LR2 replacement has room for seven and carries a price tag below $40k.
Land Rover has finally gotten around to showing its entry-level model some love with the reveal of the Discovery Sport. Ditching the LR2/Freelander nameplates, the long-awaited compact SUV has been comprehensively redesigned with a ‘five-plus-two’ seating arrangement, 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo, nine-speed automatic and a starting price below $40,000. The Sport is the first member of a new-gen Discovery family with focus on SUV practicality, flanked by the off-road oriented Defender and luxurious Range Rover lineups.
Heavily influenced by the Discovery Vision concept, the Discovery Sport is 80 mm longer than the LR2 and a slightly lower, but remains compact with fuller proportions, moving away from its boxy, upright predecessor. The Sport’s shape, with its ‘fast’ clamshell hood, raked screens, mildly sloping roofline and rear spoiler that was designed to cut drag and keep the rear screen clean, has been aerodynamically optimized. Inside, the cabin boasts “stadium-style” seating, with a second row that slides and reclines offering as much legroom as a Range Rover. The third row is ideally suited to kids 13 or younger, and when folded away provides masses of load space.
A traditional instrument layout, with two analogue dials separated by a five-inch info screen, is paired with a new eight-inch infotainment system in the center of the dashboard. While not as luxurious as a RR Sport, the cabin is covered in high-quality materials with top trim models coming with double-stitched leather. The aforementioned 240-hp 2.0T unit also generates 250 lb-ft of torque, while in Europe the sole powerplant on offer is a 2.2-liter SD4 turbodiesel rated at 190 hp, available with either the same ZF-developed nine-speed auto US buyers will be forced to use, or a six-speed manual.
Performance specs have yet to be detailed, but a combination of high-strength steel and the application of aluminum on the roof, wings, hood and tailgate, is aimed at improving rigidity and keeping weight to just over 1,800 kg. The chassis also sports a new multi-link suspension, improved brakes, a new variable-ratio electric power steering system, and a new external airbag. An enhanced Terrain Response system improves offroad capabilities, as does its 8.3-inches of ground clearance, breakover angle of 21 degrees and ability to scale 45-degree gradients. The Land Rover Discovery Sport will launch in January priced from $37,995.