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2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

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2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Review

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The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport compact luxury SUV is equal parts color-outside-the-lines off-road adventurer and elegant, capable on-roader. While shorter than the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and Mercedes-Benz GLK, this 5-passenger SUV aims to keep you away from those Euro-utes and make you forget the unlamented Land Rover LR2 as it fades out of production. The new Discovery Sport offers a design and style package that actually feels roomier than its competition – not to mention off-road credibility the others simply can't touch. Starting at about $38,000 and including all-wheel drive and partial leather upholstery in the base SE model, the 2015 Discovery Sport launches at about $2,000 to $3,000 less than its primary rivals, making it a relative value leader.

You'll Like This Car If...

Land Rover's new Discovery Sport is currently the best all-around luxury mountain goat available anywhere in the compact luxury SUV class. Its on-road behavior is Downton Abbey, and its off-road chops border on the extraordinary, especially for the price.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport makes no claims to being a cloud on wheels, so if you need neither sport nor utility in your SUV, there are plenty of absolutely elegant, high-riding candidates, mostly German and Japanese from which to choose.

What's New for 2015

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is an all-new model for 2015.

Driving the Discovery Sport
Driving Impressions

The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is a jack-of-all-trades compact SUV that is even a master of one – bad-roading. Minimal wind noise and well-controlled road noise make it easy...

... to have a conversation even with 2nd-row passengers. Outward vision ranges from excellent out the front to letterbox-thin out the back. The firm ride isn't nervous, but communicative and comfortable, and the electric-assist steering feels well-weighted and responsive. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and 9-speed automatic transmission play well together, and while not snap-to-attention quick to shift, the Discovery Sport has no trouble passing slower traffic. On the Road to Hell, however, no other compact luxury SUV can touch it. During a 2-day drive through the Icelandic winter, the Discovery Sport stayed in total control on badly iced, rutted "roads." Hats-off praise goes to Land Rover's Terrain Response System, a driver-selectable menu of four on/off-road "conditions" (General; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud and Ruts; Sand) that prepare the Discovery Sport's drivetrain, chassis and steering to handle the selected condition set.

ON-ROAD ELEGANCE, OFF-ROAD GRIT
The dual personality of the new Discovery Sport ensures that the SUV never feels out of place, on road or off. This Land Rover commands freeway commutes, rutted ice roads, rocky stream crossings, and date nights, all with the same cool lack of drama and ready-for-anything attitude.

FIXED PANORAMIC ROOF
Standard on the HSE and HSE Lux models of the Discovery Sport, the fixed glass roof spans nearly the length and width of the SUV's roof and really opens up the view – especially in the second row – to the biggest piece of sky possible.

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Details
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport photo Interior

The new Discovery Sport interior bristles with pragmatic style. Its efficient, blocky theme feels like comfort food to anyone with a sense of adventure, while the deep-dish seating, 8-way power front seats, and leather upholstery (leather and cloth on SE versions) are constant reminders that you're on a luxury-SUV safari. The raised 2nd-row seats – ah, stadium seating! – slide and recline, and will easily accommodate 6-foot-4 occupants. Despite being shorter than its BMW X3 and Audi Q5 rivals, the 2015 Discovery Sport's smart interior packaging gives it significantly more usable cargo space and a wide opening for easy loading/unloading.

Exterior
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport photo

Dimensionally, the new Land Rover Discovery Sport is shorter than the competition, but it's also wider which makes for a steadier platform. Its raked windshield takes full advantage of the compact SUV's aerodynamics – wind noise ranges from non-existent to minimal, depending on speed. Likewise, the new Discovery Sport's off-road-generous approach and departure angles have been integrated beautifully into the shape, as has its 23.6-inch stream-fording depth. And, as an aesthetic bonus, the body-color C-pillar looks like a bladed weapon.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

As the base model of the line, the Discovery Sport SE is a very nicely equipped starter kit. Its standard-equipment list includes a lot of things lacking even on a luxury SUV, like all-wheel drive, the Terrain Response System, Hill Descent Control, push-button start, partial leather seating, power-adjustable front seats, USB media and charging ports in the first row, plus two 2nd-row USB charging ports. A 10-speaker audio/infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen and Bluetooth connectivity is also standard. Full leather starts one level up – HSE – where you also get the panoramic roof as standard.

Optional Equipment

Except for features like keyless entry and heated front and rear seats on the SE model, and some smart safety features available on the HSE and HSE Lux versions – notably, automatic traffic detection and emergency braking – the new Discovery Sport's options are primarily wheel and paint packages to upgrade the looks. You don't need the audio upgrade or navigation system. Trust us: Your smartphone's voice commands coming through the standard Bluetooth setup will always get you home. You should also pass on the compact SUV's 3rd-row seating option, which barely leaves enough cargo room for a carton of cigarettes when in use.

Under the Hood

No matter which of the three trim levels of 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport you choose – SE, HSE or HSE Lux – the business end of your compact SUV always remains the same: the 240 horsepower of a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It sends power through a 9-speed automatic transmission to a Haldex all-wheel-drive system, which seamlessly varies the power between the front wheels and the rears, depending on where the system senses that the tires have the best grip. While this setup works ruggedly well in the new Discovery Sport, Land Rover is still holding its breath a little bit, waiting for the 2016 model which will feature the all-new Jag/Land Rover Ingenium 2.0-liter gasoline and – most likely – diesel engines.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg

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