Land Rover Discovery Sport 2015 Drive Report.
I had been invited by Mr. Sanjeev of AMP motors, New Delhi to drive the new Discovery Sport 2015 that has been recently launched in India having an Ex-Showroom Delhi price of Rs. 46.10 Lacs. The test drive route was quite good filled with moderate traffic and I got a chance to check the ride and suspension quality of the car apart from other virtues of this luxury SUV today.
First and Foremost, I wish to share my drive experience with this new SUV of JLR. It is to be noted that the new Discovery sport comes with 9 Speed Auto box and 2.2 L Engine with 2 different Power and Torque figures which are 110 kw and 140 kw while the Torque being 400 nm and 420 nm respectively. When I cranked the engine, I was pleasantly surprised with the superb and feather light accelerator coupled to modulated NVH and while driving, the outside noise transmission to cabin was bare minimum.
This SUV is quite smooth in acceleration and pick-up and speed increases without any tantrums or in simple words if I say, “Performance wise, it is a good City and Highway vehicle with sufficient performance”. Having driven it at Mathura-Road and Apollo Road, I can vouch for the fact that its easy and comfortable to drive in traffic. While ascending flyovers, the performance, if I put in scientific words, “it was linear”. Coming to another neat and well executed aspect of this SUV, i.e Steering Wheel, It was integrated with mounted controls and Cruise Control though I never get to use it. Apart from this there was no harshness or stiffness in the steering and can easily turn this beautiful giant with ease in Delhi traffic. Now, as I am writing, I am glad to inform that it was 1st time I drove a 9-Speed Transmission car.
Having owned/driven 5-6 speed MT Boxes all my life, this was a 1st but then somehow, the excitement was slightly low because at times while the gear up-shift was there, the transition was not upto the mark. I mean, you can feel it once you drive. Moreover, providing a 9 speed AT Box in India is a humble gesture but where shall we use it? Also, before I forget, Suspension in SUV is an important aspect so in new Discovery sport as I felt that at smooth roads, the car is well balanced and suspension is butter smooth but once I applied brakes and took it over bumps and potholes, that is where I felt a slight lagging behind in it. At low speeds, the suspension and ride was a bit on the down–side.
Talking of the new Discovery Sport, as a product it is a thoughtful, well planned and a worthy upgrade to the Free Lander. Earlier when for the 1st time I saw this SUV prior to its launch at the showroom, I was informed that its 5 seater and there is a provision in 3rd row for 2 people which makes in all 7 pax and it can be seen as 7 seater. But even though it’s having a bigger size and longer wheelbase than the Free Lander, yet the 3rd row seemed sufficient for the children due to visible space constrains in cabin. Of-late what I have noticed is the fact that in-order of providing the 7 seater brands fail to address the fact of giving good 3 legroom with 2nd row seats upright. Discovery sport in this regards is no different. I believe, other than the MPV segment in India, it is very difficult to say that any compact SUV or a Full Grown SUV is a perfect 7 Seater SUV. Yet I would say, among its competitors like Q5, ML Class etc, the proportionate shape and adding of 2 “Child Seats” makes it a worthy contender for the buyers. If I talk of the seating comfort in the new SUV, then for tall drivers like me it provides good height and even the rear seats have good leg-room. The third row seats are on mercy of the 2nd row seats in terms of legroom because the 2nd row seats have the sliding feature to provide adequate space for 3rd row and as I drove the HSE Variant, so the rear 2nd row seats had the reclining feature as well in it. So all in all for seating I’ll say, the space execution could have been better.
It is often found that when these international brands offer 7 seater in luxury segments then they often compromise on the spare wheel size. To my surprise, Discovery Sport in 7 seat configuration has apparently not compromised on spare wheel size too and full size spare wheel is standard across all variants. Thus, In my opinion, rolling out a car to compete the segment is good and Tata-JLR have given equal amount of attention to designing of the product accordingly in this respect.
In-Cabin Feel of new Discovery Sport.
Having driven earlier the Free Lander and XF, I find JLR is continuing to promote their age old designs and not trying to upgrade the cabin to look more contemporary. Though personally, having the experience of their car’s cabins earlier as well the new Discovery Sport too has well laid out cabin but I could not feel the newness in the cabin. As I was sitting in this SUV, this time, I got to check out the new 8in touch-screen panel that is provided and in my view it is quite easy to use interface. Apart from the touch-screen, have seen and observed quite closely during launch and prior to it that new Discovery Sport boasts of useful provisions like charging points and USB slots for the comfort and convenience of all the passengers.
Finally, In terms of looks my opinion remains subjective and I say that the rear profile of this SUV could have been better designed. Since its under TATA now, JLR SUVs will have a hangover or overlap from the our Indian brand. Considering all aspects, I can say that it can be short-listed as a viable option.
Salient Features of New Discovery Sport HSE TD4
* 11 Speaker Audio System
* Xenon and LED Headlamps
* Panoramic Sun-roof
* L/W/H/WB = 4600/2173/1724/2741 (mm)
* Driver and Curtain Airbags
* Cruise Control
* Rear View Camera
* 60:40 Split, Slide and Recline in 2nd row.
* Dual Zone Climate Control
* Tyre Pressure Monitor System
, Terrain Response, Hill Descent control, DSC, Traction Control.
Below are some pics of the White Giant that I drove today.