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Discovery Sport is a proper all-rounder The Discovery Sport is superb on and offroad and offers practicality for farm use.

Launched in 2015, Land Rover’s Discovery Sport replaced the Freelander. Added practicality and superior performance on and off-road made it immediately attractive to farmers. David Williams borrowed one for a week. The Discovery Sport shares many of its design features with the Range Rover Evoque, but offers increased accommodation with two extra occasional seats incorporated into the load bed floor. There are five specification variants and a choice of two engines; 150 or 180hp 2-litre and 4-cylinder units married up to 9-speed auto or 6-speed manual transmissions. A long list of optional extras allows buyers to upgrade all models from the base SE to the HSE Dynamic Lux. The vehicle supplied for the Farmers Guide test had the 150hp engine and manual gearbox and, although it was the highest HSE Lux specification, £8,000-worth of options provided additional comfort and entertainment. Any fears that the 150hp engine might seem stretched proved unfounded and there was plenty of power even fully

maximum speed, due to the low noise and relaxing performance. Fuel consumption during the 400 miles of the test week averaged 36–41mpg, including several hours spent off-road. There is no doubting the Discovery Sport’s Land Rover pedigree and on and off-road it feels secure and stable, the suspension adapting well to all conditions. Terrain Response, similar to that of the Discovery, allows selection of the expected conditions, using a push-button on the dash and the vehicle automatically tunes its engine, transmission, differentials and suspension to optimise performance. Hill descent control provides reassurance, automatically restricting downhill speed to a preset maximum and can be configured on-the-move as conditions alter.

Comfortable

The engine bay is stuffed with technology but service checks and filling points are all easy to get at. Right at the back is the Adblue filling point.

loaded. The Discovery Sport has just a single transmission range, unlike the Discovery which offers high and low selection to match the conditions, but the torquey engine and generous gear overlap meant a suitable ratio was always available, including uphill at low speed on deep, rutted farm tracks. On the motorway, it was all too easy to accidentally exceed the legal

The interior is comfortable and the Discovery Sport, supplied for the Farmers Guide test, was loaded with accessories.

Comfort was excellent, but was to be expected with the test vehicle’s seat upgrade including heated and cooled front seats. Legroom was good in the front and, even with the front seat fully back, there was adequate legroom for rear-seat passengers. The third row seats are less spacious, and fine for children on long journeys but less comfortable for adults. A frustration throughout the test was an angled aluminium finishing strip, on the edge of the centre console which dug into the left leg of the driver on each journey. This was an issue that would only affect taller drivers. Controls are logically grouped and easy to use. Heating and ventilation are excellent and the heated windscreen disperses frost quickly. The instruments are clear and easily read, but a dislike is the lack of an engine temperature gauge - replaced by an overheat warning light. Automatic lane departure warning, which monitors the vehicle’s position between lane indicator markings on main roads, warns the driver visually and through a shaking steering wheel when it starts to stray in either direction and was useful. The Xenon headlights are powerful and pivot in the intended direction of travel also dipping automatically when another vehicle approaches. The use of this resulted in the driver being flashed so frequently by dazzled oncoming motorists, that manual control

became the preferred option. An 8in touch-screen controls media, telephone and navigation systems, and the split-screen version fitted to the test vehicle allowed the passenger to watch television while, looking from the driver’s position revealed only the guidance map. Bluetooth headphones for the passenger prevent driver distraction. There is plenty of storage; large pockets in the front and rear doors offering space for larger items. Smaller items can be stored in the glovebox and centre console as well as the armrest.

Impressive off-road The Discovery Sport has some impressive statistics, not least its ability to wade through up to 600mm of water. Minimum ground clearance is 212mm and the front and rear approach and departure angles are 25 and 21 degrees respectively. Towing capacity is 2.2t and fitted to the test vehicle was the electrically deployed tow bar. A push button in the boot pivots and unfolds the tow bar into position, and retracts it when not required. Under the bonnet, routine checking and filling points are close to the front and easily accessed. Adblue exhaust treatment fluid helps the Discovery Sport meet emissions regulations, and there is an Adblue filler at the rear of the engine bay. However, this shouldn’t be an issue for most owners as topups are needed only every 10,000 miles or so, which main dealers carry out free of charge. The high specification test vehicle was relaxing on longer journeys on road and extremely capable and comfortable off-road. For those needing a dual-purpose farm and family vehicle, it is certainly worth a look, and well deserving of the Land Rover badge. ■ The range starts at £31,095

The load area is practical and easily loaded through the large single tophinged tailgate. Decent tie-down points are provided.

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July 2016  

Farmers Guide Magazine July 2016 Issue