2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport Introduction

Launched as an all-new model for 2015, the Discovery Sport is Land Rover’s entry-level vehicle, a highly capable unit-body SUV competing against other premium crossovers like the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

The 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport offers a new Dynamic Design Package with special front and rear bumper designs, integrated rear tailpipes, glossy black 20-inch alloy wheels, and black trim inside and out. The 2017 Discovery Sport offers an optional infotainment system with an upgraded 10.2-inch screen.

While the competition seats five, the Discovery Sport seats five or seven, the latter with an optional third row. However, it’s an exceptionally tight third row, so we’re inclined to consider it a five-seater. Land Rover does not call it a seven-seater, either, rather a 5+2.

Discovery Sport takes some underpinnings from the Range Rover Evoque, stretched and pulled to be longer and wider. Its hood, roof and liftgate are aluminum, and about 20 percent of the chassis is high-strength steel, taking about 150 pounds out of the LR2, despite being four inches longer.

We found the Discovery Sport handles with verve and tackles off-road challenges with ease. The engine is smooth and strong.

Discovery Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder with direct injection, making 240 horsepower, mated well to a responsive paddle-shifting 9-speed automatic. Discovery Sport can accelerate from zero to sixty in 7.8 seconds and can hit 124 miles per hour.

Haldex all-wheel drive is standard. The system moves power between the front and rear wheels, up to 100 percent at each end, and then between the left and right wheels, depending on where the traction is needed. Its Terrain Response system has normal, grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, and sand modes, along with a new dynamic mode.

Discovery Sport is rated to tow up to 5500 pounds, with standard Tow Hitch Assist, Tow Assist, and Trailer Stability Assist.

Available safety equipment includes lane-departure warning, parking assist with perpendicular parking, trailer-sway control, and automatic headlamps. In the top two models, the optional automatic emergency system uses cameras to detect objects and will brake to reduce the impact or stop before impact if there’s time, from a speed no more than 32 mph.

EPA fuel mileage is 20 miles per gallon City, 25 Highway, and 22 Combined. It requires Premium gasoline. Discovery Sport hasn’t been crash tested by the NHTSA or IIHS.

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