The Discovery Sport’s 2019 facelift is perhaps most noticeable inside. The dashboard now has glossy black touch-sensitive panels rather than physical buttons, and even the steering wheel controls get the same treatment.
This immediately gives the cabin a more high-end feel, and with various modes that select different functions for the two rotary controllers, it’s a system that looks fab and works really well. The touchscreen infotainment
system has lots of functionality, too, although it might take you a while to get used to the way the system is laid out. There’s lots of adjustment for the driving position, although your rear view could be clearer due to a small back window and chunky rear pillars.
In practicality terms, the Discovery Sport has a big advantage over rivals like the Audi Q5
and BMW X3
with which it competes on both size and price, because most versions have seven seats
rather than five.
True enough, the extra pair of chairs are pretty snug on space, and are only really suitable for children
over any great distance. What’s more, that sliding middle-row seat might need to be set all the way forward to give those in the third row more room, which in turn reduces leg room in the middle row. But set up this way, a six-foot adult can fit in the rearmost seats in emergencies, provided they’re prepared for their hairdo to brush the ceiling and for their knees to press against the seat in front.
However, most buyers will normally use the car in five-seat mode, and in that format, it’s as practical as any SUV of this sort of size. There’s generous cabin space for five lofty adults, and a big, well-shaped boot. If you do decide to fold down both rows of seats, of course, just remember that you'll need to slide the middle row back to ensure there's no gap.
Being a Land Rover
, the Discovery Sport has permanent four-wheel drive (except on the very cheapest versions) and a range of off-roading
gadgetry that’ll get it further into the countryside than pretty much any of its rivals. We’ve driven the car on reasonably demanding off-road terrain, and in arctic conditions, and it coped with everything thrown at it with barely a hint of objection.
The car also behaves pretty well under less extreme conditions, too. The ride stays smooth and comfortable for the vast majority of the time, and it’s only on particularly bad surfaces where things can start to feel a little bit scruffy. The car also changes direction with reasonable crispness, thanks to strong grip and decent control over body lean, and that gives it an assured feel in the corners. So does the weighty steering, although it remains rather heavy at low speeds, which might not help you out so much with low-speed parking manoeuvres.
Where things have improved most over time is in how quiet the car is. The 2019 facelift introduced some extra sound-deadening measures, which make a marked improvement on isolation of wind- and road noise.