When talking about SUVs these days, you might get the impression that these have nothing left in common with their all-terrain ancestors. 4-wheel drive is often only optional, ground clearance is limited… most of these are real softies. Fortunately, Land Rover feels obliged to its offroad-heritage and prides itself with a “best-in-class” cross-country mobility.
To find out, we participated in one of the highly-recommendable Land Rover Experience Days, and – long story short – the Discovery Sport with its all terrain progress control and wade sensing technologies truly feels like no hill’s too steep and no river’s too deep. So we can definitely check that box. Our question was: is it any good on long autobahn stretches and road trips. In order to find out, we took the car in its HSE Luxury version on an extensive trip through Scandinavia via Danmark, Sweden and Norway… more than 3,000 km of German autobahn, Danish city traffic and Swedish gravel roads.
From a design perspective, the larger “Disco” that shares the optional seven seats with its larger sibling, the Range Rover, has little in common with its predecessor, the boxy Freelander. The exterior is sleek and restrained and perfectly fits the Scandinavian woods and cities while the space inside is surprisingly big, especially thanks to the moveable rear bench.
Your washing machine should fit easily…The cockpit instruments that are derived from Jaguar’s XE/XF-models feel pretty cleaned up thanks to the extensive (and sometimes hidden) range of functions that could be accessed via the 10.2-inch InControl touchpad. A luxurios leather-cladden interior finish feels quite high-quality and makes the car a comfy and roomy companion for longer distances. So does ZF’s nine-speed automatic gearbox powering the 180hp diesel engine which felt buttery-smooth, powerful and efficient (we ended up at a consumption of 7.3 litres/100 km which felt pretty fair for a full car of that size). Other quite useful features were the active lane assistant and the intelligent speed-regulation that works in combination with the traffic sign-recognition. One of the things you did not know you needed before having and actually appreciating it.
To longer we drove the car, the more we began to appreciate it and its countless features: lots of USB-ports to charge your gear after an unplanned night in the tent, to large glass-roof for star-watching in cloudless Swedish nights and – thanks to its many camera’s and assistants – a car that is easy to park even in Gothenburg’s narrow one-way streets. In Scandinavia, our brave “Disco” fought bravely against Volvo’s superiority, but it is well-equipped and ready to do the for the German Pampers-bombers that get in its way… no matter if tarmac or gravel!
Report by Sebastian Schmitz for collectorscarworld
Photos by Sebastian Schmitz