Don’t look at the exterior if you’re keen on seeing the change.
After becoming Land Rover’s best selling vehicle in 2016 after 122,460 units were sold, it was clear that the Discovery Sport was a model the automaker needed to pay attention to. And by the time 2018 rolled around, it was clear change was on the horizon as heavily camouflaged Discovery Sport mules started popping up for our spy photographers to shoot. Despite the camouflage, Land Rover’s release of the 2020 model shows that the company is committed to keeping the new car looking very similar to the hot-seller it replaces, likely an attempt to keep the sales machine churning.
There are subtle tweaks at the front and rear, including new LED headlights and tailings as well as a larger grille and sportier front and rear bumpers, with the former end getting larger air intakes and a more chiseled chin while the latter gets a little more defragmented look by breaking up trim pieces and trading the strip of silver trim under the Discovery badge for black trim.
The Discovery Sport R-Dynamic variant gains a sportier front bumper and what almost looks like a rear diffuser on its unique rear bumper, both in addition to the Satin Dark Grey alloy wheels and Shadow Atlas script on the hood and tailgate.
And while the external changes are only evolutionary, the revolutionary changes take place under the skin. That’s because the 2020 Discovery Sport boasts Land Rover’s new PTA (Premium Transverse Architecture) that debuted with the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. The platform accommodates Jaguar Land Rover's new line of engines infused with 48-volt mild hybrid systems, has plug-in hybrid compatibility, harbors the company’s latest technology and safety advances, and makes the ride more luxurious by increasing structural rigidity by 13%, enabling a reduction in the noise, vibrations, and harshness felt inside the cabin.
PTA also helps to open up more room inside, better accommodating the extra interior storage cubbies and the Discovery Sport's classic "5+2” seating arrangement. Improving on it is a folding layout with 40:20:40 split-folding second-row seats. The new interior provides an upgrade arguably as big as the new platform’s, with upscale materials combining with JLR’s latest interior design language to drastically enhance the ambiance.
Technology is ever-present, with JLR’s new generation of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-infused dual monitor InControl Touch Pro infotainment system making an appearance alongside new toys, like ClearSight Ground View that projects a virtual 180-degree view of what’s beneath the vehicle onto the screen. It, along with the new high-definition rear-view mirror, help drivers better navigate in tricky off-road situations. Wireless phone charging, WiFi capabilities, and USB charging ports also ensure that the Discovery Sport can more easily adapt to our modern lifestyles.
Powertrain options remain thick, with a range of four-cylinder gas and diesel Ingenium engines now available with 48-volt mild hybrid integration, and a plug-in hybrid model and three-cylinder gasoline engine joining the range later this year. Terrain Response 2 ensures the Discovery Sport preserves the best of Land Rover’s off-roading capabilities. Though US pricing hasn’t been announced yet, the Land Rover Discovery Sport starts at £31,575 ($40,126 at today’s rates) in the UK for a front-wheel drive diesel model, which we almost certainly won’t get here.