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Final report: Land Rover Discovery Sport long-term test

Date: 01 November 2016   |   Author:

Options: Entertainment pack (£1900), electrically deployable towbar (£1345), park assist (£935), climate front/heated rear seats (£830), power memory front seats (£650), Firenze Red metallic paint (£625), InControl pack (£415) adaptive xenon headlamps (£390), illuminated treadplates (£390), traffic signal recognition (£260), heated steering wheel (£195)

Final report - A life of Discovery

 

British sister brands Jaguar and Land Rover have been making some pretty serious moves into fleet recently, with a range of products better suited to the corporate sector and with very competitive running costs.

 

UK boss Jeremy Hicks has pinpointed the Discovery Sport as the key model for Land Rover - as important to the off-road specialist as the upper medium saloon XE is to Jaguar in establishing company car credibility.

 

We've been running the most efficient model: the only Discovery Sport to get under 130g/km since Land Rover canned the idea of a front-wheel drive Disco Sport that would have been at 119g/km.

Screen Shot 2016-11-01 At 14.47.08

 

There are compromises to the 129g/km model: it's the only car in the range that doesn't get a third row of seats, and you have to have the 150hp diesel engine, which isn't the compromise it sounds because the new 2.0d is good regardless of its output.

That's not to say an extra 30hp wouldn't have been appreciated for the extra flexibility, as the 150hp version does, occasionally, require dropping an extra cog to pick up speed. The six-speed manual offers a pleasing shift, which isn't always the case with JLR manual transmissions, and that's good news as the 150hp engine doesn't offer an auto option because it's entire reason for existence is as the low-emission entry model.

 

Fuel economy was frustratingly far from the official 57.7mpg test figure. There's never the expectation of matching what is achieved in laboratory conditions, but an average of 36.4mpg over thousands of miles meant frequent fuel stops, and we didn't once manage 400 miles out of a tank.

Detail 2

 

The only other major gripe is that the infotainment system is too slow to react, or it's too easy to hit the wrong spot on the touchscreen. Already, newer JLR models are better, but it's still been a frustration. The keyless system is a similar issue, but seemed to get better with time. Either that or I learned the correct angle of approach.

 

However, the Discovery Sport looks great, has a practical, comfortable and classy interior, and economy excepted, covers high mileages very well. It works great as a family vehicle, and the kids loved the space, higher view and light and airy interior provided by the panoramic roof that's standard on HSE spec, the top of the three trim levels that brings very healthy doses of kit.

Detail 3 Opt 1

 

The boot, and the car, has coped fuss-free with the likes of trips to the Glastonbury Festival and a family holiday, as well as carrying my bike to and from cycle events and the general day-to-day carnage of family life.

 

The Discovery Sport has proven to be an asset in terms of professional and personal life - combining comfortable mile-munching from a high driving position with the kind of family practicality that's well appreciated at weekends. It's not going to be easy to replace.

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0d 150 HSE

Mileage 17,922
Official consumption 57.7mpg
Our average consumption 36.4mpg
Forecast/actual CPM 67.3p/70.4p
P11D price £35,740
Model price range £31,040-£47,830
Residual value £16,400
Depreciation cost £19,340
Fuel £5,357
Service, maintenance and repair £2,861
Vehicle Excise Duty £220
National Insurance £3,995
CO2 (BIK band) 129g/km (25%)
BIK 20/40% per month £149/298

 

Ninth report - Making of a style icon

Not too ostentatious, but still making a statement: getting the styling right for the new breed of SUVs that are rocketing in popularity is tricky. These big vehicles need to look bold and striking, without offending, and I think Land Rover has got the Discovery Sport spot on.

It's clearly a Land Rover, with all the badge cachet that entails, but manages to look stylish from every angle, not something I think is easy to say about its recently revealed Discovery big brother with its lopsided rear view.

Disco 200-worder

Another rare delight in the JLR portfolio is the manual gearbox. We warily opted for the six-speed manual when ordering the Disco, because it's the only model that gets under 130g/km, but JLR manual transmissions can be notchy and unpleasant in other applications, including the Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar XF, in stark contrast to the industry-leading (in my opinion) smooth automatics.

But the Discovery Sport I've spent the last half-year in what has been a sweet, slick shift of a gearbox, and I've not once wished for the auto that only comes when you step up by 30hp, 10g/km and £4000 from my 150hp efficiency-orientated model.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0d 150 HSE

Mileage 17,689
P11D price £35,740
Forecast/actual cost per mile 70.3p/73.4p
Our average consumption 36.4mpg
Official combined consumption 57.7mpg

 

Eighth report - low mpg

As much as I love living with the Discovery Sport, it's frustrating that I can't get the fuel economy a little higher. Maybe we're spoilt these days, but a 36.4mpg average for a car that spends much of its time at a steady motorway cruise isn't great.

