2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport SE Review

2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport Road Test Review

Land Rover Discovery Sport – SE Overview

When it comes to medium sized luxury SUVs (vehicles that cost $60,000 or more) Land Rover is doing very well. In 2017 in Australia there are 12 models in this segment.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport tops the sales chart with approximately 15% of the market. With the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Velar also in this segment, let alone their cousin the Jaguar F-Pace, they currently have around a third of this market segment.

The Discovery Sport evolved out of their Freelander. It is smaller than the Land Rover Discovery and not quite as rugged in its cross-country capability, but nonetheless it has class-leading off-road capability as well as being remarkably good on the bitumen.

2018 LR Discovery Sport SE dash

In the last quarter of 2017, Land Rover did a bit of an upgrade mainly concentrating on improving the engines in both performance and environmental impact.

There are three trim levels in Australia: SE, HSE and HSE luxury.  It comes with two “Ingenium” engines each of which has a number of power outputs.

The new two litre petrol engine can be specified with 177 kW or 213 kW (the most powerful engine Land Rover have put in this vehicle) and the two litre diesel engine has three power options 110 kW, 132kW and 177 kW.

All models come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.  We did an extensive test on the base model SE with the 110kW diesel engine.


Land Rover Discovery Sport – SE Exterior

Land Rover manages to create a very distinctive look, that has elements of its heritage and an overall appearance which says, it is a solid four-wheel drive vehicle.  A bit of the British Bulldog look at the front but without the angles or stodgy looks of an older style four-wheel-drive.

The front and rear taillights have rounded lamps within their respective clusters avoiding the squinting appearance that has become fashionable. All models come with an electric tailgate.

You can get one of 12 exterior colours but only basic black or white come without an additional cost. Any one of the seven metallic colours, which include grey, silver, white, blue, black and red will cost an extra $1,370. To get a premium metallic which could be orange, silver or Carpathian Grey will cost an extra $2,740.


Land Rover Discovery Sport – SE Interior

Inside it looks quite special with a good layout and functionality, although selecting gears is via the common Land Rover system of a dial not a lever, which means that putting your hand on the selector gives you no indication as to whether you are in Park, Drive or Reverse and so you have to look down every time. It is distinctive but not helpful.

2018 LR Discovery Sport SE entertainment

The vehicle has an 8-inch information screen which is clear and easy to read. The top of the range HSE luxury gets a 10-inch screen.  Unfortunately there is no Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto but there’s Land Rover’s InControl system, which provides digital connections to services such as Spotify and can link you to your vehicle when you are elsewhere. Voice control for navigation is not available for Australian models.

2018 LR Discovery Sport SE rear seats

Even in our base model SE, both front seats had 10-way electronic adjustment including four-way lumbar support.

2018 LR Discovery Sport SE front seats

The internal configuration can be 5 or 7 seats and there is a large amount of storage space.

2018 LR Discovery Sport SE boot

In five-seater mode, there was a highly credible 981 litres of space in the cargo area with the second row of seats in an upright position and a very significant 1698 litres with the seats folded down.

2018 LR Discovery Sport SE 3rd row seats

The surprising third row of seats adds another dimension to the practicality of the Discovery Sport.


Land Rover Discovery Sport – SE Drivetrain and Engine

The Discovery Sport’s environmental credentials are good enough for the both the petrol and diesel engine to meet Euro 6 standards. The modest 110 kW but credible 380 Nm of torque in our SE did not make for powerful motoring.

The vehicle was not quick off the mark and appeared to be feeling its weight when asked to do something a bit strenuous but it toured comfortably. Its fuel consumption is rated at 5.3 l/100km and it is very comfortable and easy to drive even in the city.

There’s a touch of turbo lag and, at times, the 9-speed gearbox seemed to be thinking rather long and hard about what it should do. Not often and only momentarily, but on occasions the delay to deliver power to the wheels seemed unnatural.

The vehicle has a wading depth of up to 600 mm and a Wade Sensing System is an optional extra which uses sensors in the door mirrors to show the driver the waters depth in relation to the vehicle.

The vehicle is rated to tow 2200 kg but only has a tow ball weight of 100 kg. The vehicle does come standard with trailer stability control, trailer stability assist and front and rear recovery hooks. The rear-view camera includes reversing guidance, hitch guidance and parking blocks and all vehicles come with a full-size spare.


Land Rover Discovery Sport – SE Safety

The Discovery Sport has a reasonable amount of road safety technology and, thankfully, the features are available on all models.  Along with the usual mandatory equipment, it has ride stability control, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.

But vehicle assistance to help keep in the lane and driver condition monitor is a $940 optional extra. Blind spot monitoring and reverse traffic detection are also only available as options

The Discovery Sport may not be leading the field with driver assistance technology but it does come with a range of helpful features for off-road driving.

This includes their All Terrain Progress Control which enables drivers to set and maintain a steady speed in challenging conditions and can help you pull away smoothly on low friction surfaces like ice, snow or wet grass.

Also standard across the range are hill descent control, hill start assist and gradient release control, which is designed to prevent the vehicle accelerating too quickly on a steep incline when the driver releases the brake.

Land Rover Discovery Sport – SE Options

As seen already, optional extras can add significantly to the price of your Land Rover. For example, cruise control is standard on this vehicle but adaptive cruise control is an option on all trim levels at $1,410.

There are a wide range of feature packs, including a dynamic exterior design pack, which has xenon headlights with LED signature, front fog lights, front parking aid and larger wheels, which on our SE Discovery Sport will cost an additional $7,210 which is nearly 13% extra.

When you add on-road costs you are now over the Luxury Tax Threshold of $65,094 so every extra dollar gets an additional 33% tax. Not all options are available on all models, nor with all power train choices so it might be worth taking a spreadsheet to the dealer if you are looking to buy.

Land Rover Discovery Sport – SE Summary

In summary the Land Rover Discover Sport achieves a balance of on- and off-road capabilities that is not matched by other competitors.  It comes at a price and some features are not standard but it has character, practicality and ease of driving.


The Good:

  • Off-road and towing capabilities
  • Distinctive style
  • Reasonable safety features across the range

The Not so Good

  • Leisurely performance
  • Occasional hesitance in drive train
  • Pricey options including some safety features

Model:   Land Rover Discovery Sport – SE

  • Model Price:         From $56,595 RRP*
  • Engine:                 TD4 four-cylinder 2.0 litre turbo diesel
  • Drivetrain:             9-Speed Automatic
  • Power:                  110 kW
  • Torque:                 380 Nm from 1750rpm
  • Safety:                  5 Star ANCAP (tested in 2014)
  • CO2 Emissions:    139 g/km
  • Economy:             5.3 L/100 km (ADR comb)
  • Tow Rating:          750/2,200kg (unbraked/braked)
  • Tow Ball Rating:    100kg
  • Servicing:              $1,500 5 year plan (max 102,000km)
  • Warranty:              Three year, 100,000km

*excluding statutory charges (which change by location), dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP.

 Overall Rating     80/100

  • Behind the Wheel 9
  • Comfort                              8
  • Equipment                          7
  • Performance                       7
  • Ride & Handling                 8
  • Practicality                           9
  • Fit for Purpose                    8
  • Towing Ability                     8
  • Off Road Ability                  9
  • Value for Money                 7