The Discovery Sport is Land Rover’s biggest-selling model, and instrumental in Jaguar Land Rover’s plans to reverse its fortunes. JLR sales dipped by 6.9 percent year-on-year in 2018, and the company also confirmed 4,500 job layoffs earlier in February.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is one of three models that Land Rover is banking on for a turnaround in its fortunes. The second-generation Range Rover Evoque goes on sale in April this year, and the new Defender due in 2020 is the last of Land Rover’s trio of cash cows.
Although the current Discovery Sport is a capable car, the fact remains that it is a five-year-old design.
The Discovery Sport replaced the Freelander 2 in 2014, and has soldiered on till now with only minor updates. This resulted in its competitors pulling away ahead, with the Volvo XC60 outselling by two to one. This year, the Discovery Sport will go under the scalpel and return with substantial updates to its styling, architecture, and technology.
Land Rover will see the Discovery Sport through the year 2023 with its new updates, when an all-new replacement will be launched. The current model sits on Land Rover’s D8 platform, and will shift to the Premium Transverse Architecture underpinnings, shared with the Evoque. This mixed-material platform allows the Discovery to unlock more space inside and also allow for electrification.
Inside, the Discovery Sport will emulate the Range Rover Evoque with an overhauled interior. This SUV remains the only to yet receive a refresh that brings it in line with other modern Land Rovers. The company’s ethical textiles will be offered as a premium alternative to leather, and plastics used throughout the cabin will be higher in quality than before.
Land Rover is also equipping the new Discovery Sport with its latest Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with two screens in the centre console. Other tech includes multiple USB slots, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and over-the-air updates to satellite navigation and in-car apps.
Land Rover will only tweak the little Discovery's exterior slightly, introducing major updates on the inside.
The Discovery Sport will also feature a 48V mild-hybrid system like the Evoque. Powering this SUV will be JLR’s in-house designed Ingenium engines with improved efficiency. There are no plans for an electric Discovery Sport, but a PHEV is expected next year with an all-electric range of close to 80km.
Land Rover will also outfit the updated Discovery Sport with Clearsight Ground View that helps you see what ahead and underneath the car through various cameras. This effectively makes the bonnet transparent, making it a boon in off-roading and kerbside parking. With competition heating up in the midsize SUV segment, Land Rover is making its move at the right time to give the Discovery Sport a much-needed shot in the arm until its next-gen replacement arrives.