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Review of the Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV

Review of the Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV

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Plug-in hybrid or standard hybrid, electric assistance is becoming a core part of new cars - and that’s certainly the case with Land Rover.

But does it fit the car’s overall character? We’ve been finding out. 


What is it?

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Most manufacturers are in the process of electrifying the majority of their models. Be this electric, plug-in hybrid or standard hybrid, electric assistance is becoming a core part of new cars - and that’s certainly the case with Land Rover. 

Take the Discovery Sport we’re looking at today. It’s one of Land Rover’s core models and, much like other cars in the firm’s range, now benefits from a plug-in hybrid powertrain. But does it fit the car’s overall character? We’ve been finding out. 


What’s new?

The Discovery Sport first hit the scene back in 2014 and was immediately snapped up by buyers who loved its combination of practicality and premium features. This latest car appears from many angles to be relatively unchanged, but there are some serious changes underneath. 

It sits on a new platform, for one, which has helped accommodate these new hybrid engines. However, this move does come at a small penalty, as this PHEV version can’t be fitted with the regular Sport’s third row of seats. 


What’s under the bonnet?

As we’ve come to see in other plug-in hybrids, the Discovery Sport uses the combination of a relatively compact petrol engine linked with an electric motor and batteries. In this case, there’s a 197bhp three-cylinder 1.5-litre used for the front wheels, while a 107bhp electric motor deals with the rear wheels. 

These two motors work independently, too, and you get up to 34 miles of electric-only power. It can be rapid charged as well, meaning that an 80 per cent charge can be conducted in as little as 30 minutes. 


What’s it like to drive?

Land Rover Discovery Sport InteriorYou might be a little surprised to hear that this compact motor suits the large Discovery Sport rather well. It’s relatively quiet during daily driving, while the sound it emits under heavy acceleration isn’t too bad either. 

There’s extra push from the electric motor too of course, which is powerful enough to send the Discovery Sport up to speeds of 84mph without any intervention from the petrol engine. The switch between the two is seamless as well. 


How does it look?

Land Rover has taken a more evolutionary approach to the Discovery Sport’s styling, which is why it still closely resembles its predecessor. The headlights have been sharpened, mind you, while the grille has been lightly revised. 

Opt for R-Dynamic trim like our test car and you’ll gain a sporty looking bodykit, while plenty of alloy wheel choices ensure you’ve got a lot of scope for personalisation. 


What’s it like inside?

There’s a distinctly premium air to the Discovery Sport’s cabin. You get leather-trimmed seats and a matching steering wheel, though you can have either of these finished in a suede-effect cloth instead should you rather. Everything is tied together with a sturdy, built-to-last finish, while plenty of hard-wearing materials ensure that the Discovery Sport feels like it’ll stand the test of time. 

There’s also plenty of space inside. Those sitting in the rear of the car get a sizeable amount of legroom, while the boot is very generous in its proportions. 


What’s the spec like?

Land Rover Discovery Sport Interior

The Discovery Sport PHEV benefits from all of the bells and whistles you might expect to find in one of Jaguar Land Rover’s latest cars, including a new 10-inch Pivi Pro infotainment system that works well and has clear, easy to read graphics. 

Quite a lot of standard equipment means that the Discovery Sport brings added value for money, with highlights including a 3D-effect surround camera, heated front seats and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 


Verdict

The switch to plug-in hybrid has worked very well for the Discovery Sport. It’s nice to drive, has more than enough punch for most occasions and retains a lot of the regular car’s spaciousness - though that lack of a third row may put some people off. 

It’s easily one of the more convincing PHEVs on the market today and seems like a worthy alternative to conventional petrol and diesel-powered models.

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