In fact, doing my best Rachel Riley impression, it's only 63.1% of the official figure, where history and experience tells us that between 70-80% is a fair expectation.

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 At 11.56.14

Consumption is pretty consistent regardless of driver, conditions or journey, with the average from the past eight tanks only fluctuating between 34.1-37.2mpg

Seventh report - JLR's line-up impresses

We happened to have three Jaguar Land Rover products in the office car park recently, and it really goes to show how far the brands have come in terms of fleet appeal.

We needed an XE and Range Rover Evoque for the full effect, but the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Jaguar XF (our new addition to the long-termer fleet) and F-pace illustrate that JLR now has a suite of fleet-relevant models.

Discovery Sport

And they're all up with the best that the German premium brands can offer - the work JLR has done in terms of whole-life costs and, in particular residual values, means its products are a sensible choice from a balance sheet perspective as much as they are an emotionally driven decision.

The Discovery Sport has been upgraded for its 2017 model year, with Driver Condition Monitor
and Lane Keep Assist systems added to the options list for £340; a new £1555 Graphite Pack on SE and SE Tech models; and an upgraded InControl Touch Pro infotainment system including 10.2-inch touchscreen, costing £2280 on HSE trim upwards.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0d 150 HSE

Mileage 15,824
P11D price £35,740
Forecast/actual cost per mile 70.3p/73.4p
Our average consumption 36.2mpg
Official combined consumption 57.7mpg

 

Sixth report - Adding but not feeling too blue

As will quickly become commonplace, we've had to fill the Adblue tank of our long-term Discovery Sport, a process necessitated by manufacturers meeting the latest Euro6 emissions regulations.

In mileage terms the fill-up happened a little while ago - the Discovery Sport's long-distance comfort has meant it's been piling on the yards recently - with the warning light coming on just after we ticked onto 10,000.

Disco Main

My colleague happened to have the car for a few days, and not being that aware of the whole Adblue procedure, he consulted our local Land Rover dealer once the warning light had popped up.

A very hospitable hour later, in which he was offered tea or coffee three times, and £62.20 lighter versus the £70 predicted cost, we were sorted. Worth noting is the £29 labour charge that we'd avoid next time by filling it ourselves via a trip to Halfords. It's a slightly muckier job but otherwise no different to filling the oil or screenwash, although the filler is awkwardly placed at the back of the engine bay near the windscreen.

All topped up, we're good for another 12,500 miles according to the dash display, and ready to keep piling on the miles in refined and comfortable fashion.

 

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0d HSE

Mileage 14,910
P11D price £34,740
Forecast/actual cost per mile 68.5p/71.6p
Our average consumption 36.2mpg
Official combined consumption 57.7mpg
 

 

Fifth report - Glastonbury mud missed

Having experienced a wet Glastonbury before, I wasn't taking any chances with my choice of transport for what always seems to be one of the wettest weekends June can conjure up.

As it happened, I got lucky, and the Discovery Sport ended up parked somewhere that, combined with our exit strategy of getting up stupidly early, meant we had a pretty decent run out down a wet field and out onto harder ground.

Disco Option 1

Given that I'd had no reason to even consider anything other than wellies for the previous five days, we'll never know how well Land Rover's legendary off-road prowess would have coped with the bog that the car parks were rapidly turning into, but I was fairly confident.

Fourth report - Lack of response

The trouble with being a world-famous desirable premium brand is the expectation. It's fair to say the Discovery Sport is an expensive car, which means I kind of want everything to work perfectly.

Discovery Lead Pic Option 1

So it's a shame that the average number of times I have to press the door handle to activate the keyless locking seems to have settled at three, and the touchscreen system is more of a touch, touch screen because frequently I've either just missed the button or it hasn't accepted my prod as a valid command to do what I'm asking.

Discovery Inset Pic

On the positive side, the keyless system works perfectly well when grabbing a handle to unlock one of the doors - and having it work on all four doors is useful when my first port of call is sometimes loading one of the kids - and the onboard infotainment system is logically designed, although it sometimes chooses to not recognize my phone has been plugged in, despite it working perfectly well on the previous trip.

