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.
The new Land Rover Discovery Sport offers a suitable combination of aesthetic appeal, use of space, and versatility. In addition, the new Discovery Sport offers Land Rover’s renowned all-terrain capability, as well as the capability to climb even a 45-degree incline.
With an overall length of 180.7 inches (4.59 mm), the Discovery Sport is small enough to fit into parking spaces typically reserved for compacts. Nonetheless, the new Discovery Sport offers generous middle-row legroom – as well as a smooth ride – thanks to its wheelbase of 107.9 inches (2,741 mm). Since it boasts of wheels-on-the-corner proportions, the Discovery Sport has a low center of gravity as well as a more "planted" stance.
Discovery Sport is easily identifiable as a Land Rover, thanks to its overall shape, clamshell bonnet and its distinctive two-bar grille with hexagonal mesh. Its sportiness is expressed through its large outboard air intakes and LED fog lamps in the front bumper. It also employs slim, wraparound headlamps. Its round daytime-running lights (DRLs) are punctuated at four equal intervals, representing the points of a compass.
As standard, the new Discovery Sport is fitted with halogen headlamps and DRLs. However, the headlamps could be availed as Xenon headlamps and the DRLs as LED units on higher trims. Its rear lamp design mirrors that of the headlamps.
When viewed from the sides, the new Discovery Sport reveals a dramatic profile as defined by a pronounced step from the rear edge of the bonnet into the rising beltline, as well as by a roofline tapering subtly downward rearwards. Its C-pillar rakes toward the gloss-black window surrounds.