Executives at Jaguar Land Rover are expecting the Discovery Sport to bring in more customers to the Land Rover brand, banking on the compact SUV’s more mainstream design, optional seven-seat configuration and improved technology. Joe Eberhardt, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover North America, said that they expect conquest sales to account for up to 70 percent of Discovery Sport buyers.
JLR will start selling the Discovery Sport late this spring, replacing the LR2. Eberhardt remarked that while Discovery Sport is a replacement for the LR2, the new SUV is different in “every conceivable way” -- all-new design, latest Land Rover drivetrain, all-terrain response and nine-speed transmission, as wellas the use of high-strength steel and aluminum.
He said the Discovery Sport will sell considerably better than the LR2. While sales of the LR2 surged 9 percent in 2014, the volume only reached 3,619 units. The Discovery Sport will be pitted against the likes of Audi Q5, which posted sales of 42,420 units last year. According to Land Rover executives, the Discovery Sport could be ordered-specified with seven seats while the Q5 only seats five.
The seats in the Discovery Sport feature a stadium arrangement, with the second row around 2 inches higher than the first row, and the third row 0.8 inches higher than the second.
The Land Rover SUV boasts of a lightweight body shell made high-strength steel and aluminum and is powered by a 240-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter engine linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It is rated 21 mpg city/28 highway fuel economy.
New technologies available in the Discovery Sport include a new generation autonomous emergency braking and a new touch-screen infotainment system. The Discovery Sport carries a starting price of $37,995, including shipping.