After five years of launching, the Discovery Sport remains Land Rover’s best-selling car. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that its mid-life refresh has seen the exterior remain largely the same, with some fancier LED lights and retrimmed bumpers about the sum of its aesthetic evolution.
Land Rover continues to flesh out its individual sub-brands: Range Rover is sophistication and refinement; the newly-debuted, next-generation Defender for ruggedness and durability; and Discovery and its Sport sibling are about family and versatility, says Land Rover chief designer Gerry McGovern. And it’s that versatility that’s abundantly clear on our drive from Barcelona, up through the surrounding mountains and countryside.
The two options for now, then, are the 2020 Discovery Sport S, and the sportier-Sport, R-Dynamic version. Both use the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine with a 9-speed automatic as their starting point, with Land Rover’s second-generation All-Wheel Drive system.
Land Rover takes performance on and off the road seriously. So, it’s worth noting some more tidbits about the suspension and architecture. Active Drive Dynamics, for example, continuously monitor surface and terrain conditions and adjust the SUV’s settings for optimum performance. Torque, meanwhile, is intelligently distributed between the front axle and each of the rear wheels. The new Discovery Sport can also switch between AWD and 2WD mode in under 400 milliseconds, for greater efficiency. This, combined with a MacPherson front suspension, makes for a comfortable driving experience.
The interior has been completely refreshed, including a big reduction in hard plastic surfaces. The dashboard is all new, and quite attractive.All buttons and dials except for two of each on the centre stack have been eliminated and replaced by touchscreens. When the ignition is off, the dashboard is just an array of glossy black surfaces. Push the start button and the black surfaces come to life with images and icons that serve to control the various functions.
The new 2020 Discovery Sport is not short on tech. The 360-degree surround camera system more than proved its worth throughout the rough and tumble Spanish outback section, while ClearSight GroundView system takes full advantage of the 12.3-inch high-definition full color screen for an omnipotent look of the path ahead.
A gear lever replaces the rotary shifter for the nine-speed automatic, and it’s there to play up the Disco Sport’s sporty vibe. There’s still plenty of storage places for your phone, wallet or purse, and keys, too. There are now six USB ports, meaning everyone can charge their devices. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are also available. The near-field communication (NFC) wireless charging is pleasingly functional, and mercifully doesn’t cook your phone like some others tested.
The two Dynamic Sport models and R-Dynamic SE come standard with a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four that claims 246 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. New for 2020 is a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain that’s optional in the R-Dynamic SE and standard in the HSE. It still uses the 2.0-litre turbocharged four, but a belt-driven electric motor bumps peak output to 286 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The only transmission is a ZF nine-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive is standard.
Describing the 2020 Discovery Sport in one word, it is versatile. And that is its most redeeming quality. It’s competitively priced among its European rivals, and it offers a slightly more exclusive ownership experience.
Prices range from $47,400 for the Discovery Sport S, to $58,700 for the R-Dynamic HSE.