2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport First Look
The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport is to the full-size Land Rover Discovery (badged LR4 in the U.S.) what the Range Rover Evoque is to the full-size Range Rover, except it comes with more utility. Where the Range Rover Evoque emphasizes dramatic styling, the new 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport is all about space utilization and utility, including an available third row seat for seven-passenger seating.
As with the Evoque and Land Rover Freelander (sold as the LR2 in the U.S.), the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport features a transverse-mounted engine and standard four-wheel drive. The Discovery Sport is powered by the Evoque's 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 making 240 hp at 5500 rpm and 250 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm. Power is sent to the wheels via a ZF nine-speed automatic transmission and standard Haldex all-wheel-drive system. In normal driving, the transmission starts in second gear, but can be manually shifted via paddle shifters into first gear for max acceleration or a low range for off-road driving. The transmission features a skip-shift feature that allows it to downshift directly without hitting every gear. Shift times and firmness are also based on driver input.
The Haldex all-wheel-drive system works with the Terrain Response system and other Land Rover off-road technologies including Hill Descent Control (HDC), Gradient Release Control (GRC), Roll Stability Control (RSC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Electronic Traction Control (ETC), and Engine Drag Torque Control (EDC). The Discovery Sport also uses an electric power-assisted steering system (EPAS).
Braking comes by way of vented 12.8-inch discs up front and 11.8-inch discs in back. The Discovery Sport features a new brake design with a stiffer caliper and new pads. Other braking technologies include Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and Corner Brake Control (CBC). An optional Autonomous Emergency Braking system works to prevent or reduce the severity of an impact. Using stereo cameras, the system works between 3 and 50 mph and can avoid collisions below 32 mph.
Standard driver assistance systems include Trailer Stability, Tow Assist and Tow Hitch Assist, and automatic headlights and wipers. Available systems include Park Assist (parallel and perpendicular parking spaces), Lane Departure Warning, and Traffic Sign Recognition.
In addition to sharing its powertrain with the Evoque, the new Discovery Sport also shares some of its front architecture and other components, such as a magnesium crossbeam, with the Evoque. The chassis is made up of high-strength steel, ultra high-strength boron steel, and aluminum. Aluminum is also used for the hood, front fenders, roof, and tailgate, helping to keep overall weight down as well as lower the center of gravity.
The front suspension consists of steel lower control arms and aluminum knuckles. Road noise is dampened by hydraulic rebound stops in the struts. A new compact multi-link rear suspension increases passenger and cargo room. The rear suspension is mounted on a steel subframe, while strong yet lightweight thin-walled hollow aluminum is used for the rear lower control arms and knuckles.
Although the 2015 Discovery Sport shares some front end architecture with the Evoque, its more upright styling, larger overall size, and compact rear suspension allow for a third row. Riding on a 107.9-inch wheelbase, the seven-passenger compact SUV measures 180.7 inches long overall, while height is 67.9 inches and width including mirrors is 85.6 inches. In comparison, the Evoque rides on a 104.8-inch wheelbase and measures 171.5-171.9 inches overall. Height and width measure 63.2-64.4 inches and 77.4 inches, respectively. With its extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum, Land Rover says the new Discovery Sport weighs 3957 pounds. That's just 12 pounds more than the last Evoque we tested.
With the wheels pushed to the corners, the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport is said to have a low center of gravity and "planted" stance. Up front, it features a two-bar grille flanked by slim wraparound headlights surrounded by four-point daytime running lights. Halogen headlights and DRLs are standard, while HID headlights and LED daytime running lights are available. The four-point daytime running lights are said to represent the four points on a compass. LED foglights are mounted in the large air intakes on each corner of the front fascia. A clamshell hood caps of the front end details.
Though less dramatic than the Evoque, the Discovery Sport's sloping roofline and raked C-pillar give it a sense of motion. The front fender vents and large wheel arches tie the Discovery Sport to the larger LR4 as well as past Land Rover models. Around back, the taillight design echoes that of the headlights. Other features include a rear spoiler and slim LED third-brake light. Special attention was paid to rear aerodynamics to keep road grime and dirt to a minimum. Functional front and rear skidplates are standard.
Available exterior colors include Fuji White, Santorini Black, Corris Grey, Indus Silver, Loire Blue, Scotia Grey, Kaikoura Stone, Firenze Red, and limited edition Yulong White. The Black Pack exterior trim package includes a gloss black finish on the grille, door mirror caps, front fender vents, and badges as well as 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels. A contrasting Santorini Black or Corris Gray roof option is also available. There are five wheel choices in Sliver or Gloss Black finish.
Inside, special attention was paid to the driver position in relation to the pillars and dashboard. The center console controls are logically placed and feature soft-touch dials and buttons against a gloss black panel. A 5.0-inch TFT display is mounted in the center of the gauge cluster. Luxury touches include double stitching on the leather dash and doors on upper trim levels, while real metal trim is available. SE models feature grained part-leather, while the HSE Luxury features Windsor leather. Interior colors include Ebony, Cirrus, Ivory, Almond, and Tan.
Second-row passengers sit in stadium seating two inches higher than front seat passengers. The 60/40 folding second-row seats also recline and slide 6.3 inches for up to 39.8 inches of legroom behind the contoured front seats. Land Rover says that with the occasional third-row seat folded, the Discovery Sport has the same luggage space as two-row models. The second and third rows fold flat for larger items.
The base center console features two cupholders and storage bin with roller lid, while an upper trim center console features a sliding armrest and removable cupholders. There are also storage cubbies in front and rear doors and for third-row passengers. Up to four 12-volt power points are available throughout the cabin. A dual-climate zone system is standard with second- and third-row vents placed in the B- and C-pillars, respectively. The automatic climate control system will automatically recirculate the air and defrost the windshield.
Land Rover's all-new infotainment system features voice-controlled navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, an all-terrain mode, and Land Rover InControl technology with InControl Apps smartphone integration. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard, as is a 10-speaker audio system. An 11-speaker audio system with subwoofer is available. The Bluetooth system allows two phones to be linked simultaneously. In addition to audio and navigation, the infotainment system can also display 4x4i, off-road displays, Eco Data, and ambient lighting control. InControl Apps work with iPhone 5/5S/5C and up or Android phones with Google Play. Base price for the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport starts at $38,920 (including $925 destination) and it will go on sale in early 2015.