2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport
2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a compact luxury crossover SUV with seating for up to seven passengers. It’s smaller and less expensive than other Land Rovers, but it has some of the same off-road image and ability.
For 2021 it gets a new twin-touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and more safety equipment, with a standard surround-view camera system and active lane control.
The Discovery Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 making 246 hp, mated to a 9-speed automatic. It accelerates with authority, from a standing start to highway speeds. All-wheel drive is standard, and traction is effective in slippery weather—though there’s no low-range gearing for hardcore off-roading. On dry pavement, the ride is firm, the steering quick.
It seats five, and has an an available third row that increases the seating capacity to seven, but it’s just about the smallest third-row seat we’ve ever seen. It folds so the space can be used for cargo.
The Discovery Sport ekes out 19 mpg city, 23 highway, 20 combined. It hasn’t been crash-tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA. Automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system are standard, while blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control are optional.
Made in England, the Discovery Sport comes in four models: S, R-Dynamic S, SE, and R-Dynamic SE.
The $42,950 for the Discovery Sport S comes with the new twin-touchscreen infotainment system, synthetic leather upholstery, a surround-view camera system, LED headlights, and 18-inch wheels.
The $44,650 R-Dynamic S adds fender flares and more stylish 18-inch wheels.
The $46,350 Disco Sport SE adds a digital 12.3-inch screen and 19-inch wheels.
The $48,000 R-Dynamic SE adopts dark 19-inch wheels. Adaptive cruise control, a rear camera mirror, a power tailgate, high-end audio, and 14-way power seats are optional.
The Sport carries a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty.
The Discovery Sport is handsome, and resembles the bigger Discovery, perhaps even a Range Rover Sport. The headlights and grille meld into a smooth and aero-friendly wagon shape, without the dramatic angular quality of the related Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. The body is finely detailed, with a bluff front end and a squared-off tail.
The cabin is reserved and attractive, with synthetic or real leather in light colors, bright metallic and plastic trim, and two (or three) digital displays. There are many bins and pockets for storing small things.
The front seats are multi-adjustable, with very firm and flat cushions. In the base S, they’re covered in synthetic leather and cloth, and can be upgraded to leather in contrasting colors, and 14-way power adjustment, with heating. A high seating position affords good outward vision.
The second row slides on a six-inch track, so there is good leg room, but it’s not wide enough for three people to be comfortable.
The optional third row is hard, flat, and barely big enough for children.
The cargo capacity is 34.6 cubic feet behind the second row, and 62.8 cubic feet behind the front buckets.
The Discovery Sport’s 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine makes 246 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, which enables it to accelerate from 0-60 mph time of 7.1 seconds, with its torque bringing that power on early. The smooth 9-speed automatic transmission helps, as long as the throttle is held down, although it can get confused with rapid throttle changes.
It’s not as fast as Range Rovers with bigger engines, nor is its ride as plush as Range Rovers with more refined suspensions. Of course, it’s not a Range Rover. The Discovery Sport’s taut suspension becomes more pronounced with the largest 20-inch wheels.
The Land Rover reputation for off-road performance doesn’t really apply to the Discovery Sport. It’s too long, too luxurious, and its deep bumpers get in the way of rocks, but it’s well-suited for dirt roads, and it can be impressive on moderately difficult trails. It’s transmission lacks a low range for rock crawling or super traction, but it does have standard traction modes that alter its transmission shifts and stability control, which pays off in sand, for example.
The Discovery Sport offers a good balance between real-world crossover chores and the rugged image of a Land Rover. The powertrain is excellent, the ride is firm, and it seats four in comfort. We’d select the Discovery Sport S for its strong value.
—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection