2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Review: Slick Seven Seater

by Belinda Anderson

The more compact, sexier version of the standard Discovery, the Land Rover Discovery Sport has smaller dimensions and a more athletic stance than its bigger sibling. While this lends itself to easy urban commuting, it disguises the vehicle's ability to go off-road behind its dashing good looks. Its capabilities can be unleashed on rougher terrain where the Disco Sport fares really well against rivals like the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX, although with its harsh ride quality, it may not quite match them on city roads. The Disco Sport is also set apart in the segment for having the ability to seat seven occupants by means of adding a third row of seats, and - although this is quite a cramped space that eats into otherwise excellent cargo utility - it's a big plus factor. Although its entry-level model is pretty basic with limited customization options, the HSE trims have the benefit of offering a tuned-up version of the 2.0-liter inline-four it is shipped with, upping output figures from 237 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque to an impressive 286 hp and 295 lb-ft. There's a lot to be said for the Discovery Sport - but with its atrocious predicted reliability rating and long list of optional driver aids that really should be standard, is it worth the money spent?

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Discovery Sport?

The new-for-2019 Landmark Edition makes its debut for this model year, introducing a trim that is second from the top and features most of the luxuries and conveniences available to the range. Land Rover has also made enhancements to the infotainment system by updating the InControl Touch Pro interface for enhanced ease of use.

Pros and Cons

  • Solid off-roading ability
  • Beautiful design and style
  • Seating for up to seven
  • Cargo space is ample
  • Low predicted reliability rating
  • Harsh ride quality
  • Third-row seating is very cramped

Discovery Sport Exterior

The Discovery Sport, much like its standard sibling, has the same eager and assertive look we have come to expect from the British marque - with a solid, grounded stance and smoothed edges, it is still every bit of the Land Rover look we are accustomed to, just with a little sporty flair added. All models, barring the base SE, feature a panoramic sunroof, while a Carpathian Grey contrast roof is standard on the new Landmark trim together with a dynamic front bumper: this special edition features a Graphite Atlas grille and fender vents, as well as Narvik black mirror caps. The other models boast body-colored mirrors and door handles, and all but the base trim feature Xenon headlights with LED signature lighting. The SE and HSE roll in on 18-inch wheels, while the HSE Luxury and Landmark edition are fitted with 19-inch units, the latter being unique Gloss Dark Grey alloys.

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Front View Land Rover
2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Rear View Land Rover
2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Front Angle View Land Rover
See All 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Stretched out at 181.1 inches in length, the Discovery Sport is set on a 107.9-inch wheelbase and stands 67.9 inches tall. Its width is 85.6 inches with the mirrors extended (81.5 inches without) - making it slightly taller and wider than the Audi Q5, Range Rover Evoque and even the Acura RDX. A ground clearance of 8.3 inches, approach and departure angles of 23.4 and 31 degrees respectively, and a breakover angle of 20 degrees hint at its off-roading capabilities. It is also able to wade to a maximum depth of 23.6 inches. Curb weights start at 3,960 pounds for models with five seats, and top out at 4,150 lbs for those with seven (or 5+2, as Land Rover calls it).

Exterior Colors

The 2019 palette includes twelve colors, namely Fuji White and Narvik Black as solid hues, and Yulong White, Indus Silver, Corris Grey, Scotia Grey, Byron Blue, Loire Blue, Santorini Black, and Firenze Red as metallics. Two premium paint options, Namib Orange and Carpathian Grey, can also be had. Customization in terms of optionally contrasting roof colors is available, with certain colors allowing for a choice between black or grey, whilst others are restricted to one of those shades only. The Landmark Edition is also exempt from certain colors, with only Narvik Black, Yulong White, Indus Silver and Corris Grey available to it.

  • Indus Silver Metallic
  • Firenze Red Metallic
  • Loire Blue Metallic
  • Yulong White Metallic
  • Byron Blue Metallic
  • Corris Grey Metallic
  • Scotia Grey Metallic
  • Santorini Black Metallic
  • Carpathian Grey Premium Metallic
  • Namib Orange Premium Metallic
  • Fuji White
  • Narvik Black

Discovery Sport Performance

All models in the range are equipped with a 2.0-liter Si4 gas engine as standard. It produces 237 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The HSE and HSE Luxury trims have access to a dialed-up version of the same engine, which has peak outputs of 286 hp and 295 lb-ft - the same nine-speed automatic remains in play, and in the high-output engine, can push the heavy SUV to 60 mph in the mid-six second range. The base engine manages a sub-seven second time. Since this is the same engine used in the Range Rover Evoque, performance is similar, although the tuned-up high-performance variant of the Evoque can manage a six-second dash to 60 mph, while Audi's Q5 bests both in under six seconds. Not limited to tarmac, the Discovery Sport can manage some rougher terrain too thanks to its all-wheel-drive and traction management system. It is also rated to tow a maximum of 4,400 pounds, which is better than both the Range Rover Evoque and the Acura RDX - but on par with the Germans, namely the X3 and Q5.

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Front View Driving Land Rover
2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Rear View Driving Land Rover
2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Rear View Driving 1 Land Rover

Engine and Transmission

A turbocharged inline-four under the Disco Sport's hood makes 237 hp and 251 lb-ft in its base configuration. The same 2.0-liter engine can be tweaked in the HSE and HSE Luxury models to give more oomph, with 286 hp and 295 lb-ft the result. Both options make use of a nine-speed automatic gearbox, which has received mixed reviews about its efficiency. While we found it to be quite capable of doing its job, there was some hesitation to shift to the appropriate gear, which was frustrating in situations that required an instant reaction. Acceleration from a standstill is fine, if you're not in a particular hurry, and once up to speed, merging and passing maneuvers are relatively easy. We'd have liked a little more assertive energy from the powertrain, especially considering its demarcation as a Sport variant, with the likes of Audi's Q5 offering better performance overall.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    4X4

Handling and Driving Impressions

With larger Land Rover vehicles known for smooth, velvety rides, one might expect similar from the Discovery Sport. Sadly, it's toned down quite a bit for the Disco, with a stiff ride that is worsened with the optional 20-inch wheels. There's very little feedback from the wheels, although the steering tracks straight and is generally accurate - it's just a little numb for our liking. Although being quite composed in general driving, taking corners at speed will result in some body roll that almost seems out of character for a luxury vehicle. With four driving modes, namely general driving, grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, and sand, you are spoiled for choice when going off-road. While the Disco Sport isn't suitable for harsh, all-in off-roading, it does well on mildly rougher terrain - it's predictable in a good way, and is responsive to inputs, especially at lower speeds. Braking is effective and consistent, too.

Discovery Sport Gas Mileage

Unfortunately offering unimpressive fuel economy, the Disco Sport manages EPA estimates of 21/25/22 mpg with the base inline-four equipped. The higher-output motor sees only the city figure drop by 1 mpg. Almost all rivals manage better gas mileage, although admittedly not by very much - the Audi Q5 gets 22/27/24 mpg, while the Disco's cousin, the Range Rover Evoque, fares much better at 22/29/25 mpg. With an 18.1-gallon fuel tank, the Disco Sport has a range of around 398 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.1 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/25 mpg
* 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport SE 4WD

Discovery Sport Interior

The Discovery Sport has the unique potential in this segment to offer seating for up to seven passengers - Land Rover calls this 5+2, as the third row entails two narrow seats that are, honestly, only really suitable for small children. Still, the cabin in generally spacious, with a sliding second row trying to mitigate ingress to the rear seats. Although not quite as luxurious as some of its cousins (the Evoque, for example), some effort has been made to up the luxury-ratio in the functionality versus comfort design style which Land Rover is known for. The dash is a little more streamlined, which less buttons, knobs, and dials to distract or clutter, and only those that are truly functional are within arms reach. For the driver, this translates to an ergonomic, comfortable position. A nifty added feature is the additional air vents to the third row when equipped as with 5+2 seating to ensure all passengers are kept comfy.

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Dashboard Land Rover
2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Front Seats Land Rover
2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Dashboard 1 Land Rover
See All 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Space in the Disco Sport is ample - unless you choose to add the optional third row. In the seven-seater setup, there is much less room to go around; the third row is especially tight, and even the second row - although capable of housing three people across - is realistically better suited for only two. Sticking with the standard five-seater configuration is where the Disco stands out in the segment - second-row seating offers exceptional legroom, with seats that can recline and slide. The driver and front-passenger seats are also supremely comfortable, with all appointments in at least partial leather from the base model upwards. Top-end trims get Windsor leather and 12-way power adjustments. Soft-touch materials abound, but some hard plastics do make their way into the cabin, regardless. At entry-level, the SE offers ten-way powered front seats which can be heated optionally, together with the rear. Ventilation can be specified on higher-end trims only. Driver's visibility is good, and there is sufficient adjustment to achieve a decent seating position - ingress and egress are also easy for everyone, except the optional third-row passengers, who will have to be quite limber (and small) to hop in and out despite a sliding second row.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The interior is quite extensively customizable, with partial leather, perforated leather, and full Windsor leather as you move up through the trim levels. Choices can be made between Ebony, Cirrus, Almond, Glacier, Vintage Tan, and Ivory, although the latter two options are exclusive to the HSE Luxury trim only. The center stack and side rails can also be specified in Satin, Glacier, Carmine Red or Dark Grey brushed aluminum, depending on various combinations available per trim level. For the most part, the cabin is beautifully appointed, although not as luxurious as some of the higher-specced Land Rover vehicles out there.

Discovery Sport Trunk and Cargo Space

In terms of Cargo space, the Disco Sport does remarkably well - with 34.6 cubic feet behind the second row, and 62.8 cubes with the second row folded down, most rivals don't provide quite this much space. The Acura RDX gets close, with 31.1 cubes on offer, but both the Audi Q5 and Range Rover Evoque are at 25 and below. Naturally, these numbers are much less impressive when the third row of seating is optioned on. The cargo area can also be accessed by the optional hands-free power tailgate - which is standard on the top-end trims - to further enhance utility.

Small-item storage is average by comparison, with the basics of a glovebox, door pockets, center armrest console bin, and twin cupholders in the front and rear in place.

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Front Angle View 1 Land Rover
2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Side View Land Rover
2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Rear View Driving 2 Land Rover

Discovery Sport Infotainment and Features

Features

With most of the good stuff reserved for models higher up on the food chain, the entry-level model can seem a little sparse. While heated seats can be optioned on for the SE trim, only the top three models get access to the optional heating and ventilation package. Dual-zone climate control with second-row vents are standard across the lineup, while an auto-dimming rearview mirror is only fitted to the top-end trims. Ambient interior lighting is stock fitted, but is configurable on the HSE Luxury trim. All variants come equipped with cruise control and speed limiter, with the HSE, Landmark and HSE Luxury having access to adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, and a driver condition monitor. A rearview camera and rear parking assist is, at least, included for all models, but advanced driver aids like surround-view camera, blind-spot monitoring and reverse traffic detection must be optioned on, with the former not available to the base model at all.

Infotainment

All models ship with an eight-inch touchscreen, ten-speaker Land Rover enhanced sound system, a single USB port up front and two in the back, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. A ten-inch infotainment screen can be optioned on for all models, as well as an enhanced ten-speaker Meridian sound system, which includes a subwoofer for deep bass and clear tones - this audio system comes standard on top-spec HSE Luxury trims. A premium 16-speaker Meridian surround sound system with a dual-channel woofer is also available, just not to the base model. SiriusXM and HD radio is standard for the HSE Luxury as well, and can be added on to the other trims. A basic navigation system is included on HSE and HSE Luxury trims, with the optional inclusion for the other models at cost. Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities can be had by means of package inclusion, while Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are no-cost add-ons for 2019.

Discovery Sport Problems and Reliability

Quite shocking for a vehicle from the revered British brand is the low predicted reliability rating; J.D. Power gave the Discovery Sport only 65 out of 100. Despite this, only one recall was issued pertaining to a crankshaft pulley bolt that could potentially fracture, affecting around 2,500 units - not limited to Discovery variants. Additionally, Land Rover provides a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, a six-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty, and four years or 50,000 miles of drivetrain coverage.

Discovery Sport Safety

Not rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS, the Discovery Sport's safety may seem like a bit of a concern. And, with many of the advanced driver aids that are standard on rivals having to be optioned on, this may be a valid point. Still, a host of airbags, including knee, curtain, and side airbags, as well as a rearview camera, cruise control, speed limiter, and rear park assist are standard throughout the range. For more advanced driver aids, you will need to purchase packages, which can only be specified onto the higher trim levels.

Key Safety Features

Safety in the Discovery Sport comprises an array of airbags for front and rear passengers, as well as an audible seat belt warning, LATCH child-seat tethers in the second row, and a collision unlocking system. Cruise control with speed limiter is standard on all trim levels, as is a rearview camera and rear park assist. A front park assist system is included on the HSE, Landmark, and HSE Luxury trims, as well as access to a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, reverse traffic detection, and traffic sign recognition. Lane-keeping assist and a driver condition monitor are also package-dependent add-ons available to the top three trims only.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport a good SUV?

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is, right off the bat, one of the best-looking SUVs on the road - while it retains its familiar boxy Land Rover shape, it has sleek, sexy curves that really set it apart from the likes of conservative rivals like the Audi Q5. It's worth a mention, because the sporty aesthetic, as well as its ability to tackle mild off-roading adventures, is what gives the Disco Sport some advantage. With a few negatives to consider - namely a terrible dependability rating, a low-on-features base model, and rather poor gas mileage figures - its rugged appeal, spacious cabin, and genuine Land Rover abilities need to be made clear. Still, we'd encourage you to take the Audi Q5 for a test drive if you are looking for a smooth, slick urban cruiser. If you're going to be taking the road less traveled from time to time, you need look no further than the Discovery itself.

What's the Price of the 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport?

Getting behind the wheel of a Discovery Sport will cost you at least $37,990 - that's the MSRP of the entry-level SE model. Upgrading to the HSE will set you back $42,600 with the base engine equipped, or $49,700 if you want the HSE with the tuned-up powertrain. For the 2019-exclusive Landmark edition, you will need to set aside $45,000, while the top-of-the-range HSE Luxury has a starting price of $46,990 with the basic engine - the high-output motor adding $6,210 on top of that. These prices exclude licensing, registration, taxes, and Land Rover's $995 destination charge.

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Models

The 2019 Discovery Sport range is available in four trim levels, two of which can be souped up in terms of powertrain. The range consists of SE, HSE, Landmark and HSE Luxury trims, all fitted as standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine that makes 237 hp and 251 lb-ft. The two HSE derivatives have access to the dialed-up engine that squeezes out 286 hp and 295 lb-ft. All are paired to a nine-speed auto and feature all-wheel-drive.

With limited options to upgrade, the entry-spec SE has only the basics - which, to be fair, aren't awful. Partial grained leather seats, leather steering wheel, ten-way power front seats, dual-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting and a rearview camera with rear parking assist are standard fare.

Next, the HSE builds on existing features and adds keyless entry, a front parking assist system, Xenon headlights, a fixed panoramic roof, perforated leather seats with 12-way power adjustment, and access to the full list of advanced driver safety features. This model can also be upgraded with the more powerful engine.

The Landmark Edition is specific to 2019, and features a dynamic styled front bumper, 19-inch Gloss Dark Grey alloy wheels, a unique contrast roof, and Dark Grey brushed aluminum center stack finishers.

The top-line HSE Luxury trim is the only other model that can be equipped with the more powerful engine. It comes standard with navigation, Sirius XM and HD radio, configurable ambient lighting, perforated Windsor leather seats, and a premium Meridian sound system.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$37,990
HSE
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$42,600
Landmark
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$45,000
HSE Luxury
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$46,990
See All 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The base model SE doesn't have access to many additional packages, although some standalone options may be worth considering if you have to opt for it, namely the Vision Assist package for $820 and heated front and rear seats for $1,330 by means of the Climate Comfort Package. Optioning on the third row of seating costs $1,785 for all trim levels.

Packages worth mentioning for the remaining three trims include two versions of the Driver Assist Plus Package - the first of which covers autonomous braking, lane-keep assist and traffic sign recognition for $410, and the more advanced version which adds navigation, Wi-Fi, and 17-speakers from a Meridian surround sound setup, at $3,825.

Adding heating and ventilation to your seating on the upper three trims will set you back $1,635, and also fits a heated leather steering wheel and heated windshield. Blind-spot monitoring with reverse traffic detection will cost an additional $510, while a head-up display and Parking Assistant are rolled into one package for $1,840.

What Land Rover Discovery Sport Model Should I Buy?

While many will be inclined to go for the Landmark special edition trim, we'd stay away from it simply because all the benefits are skin-deep, with purely cosmetic enhancements offered for quite a bit of money. We'd also give the entry-level SE a skip for its bare-bones feel in comparison to others in the range, and rather opt for the HSE - but we'd fit the more powerful engine to it (taking the price to $49,700) and adding the Vision Assist Package for the driver aids at $1,940, the Cold Climate package for the heated/ventilated seats for $1,635, and Driver Assist Plus Package ($3,825) with the upgraded Meridian sound system - this would push the price to $57,100. We'd leave off the third row of seats unless they were really needed, and - if we had some pocket change left - throw in a head-up display while still keeping the total cost below the $60k mark.

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport Comparisons

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Land Rover
Audi Q5 CarBuzz

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport vs Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

The Discovery Sport's own stablemate, the Range Rover Evoque, has much to offer in the way of modern, contemporary appeal. While it costs a few thousand dollars less at entry point to the range, the Evoque has a very similar powertrain, capable of matching the horsepower and torque from the Disco's base engine. Although mechanically identical, these two vehicles perform differently, with the Evoque more tuned to urbane cruising, whereas the Discovery Sport at least has some muscles to flex. Additionally, the Discovery Sport can tow up to 4,400 lbs, while the Evoque can only manage just under 4,000 lbs. While it is much cheaper, and it fares better in terms of fuel economy, the Evoque just doesn't have the true sense of Land Rover capability which the Discovery Sport manages to hold on to, nor does it have the roomy cabin or the ability to seat seven. We'd opt for the Discovery Sport if we were given the choice.

See Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Review

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport vs Audi Q5

While one of these vehicles excels at off-road tasks, the other reigns supreme as a sublime city cruiser, with the Audi Q5 responsible for the latter. Offering a much smoother, better-insulated drive, the Q5 has been called slightly boring for its predictable and comfortable handling and driving style. This isn't a bad thing though, as the excitement we're looking for on the road doesn't come from the Disco Sport either. In contrast, the Discovery Sport at least has the ability to go off-road, where the Q5 seems too urbane to manage this - not being quite as capable on rougher terrain as the Land Rover, and as such, the choice between these two really comes down to whether or not you're hoping to use the vehicle for any rough-terrain traipsing about. If you're hell-bent on a seven-seater, you shouldn't be looking at the Audi Q5 - but then again, you probably shouldn't be looking at the Disco Sport either, if seven comfortable seats are what you're after.

See Audi Q5 Review

Land Rover Discovery Sport Popular Comparisons

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