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Land Rover reveals Discovery Sport

All-rounder: Land Rover says the Discovery Sport not only offers good handling and ride on the road, but is just as capable off it.

Discovery Sport shows the way for a new-look Land Rover line-up


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3 Sep 2014

LAND Rover has revealed the future design direction for the Discovery model range with the unveiling of its Discovery Sport which brings 5+2 seating, new in-car tech, a pedestrian airbag, lightweight high-strength construction and three engine variants.

The Discovery Sport was previewed by the Discovery Vision concept from this year's New York motor show and will go on sale in Australia in 2015 as the new entry point to the brand's SUV line-up.

Despite its compact SUV dimensions, Land Rover Australia public affairs executive James Scrimshaw told GoAuto that the Discovery Sport was not a replacement for the soon-to-be-discontinued Freelander.

“The Discovery Sport is not a direct replacement for Freelander,” Mr Scrimshaw said. “The Freelander will run until the end of it’s life cycle sometime in 2015 and this car will take the Freelander's place as the brand's new compact SUV. The car was designed from the outset to be different to Freelander.” With a look that’s more Range Rover Evoque than Land Rover Discovery, the Indian-owned British car-maker said the new compact SUV was an indication of the model line-up’s new design path.

“The Discovery Sport’s progressive design sets the tone for a new generation of Land Rover Discovery premium SUVs,” Land Rover said in its press statement.

Featuring a clamshell bonnet, two-bar grille with hexagonal mesh, wrap around headlights with circular LED running lights, contrasting roof and A-pillar, combined with muscular lines, robust bumpers and wheel arches, the Discovery Sport has a rugged yet prestigious look.

The lightweight bodyshell was engineered using a mix of steels and aluminium.

Much of the front architecture is shared with the Evoque, but the platform from the B-pillar back is completely new with a focus on packaging components as compactly as possible to leave more room for the occupants.

At 4590mm from bumper to bumper and with a wheelbase of 2741mm, the new SUV is 239mm shorter and has 144mm less room between the axles than the seven-seat Discovery.

Land Rover has managed to fit a third row in and while it’s not is not being sold as a true seven-seater, the two extra seats will suit children and fold away into the cargo area.

Land Rover design director and chief creative officer Gerry McGovern said while the body and interior of the Discovery Sport needed to be aesthetically pleasing, cabin versatility was also a fundamental aim.

“In my view this vehicle looks sensational both inside and out,” Mr McGovern said.

“It’s been designed for hectic modern lifestyles with generous luggage capacity, innovative stowage solutions and configurable 5+2 seating, which have all been given equal status to create a vehicle where form and function work in perfect harmony.”

The cabin gets head-up display, Land Rover’s new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, six USB ports (two for each row), four 12V power points, dual-zone climate control and a 5.0-inch TFT colour display instrument cluster between the dials.

The Discovery Sport will come in three trim levels – SE, HSE and range-topping HSE Luxury, offering, among other refinements, more leather combination options for door and console trims.

Customers will have a choice of three engine variants comprising two diesels and a petrol powerplant, starting with a 110kW/400Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel in the TD4.

The SD4 gets a higher output 140kW/420Nm version of the same diesel engine, while the petrol variant is the Si4 with its 177kW/340Nm 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder unit.

The diesels get a choice of a six-speed manual or nine-speed ZF automatic transmission and the Si4 is auto only.

Land Rover said the Discovery Sport has high level of off-road proficiency while being a solid performer on the tarmac. Engineers rigorously tested the vehicle in range of harsh conditions, from the sand dunes of Dubai to deep snow and ice in Sweden to develop its off-road capability.

The car was also taken to the Nurburgring for handling and ride testing. The new multi-link rear axle is a key element in ensuring the SUV handles well but is composed off-road.

Advanced safety equipment includes autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian airbag – a first for the compact-SUV class.

Local pricing for the 2015 Discovery Sport is yet to be announced. On update to the existing Discovery line-up is expected towards the end of the year.

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