging petrol power.
The P300e is something of a technological tour de force. Under the bonnet is a three-cylinder , 1.5-litre engine coupled to a 109bhp 80kW electric motor and a 15kWh lithium battery.
At more than 84mph, the electric motor is disconnected and four wheel drive only operates under ICE power.
Despite the car's considerable weight, it handles sharply with a nimbleness not normally associated with tall off-roaders. You'd expect decent bump-suppression in a Land Rover and you get it in spade loads.
But more surprising is the car's dynamic ability over normal roads. It's genuinely fun to drive and with ample torque, overtaking manoeuvres are completed quickly and safely.
It's roomy enough for four onboard, or even five. But the Disco Sport isn't configured to be a seven-seater which might put off some families. With an ability to consume almost 1,800litres of luggage, there's no shortage of cargo space. The rear platform, however, is set quite high for hauling heavy items.
The version driven here is the R-Dynamic SE which at nearly £50k comes loaded with most goodies. Panoramic fixed glass sunroof, heated seats, twin zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and lane assist are just some of the standard items.
The cabin was treated to an update and facelift 18 months ago and is now a good match for best in class with high grade mouldings and a large touch screen. It's irritatingly easy however to brush the heater fan controls when operating the sat nav system.