If you’re stepping out of a car and thinking to yourself, ‘I don’t understand why people bother with the more expensive variants’, it’s safe to say the manufacturer has done a pretty good job. The 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE TD4 180 was one of those cars for me. Featuring a fantastic diesel powertrain, elegant leather interior, oversized panoramic roof and fuel economy that would make a Prius sweat, I found myself as content as I’d ever been behind the wheel of a press car.
The 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE TD4 180 and HSE TD4 150 both feature Land Rover Jaguar’s new Ingenium engine, available in two variants, producing 132kW and 110kW respectively. The engines boast an all-aluminum construction, making them 24kg lighter than the 2.2-litre powerplants in the current diesel models, improving 0-100 times and fuel efficiency.
From the moment you take off, it’s obvious just how capable the new Ingenium engine is, especially in its 180 form. Around town, it provides ample torque for a squirt in traffic, on the highway, it’s nothing short of a dream. And combined with a great 9-speed transmission and commanding driving position, it’s just a fantastic car to drive.
We took the Discovery Sport HSE TD4 180 up to Seal Rocks for the weekend and threw everything we could at it. We dropped the rear seats; we dropped all the seats, we packed surfboards, tripods, drones, spearfishing equipment and a handful of blokes before tackling dirt, gravel, sand and a few hours of highways. It shone continuously, and got us home with a quarter of a tank of diesel.
It’s not just a lovely car to drive; it’s a lovely car to be in. With Meridian sound, delightful leather upholstery, an expansive view of the sky above, and a list of standard features that rival the German manufacturers (including items previously revealed for the 2017 Range Rover Sport models), there’s no denying that the TD4 180 is a compelling offering when you look at its starting price of $64,635.
Which brings me back to my opening paragraph. I found the Discovery Sport HSE TD4 180 so proficient, I can only assume it will eat into sales of more expensive models from Land Rover, and more specifically Range Rover. I consider the Discovery Sport to be a less fussy, more male focused vehicle than the Evoque and a more utalitarian choice than the Range Rover Sport – for a fraction of the price. You might disagree, but that is my opinion.
I must admit that my first impression of the Disco wasn’t as spirited as my final one. I’ve seen some excellent looking examples of the car, in Red, Orange and Grey featuring the brand’s ‘Black Pack’, which adds an element of drama to the Disco’s appearance. I can’t say the same for the Fuji White. For a car with such an exciting value proposition and spirited motor, I found it a little vanilla.
The only other thing that irked me was the Bluetooth, which was a shame because it was fitted with the companies new 10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment system. Every time I reentered the car, it would fail to recognise my phone. It was honestly the most infuriating Bluetooth unit I’ve used all year, and while this might sound pedantic, I wondered if it could be a legitimate reason not to buy the car. However, I have just been in a Jaguar F-Pace with a seamless infotainment system, so perhaps it was a software issue with the particular model I was driving.
If I had my choice, I’d be in the Waitomo Grey or Pheonix Orange, with as much Black Trimming as possible. I’d leave the $2050 7 Seat option 9 (as good as it was), and the $1850 Panoramic roof and I’d have a stern word about the Bluetooth. The result would be my ideal weekend warrior, and a car I’d be happy to live with every day. Practical, accessible, good looking, cheap to run and a pleasure to drive.