The 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport offers style, comfort and utility combined with an above-average ability to traverse snow-choked roads or muddy trails. If you're looking for a midsize luxury SUV with an extra degree of go-anywhere gusto, this car is worth taking it for a spin. This car has a rugged, go-anywhere ability and makes it part of an attractive, well-designed crossover wagon that suburban families are going to be happy with every single day of the year.
The vehicle shares underpinnings with the Range Rover Evoque but with about 50 percent new parts and some other important upgrades that affect ride comfort and safety. At about 181 inches long, it’s sized right in the middle of what the compact crossover market has sized up to—which means it now goes up against not only the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Volvo XC60, but also top-trim versions of the Jeep Cherokee and GMC Terrain.
The Discovery Sport is a new nameplate, replacing the LR2 in the Land Rover lineup and heading in a direction that's going to be far more appealing than its predecessor. In many respects it borrows some of the essence of the Range Rover, yet this family-friendly companion keeps the size manageable and the cost affordable—at least by luxury-brand standards.
Overall, the new Discovery Sport performs and handles with a verve that’s characteristic of car-based crossovers, yet those off-road chops are there when you need them. A 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 is smooth and strong here, and the paddle-shifted 9-speed automatic is a good companion for responsiveness, drivability, and gas mileage. The electric power steering loads up reassuringly here, while the brakes have the subtlety required for off-road combined with the reassuring pedal feel needed for higher-speed stops. And a new rear suspension design allows more wheel travel and a quieter, more absorbent (and less pitchy) ride.
Preferred method of pick-up and drop-off will be at my apartment in West Hollywood.