Just as previewed, today – at midnight in the US actually – Land Rover officially pulled the wraps off the new Discovery Sport, the first model in a new family of models slotted below the Range Rover line-up.
Just as the Range Rover line grew from one model to three today, so is the plan for the Discovery – the Discovery Sport becoming a more versatile and compact premium compact SUV that can accommodate up to seven passengers.
The Discovery Sport – which looks fashioned for “soccer moms” from around the world, premiered last night digitally at Spaceport America – also announcing that four happy winners of the Galactic Discovery competition would gain access to space via Virgin Galactic.
“Our challenge has been to combine premium design with exceptional versatility; the two attributes must work in harmony,” said Gerry McGovern, Land Rover Design Director and Chief Creative Officer. “I’m proud to say we’ve achieved that; Discovery Sport’s dynamic design will resonate on an emotional level with consumers, and this vehicle is more versatile than any other premium compact SUV on the market.”
The exterior design is very close to the Discovery Vision concept, but it’s actually even closer to the Range Rover Evoque. That might create some confusion and alienate some clients, but we can’t deny the model’s bold stance and dynamic appearance.
The interior, which features a premium treatment that was lacking in the previous Discovery iterations, keeps the SUV’s plain and utilitarian looks, which is an asset when it comes to ergonomics. The analog gauges contrast the multi-function steering wheel and the infotainment system’s 8-inch display. Space is not an issue, for five passengers that is, with the additional two seats in the trunk limited to “occasional usage.” The second row though has a 60/40 split feature and can slide up to 6.3-inches to a class leading 39.8-inches of legroom.
Not all details were revealed, but the Disco Sport looks coy to remain a true off-roader: there’s an 8.3-inches (212mm) ground clearance, it can tackle gradients of up to 45 degrees and has approach, departure and break over angles of 25, 31 and 21 degrees, respectively.
US models will get for now a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 240 bhp (179 kW) and 250 lb-ft (338 kW) of torque, sending power to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. European clients are also treated to a 2.2-liter SD4 turbodiesel that churns out 190 PS (139 kW) and can be mated to a six-speed manual or the nine-speed auto.