Our family has long had a soft spot for Land Rovers. So much so that my son’s driveway has space for two of them: a well-liked Freelander and a classic Defender. So it’s fun to point the long-termer Discovery Sport down the A303 past Stonehenge for a weekend visit and spend time with my toddler grandson and his parents. My vibrant red and black member of the Our Cars fleet adds a splash of colour to the resident white and green 4x4s.
There’s so much I approve of about the Discovery Sport. Its long-leggedness on a three hour trek across the country makes light work of the trip. Its elevation gives a grandstand view over hedges and – more importantly – over the tops of other traffic. It’s so vital to keep a viewpoint a long way ahead as you drive, to anticipate looming problems before you reach them, and the tall Landie enables that. For such a lofty and chunky vehicle, it drives in a way that feels nimble and grounded. The automatic gearbox sometimes feels a touch leisurely about changes through the ratios, and occasionally stays in a higher gear than I’d choose for a downhill stretch amongst other vehicles. But that’s easily managed, because it does have the advantage of paddle shifts on the steering wheel to enable manual control. They’re not the puny little paddles you find on some cars, either. I like that they’re well positioned, generously sized and have a slick action that makes them good to use.
Cars can often please or irritate on the tiniest of points. One personal bête noire is having to manually put a space into a postcode when setting the navigation system in so many cars. So a tiny but very gratifying detail about the Discovery Sport’s system is that the car inserts the postcode centre space for you. That doubtless has something to do with it being a British-made car, and is therefore better programmed to deal with the nuances of British postcodes. On reflection, all the cars that don’t have this handy detail are made or designed outside of the UK.
The dog came too on our trip to Somerset. Leggy Pointer that he is, he leapt nimbly into the boot where I had installed his basket for canine comfort on the journey. We had already unlatched the luggage bay roller-cover and temporarily removed it. In the past we have had occasional problems in some vehicles, but the Discovery Sport is clearly to his liking though. He’s a big dog – ‘donkey dog’ according to some friends – but has plenty of space in the Landie’s large boot, and its calm motion seems to suit him better than that of some other cars. That, and the ability to see out and eyeball other road-users, makes for troublefree doggy driving.
Date arrived 12th April 2019
Fuel economy 32.1-34.9mpg (combined) 31.9mpg (on test)
Not having to put a space into a postcode being entered for the destination on the navigation system. It’s a tiny pleaser, but a strangely satisfying one.
Recent hot weather makes the full-length panoramic sunroof too bright, necessitating driving with the electric blind covering it.