2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport

By October 8, 2019

The 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport is the smaller mid-size crossover cousin of Land Rover’s larger Discovery SUV. Near-legendary Land Rover off-road capabilities remain, though the Discovery Sport is a more affordable and carlike representation of the British company’s mystique.

A new Landmark Edition has joined the lineup for the 2019 model year, positioned between HSE and HSE Luxury trim levels. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is now a no-cost option, as part of a Smartphone Pack, but it’s not available for the base (SE) model.

Four trim levels are offered: SE, HSE, new Landmark, HSE Luxury, HSE Dynamic, and HSE Luxury Dynamic.

Turbocharged engines and effective traction systems let the Discovery Sport slip into a category between passenger cars and utility vehicles. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-4, rated at 237 horsepower or in high-output 286-hp form. Land Rover claims the former can reach 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, the latter in just 6.3 seconds.

Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has crash-tested the latest Discovery Sport.

All Discovery Sport SUVs have rear parking sensors, but blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and automatic high beams cost extra. All versions except the base SE trim level can be fitted with automatic emergency braking.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $995 destination charge.

SE ($37,990) comes with the 237-horsepower engine, 18-inch wheels, partial leather seat upholstery, a terrain management system, power-folding heated mirrors, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, 10-speaker audio, and 8-inch touchscreen.

HSE ($42,600) adds 10-way power front seats with memory, a panoramic moonroof, hands-free tailgate, and front parking sensors.

Landmark Edition ($45,000) comes in three unique colors with a contrasting grey panoramic roof. Included are 19-inch wheels, a distinctive front-end treatment, perforated leather upholstery, navigation, and aluminum trim. Automatic emergency braking is standard.

HSE Luxury ($46,990) gains upgraded 380-watt, 10-speaker audio by Meridian, with 19-inch wheels, satellite radio and navigation, and 10-way Windsor leather seats with memory.

HSE Dynamic 286-hp ($49,700) is similar to HSE above, but with 286-horsepower engine.

HSE Dynamic Luxury 286-hp ($53,200) is similar to HSE Luxury, but with 286-horsepower engine.

Exterior

Handsome in profile and organically shaped, the Discovery Sport leaped boldly ahead of the unmistakably boxy profiles of past Land Rover models. More carlike in appearance, it fits better with other members of the company’s lineup.

Rolling on 18-inch wheels (or larger ones), the Disco Sport has a spear-like character line that stretches down the bodyside. At the rear is a stubby tailgate. Despite its distinctively modern appearance, Land Rover’s smaller model echoes its mates with a honeycomb grille, slim headlights, and clamshell-style hood.

Interior

Within its cabin, the Discovery Sport turns practical and businesslike. Four adults fit comfortably, but five aren’t likely to complain either. The Discovery Sport serves well as a five-passenger crossover SUV, but its optional third row is very small.

The front seats are leather-upholstered, with ample adjustments. Second-row seats slide more than six inches fore/aft. Occupants can expect satisfying leg room. Taller passengers might not be so pleased, as the available panoramic roof absorbs some head room. High-mounted seats provide a commanding view ahead.

That optional third-row seat really is intended only for occasional use by small passengers. 

Behind the second row is 34.6 cubic feet of cargo space, growing to 62.8 cubic feet with second-row seats folded.

Driving Impressions

Weighing in at around two tons, the Discovery Sport doesn’t seem like a heavy vehicle. In fact, it feels surprisingly nimble for a tall crossover SUV. Aluminum body panels keep weight down, enhancing agility.

An effective suspension keeps the Discovery Sport securely planted on the pavement. Handling is helped by variable-ratio electric power steering that tracks well on interstates.

The powertrain has some coarse moments, but acceleration is ample. Land Rover’s 9-speed automatic, used in several other models, rarely hunts as it finds the appropriate gear. Drive modes can alter shift patterns for traversing snow, sand, or mud.

Standard all-wheel drive lets the Discovery Sport scramble over smaller obstacles and blaze through trails. Ground clearance measures 8.3 inches, and approach/departure angles are helpful. So is the ability to ease through nearly two feet of water.

For more challenging situations, the traction-management system can alter differential lockup, steering weight, and throttle/transmission tuning. With its Terrain Response program, the Discovery Sport is easy to drive, even though it lacks a low-range transfer case.

Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 20/25 mpg City/Highway, 22 Combined, though lightly equipped models earn 1 mpg more on the city cycle.

Final Word

Compared to most rivals, the 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport promises considerable off-road ability, with some of the luxury of its more regal cousins. Well-equipped even at lesser trim level, the Discover Sport can grow costly if a few options are added. The best value may be the base model, but automatic emergency braking is available only for HSE trim and above.

 

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.