FIRST DRIVE | Land Rover Discovery Sport gets a makeover for 2020
A “see through” bonnet and a video screen rear-view mirror are part of the hi-tech tweaks made to Land Rover’s Discovery Sport for the 2020 model year.
The premium compact SUV replaced the Freelander as the entry point into the Land Rover family in 2014, and this midlife update brings technological upgrades along with a styling revamp and improved refinement.
The “see through” bonnet, known as ClearSight Ground View, is a clever trick that uses cameras to project a 180° view beneath the vehicle onto the cabin touchscreen, helping drivers navigate rough terrain when offroading, or high kerbs when driving in the city.
Another newly introduced ClearSight feature is a digital rear view mirror that transforms into a video screen at the flick of a switch to display a high definition view behind the vehicle. The benefit over a regular mirror is that it offers a wider (50°) field of vision and better visibility in low light conditions, and the view isn’t hindered by rear passengers or bulky cargo in the boot.
These ClearSight features are optionally available in the updated Discovery range for the first time, though a reversing camera is standard on all models.
Also introduced is a new Activity Key. Handy for adventure activities such as mountain biking or swimming where a regular key may get lost or damaged, the Activity Key is a wearable waterproof wristband that allows the vehicle to be locked and unlocked without using the traditional key fob.
Wireless smart phone charging is another new feature that brings the Discovery Sport into the latest digital era, along with an upgraded digital infotainment system called Touch Pro. Passengers in all rows of seats gets USB and 12V points to ensure they’re connected and charged.
Advanced driver assistance systems available in the revamped Discovery Sport include adaptive cruise control with steering assist, which keeps the vehicle at a safe following distance and centred in its lane.
An interior revamp sees the use of more premium materials, and the soft-touch surfaces with contrast stitching give this Landy’s cabin a more upmarket look.
Family practicality also gets a boost with additional fold and slide functionality for the seats to increase the number of passenger/cargo combinations. Land Rover refers to the Discovery Sport as a compact SUV but the 4,597mm long vehicle is impressively spacious inside, with stretch-out leg room in its front two rows of seats together with a large boot. A third row of seats is optionally available to make it into a seven-seater.
The external restyle includes new signature LED headlamps front and rear, along with a new front grille and bumpers.
The model range comes in base and S trim levels, or more edgy looking R-Dynamic derivatives in S, SE and HSE trim which are visually perked up with Satin Dark Grey alloy wheels, unique front and rear bumpers and Shadow Atlas script on the bonnet and tailgate. Inside, the R-Dynamic trim includes ebony seats with contrast stitching, black gearshift paddles and unique treadplates.
The body’s also been made 13% stiffer to reduce noise and vibration, and the vehicle’s refinement stood out during my drive at last week’s media launch in the Western Cape.
There’s a choice of two Ingenium four-cylinder 2.0 engines: a petrol and a diesel. We had only the 2.0 turbo diesel D180 versions on hand and they hummed along with minimal noise on a variety of tar and gravel road surfaces.
The comfortable ride quality was a standout feature on this Land Rover, particularly on the dirt where it wafted with great finesse over the bumpy terrain. Long-distance holidays beckon.
Outputs of 132kW and 430Nm give the D180 fairly punchy performance and good cruising legs, though the fuel consumption of our test vehicle averaged rather high at more than 10l per 100km, instead of the advertised 7.0l.
The petrol P250 brings 184kW and 365Nm to the table, with a claimed thirst of 9.3l/100km.
All versions of the Discovery Sport range come standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive (AWD), which under steady cruising powers only the front wheels to reduce fuel consumption.
Our short drive on a basic off road course was enough to demonstrate the vehicle’s good traction, decent 212mm ground clearance and the effectiveness of its downhill descent control, but it seemed capable of a lot more all-terrain prowess. As Landy’s junior model the Discovery Sport is certainly no soft-roader consigned to city pavements.
With a generous 600mm wading depth it isn’t afraid to get its proverbial boots dirty, and the Terrain Response 2 AWD system automatically detects the surface and adjusts the torque delivery to best suit the conditions, with manually selectable modes for various conditions including rocks and sand.
Discovery Sport D180 AWD Automatic: R753,548
Discovery Sport D180 S AWD Automatic: R799,548
Discovery Sport D180 AWD R-Dynamic S Automatic: R823,148
Discovery Sport D180 AWD R-Dynamic SE Automatic: R859,348
Discovery Sport D180 AWD R-Dynamic HSE Automatic: R901,848
Discovery Sport P250 AWD Automatic: R767,870
Discovery Sport P250 S AWD Automatic: R813,770
Discovery Sport P250 AWD R-Dynamic S Automatic: R837,470
Discovery Sport P250 AWD R-Dynamic SE Automatic: R873,670
Discovery Sport P250 AWD R-Dynamic HSE Automatic: R916,070
Includes five-year/100,000km warranty and service plan