Wednesday 26 October 2016

new land rover discovery sport is a giant slayer, but watch the very long luxuries list

We've all heard the phrase "never hide your light under a bushel".

All except Land Rover, it seems, as they completely missed the chance to showcase their reasonably priced giant slayer in the mega-lucrative SUV market.

We had been tingling with anticipation, especially having been treated to a brief glimpse of its legendary off-road capabilities at the Irish launch in Carton House in early February.

We gushed at the time that the seven-seat is destined to wreak absolute havoc, especially if it's within touching distance of the €37,100 starting price.

So to say we were gutted to Discover (no pun intended) a five-seater awaiting our test drive is a bit of an understatement.

On the up-side, we were treated to the footballers' wives edition with every conceivable extra that money can buy.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing one in the flesh will agree it looks absolutely stunning, even without the bling. The timely replacement for the ageing Freelander 2 looks more like the flagship Range Rover Sport that the more humble Disco.

The designers have hit gold with a heady mix of rugged yet stylish good looks while also offering it as a bona fide, all-singing, all-dancing off-roader with impeccable 4x4 credentials.

Inside, it's an eclectic mix of luxury and practicality, with high grade soft-touch materials and wall-to-wall leather.

The big and airy cabin is similar to the Evoque, with the same dials and switchgear giving it a real premium feel.

In Ireland there are four trim levels - S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury - and standard kit is pretty generous, with 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth, air con, eight-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, multi-function steering wheel and push-button start.

The colour display is the only real gripe, coming as it did with less-than-impressive graphics, and the sat nav looked a little dated.

Under the hood is the same 2.2-litre diesel engine currently powering the Freelander that comes in either 150bhp or 190bhp.

Ours was the more powerful AWD twinned to a sublime nine-speed auto box.

Although boasting fuel efficiency of 50mpg, the emissions are high enough on the autos, meaning annual road tax of €570 - a whole band higher than the manuals.

Drive-wise, the new baby Disco is not the most refined of the premium SUVs and certainly won't cause sleepless nights for the likes of the Audi Q3 or the BMW X3.

The one big advantage it has over the Germans is the availability of the extra two seats and its legendary off-road reputation, which is why we were so eager to try it out.

It wasn't to be, so we were left to swan around town in the HSE Luxury bus with an eye-watering price tag of €66,300. For six grand more you'd be in the new Q7 which has seven seats.

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