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0d 150 HSE

Mileage 10,999
P11D price £34,740
Forecast/actual cost per mile 70.3p/73.4p
Our average consumption 36.4mpg

Official combined consumption 57.7mpg

 

Third report - London-Brighton

By the time you read this, I will hopefully have completed the London-Brighton bike ride as the first part of my summer cycling double-header (100 miles of RideLondon is still to follow - gulp).

Practising has meant being dropped in random places when I've been out and about this summer so I can get some miles under my belt cycling home again.

Discovery

As a result, I've also been learning which cars work best as bike transporters. While it's not as handy as the Kadjar's rack, the Discovery Sport's boot is at least big enough that, with the front wheel removed, my bike fits in without needing to fold the seats and leave the kids at home

Second report - Take me home

Jaguar Land Rover is making substantial inroads into the fleet market - it's the main reason we're running the Discovery Sport as a long-term test vehicle.

One factor behind the rise in company car volume is the new Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel engine, being built at the new Wolverhampton plant.

Within 12 months the plant will also be building 2.0-litre petrol units in a total investment passing the £1bn mark, but the diesel, also used in the Range Rover Evoque and Jaguars XE, XF and F-pace, has helped JLR get to what is emissions parity with the German premium brands.

Disco _option _1

The run to Wolverhampton was part of a busy couple of days enjoying the great British motorway network, and the Discovery Sport proved comfortable, refined and an all-round nice place to be.

The 150hp diesel is fine, if needing a little work for serious performance, and the manual gearbox shift and clutch combination is better in the Disco than in other JLR products, specifically the Jaguar XF.

It averaged 37.6mpg over 375 miles in the space of 24 hours, with most of that on the M25 or M40 - not the greatest figure, but reasonable for a mid-sized four-wheel drive off-roader.

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0d 150 HSE

Mileage 10,624
P11D price £35,740
Forecast/actual cost per mile 69.8p/72.8p
Our average consumption 36.5mpg
Official combined consumption 57.7mpg

 

First report - Discovery sports a new approach

The Land Rover Discovery Sport has had something of a staggered entry to market. Pitched as a new SUV in the segment (don't mention the Freelander predecessor), the baby Discovery shares the recognisably butch styling and premium branding of its Discovery big brother, but the fleet-friendliness only arrived just over half a year ago when the new 150hp Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel was added to the range.

Detail _1

That cut emissions to 129g/km and dropped the car firmly among its rivals for efficiency and whole-life costs. Before that, the 166g/km from the 190hp 2.2-litre diesel made it a stretch for fleet drivers.

It's worth noting that, although still very much a properly endowed Land Rover with full four-wheel drive capability and the excellent Terrain Response off-road system, the sub-130g/km model is only achieved by fitting the 150hp diesel with a manual gearbox, and by deleting the option of the third row of seats, leaving the big square 689-litre boot unmolested by a pair of small folding seats that come with the rest of the engine line-up.

Detail _3

Our model, coming straight from a tour of Land Rover's launch demonstration fleet, is a little over-specced compared with the average car leaving the factory gates, and arrived with optional equipment worth in excess of £8000, including the incredibly clever dual-view screen that allows the front seat passenger to enjoy the digital television [2] that is part of the same £1990 Entertainment Pack while the driver can see the satnav or audio screen.

If the driver tries to switch their display to the TV, it shows a message saying their screen cannot be viewed while the vehicle is moving. The pack also includes navigation and a 17-speaker audio system, while other kit of note among the lengthy options boxes ticked includes climate heated-and-cooled front seats and heated rears for £830, and the illuminated treadplates that seem a pretty hefty vanity purchase at £390.

But I'm excited about running granitekitchen's first-ever Land Rover long-termer, a fact that in itself is another indicator of the firm's moves to finally have a fleet impact. Land Rover UK boss Jeremy Hicks told me at the Discovery Sport's initial unveiling that the car is as important for Land Rover in fleet as the new XE compact executive saloon is to Jaguar. Given the impact the Jag needs to have, it says a lot about what Land Rover is expecting from the Disco Sport. Over the next half a year we'll delve deeper into how appropriate that confidence really is.

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0d 150 HSE

Mileage 8753
Official consumption 57.7mpg
Our average consumption 39.1mpg
Forecast/actual CPM 69.0p/70.9p
P11D price £35,740
Model price range £31,040-£46,325      
Residual value 42.5%
Depreciation cost £20,564
Fuel £5105
Service, maintenance and repair £2861
Vehicle Excise Duty £220
National Insurance £3750
CO2 (BIK band) 129g/km (25%)
BIK 20/40% per month £149/298


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