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Land Rover Discovery Sport SE Si4 240 4WD Automatic review
14 December 2017
Author: Debbie Wood
Petrol has been added to the Discovery Sport line-up and we test the car for the first time.
240 & 290hp 2.0
150, 180 & 240hp 2.0
SE, SE Tech, HSE, HSE Black, HSE Luxury, HSE Dynamic Luxury
six-speed manual, nine-speed automatic
If you needed further proof that diesel's days are numbered, a petrol addition to the Land Rover Discover Sport range is pretty much all the confirmation you need.
Despite all the advancements the firm has made with its diesel technology, Land Rover has had to expand its range to keep up with the change in customer demand. This new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol, borrowed from Jaguar, has joined the line-up and we travelled to the Lake District to put the new engine through its paces.
Does petrol power work?
The Discovery Sport is actually Land Rover's fastest-selling vehicle, with more than 200,000 units sold globally since its introduction in 2014. Its premium appeal, coupled with seven-seat practicality, has proved a winning combination and now, with the introduction of a petrol engine, the Discovery Sport should have some kind of a buffer from the backlash against diesel.
Offering up 240hp and 340Nm of torque, the Si4 engine is smooth and fairly refined on the move, much quieter than its diesel counterpart, and performance figures are pretty keen with a 0-62mph time of less than eight seconds.
Expertly matched to the engine is a nine-speed automatic gearbox and although the Discovery Sport is not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to handling (as you would expect), off-road performance is very impressive indeed. It'll tackle most terrains and make it look easy thanks to the standard four-wheel drive system, while the different driving modes enable you to adjust the settings to suit different surfaces like sand and snow.
There's a little body roll at times and the steering is pretty vague; however, the ride quality proved to be very good on the motorway and despite its rather large dimensions the car is easy to manoeuvre around city streets too.
Running costs is where the argument starts to unravel, though. With a combined fuel economy of 35.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 182g/km, the Discovery Sport is far from the most frugal choice in the line-up. The 150hp 2.0-litre diesel emits 123g/km, meaning that even with the extra percentage penalty for diesels introduced in April, it's going to be cheaper than the petrol here in terms of BIK tax.
Generous equipment levels
The Discovery Sport comes well equipped as standard with SE models boasting 18in alloy wheels, sat-nav, heated seats, ambient interior lighting, two-zone climate control, cruise control and keyless entry. Safety features like lane departure warning, parking sensors and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) are also thrown in.
The interior is starting to look its age a little, with a few dated features, while the infotainment system is clunky to use at times with a screen that doesn't feel as intuitive or as modern as other cars in the Land Rover stable. That said, quality is very good throughout and there's plenty of space on offer too.
Like most seven-seaters, the third row should be reserved for children but there's ample room for adults in the second row, and the seats also slide and tilt for extra room. Boot space is a very impressive 829 litres, which grows to 981 litres with the second row seats slid fully forward.
A petrol addition to the Discovery Sport range sounds like the right approach on paper, and as the firm has been backed into a corner, it needed to react. However, this engine doesn't quite cut the mustard when it comes to running costs and it'll cost drivers dearly in both fuel and tax costs. Undoubtedly a plug-in hybrid will join the Discovery Sport range soon and we think it's worth waiting for that option instead.
Land Rover Discovery Sport SE Si4 240 4WD Automatic