Used 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV
Used 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport offers style, comfort and utility combined with an above-average ability to traverse snow-choked roads or muddy trails. If you're looking for a small luxury SUV with an extra degree of go-anywhere gusto, this newest Land Rover is worth a look.
With rare exception, today's small SUVs are designed more for comfort and everyday practicality than for fording rivers and traversing backwoods trails. The all-new 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport, however, is one such exception. Like other Land Rovers, it successfully melds current design with some old-school capability.
The fact that the new Discovery Sport manages to retain some measure of the Land Rover brand's legendary off-road capabilities has more to do with remaining true to the company's history than it does with consumer demand. Still, if there's a favorite fishing spot or weekend cabin waiting for you at the end of a muddy dirt road, the Discovery Sport and its clever Terrain Response system have what it takes to get you there with an enviable degree of panache. It's not a true rock crawler, though, so if that's important to you, stepping up to another Land Rover or moving over to Jeep is probably a good idea.
The Discovery Sport is a replacement for the unlamented LR2 and a complement to the fashion-over-function Evoque, with which it shares many mechanical components. The Discovery Sport rides on a 3.25-inch longer wheelbase, is 10 inches longer overall and has a taller roof line, resulting in an interior that's better suited for people and their cargo. And that's not just in comparison to the Evoque -- the Discovery Sport is one of the most spacious and functional compact luxury SUVs. There's even an optional third-row seat, though it's only suited for small children.
Among this new Land Rover's negatives is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that lines up well with rivals on paper, but ultimately delivers comparatively slow acceleration. Plus, there's no engine upgrade at the moment. As such, better performance can be found in competitors like the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60. Most of these competitors also have a degree of interior design flair that the rather plain Discover Sport's cabin lacks. But if you're looking for a small luxury SUV with an extra degree of go-anywhere gusto, this newest Land Rover is certainly worth a look.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 Land Rover Discover Sport is a compact crossover SUV that comes standard with five seats. A third row that comes bundled with its own air vents and USB port is optional. There are three trim levels: SE, HSE and HSE Lux.
The SE base model comes well-equipped with 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, heated power-folding outside mirrors, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a rear foglight, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, partial leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats, 60/40-split second-row seats (folding, sliding, reclining), a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a touchscreen interface, and a 10-speaker audio system with an auxiliary audio jack, four USB ports and an iPod/media player interface. The Vision Assist package adds xenon headlights, LED running lights and front foglamps. The Convenience package adds keyless ignition and entry, a power liftgate and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The midrange HSE trim includes the above optional package items along with 19-inch wheels, upgraded trim, a panoramic glass roof, full leather upholstery and 10-way power front seats with memory functions. The Audio Upgrade package adds an 11-speaker audio system with HD radio.
A navigation system and satellite radio can be added separately to the SE and XSE.
The top-of-the-line HSE Lux model includes the HSE's optional equipment along with upgraded leather upholstery, trim and carpeting, along with configurable mood lighting.
The HSE trims are available with their own Vision Assist package that includes adaptive xenon headlights, automatic high beam control, a surround-view camera system, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The Driver Assist Plus package adds frontal collision warning, automatic braking for frontal crash mitigation, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and, on the HSE, navigation. Also available is an automatic parallel and perpendicular parking system.
Every Discovery Sport can be equipped with the Climate Comfort package, which adds heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield, and on the HSE trims, ventilated front seats. You can also specify one of several Black Design packages, which bring with them combinations of black exterior trim, black wheels of either 19 or 20 inches, and a black contrasting roof that is available separately. Smartphone app integration is also available.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and all-wheel drive are standard.
In Edmunds testing, the Discovery Sport went from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, which is about a second slower than average. Official EPA fuel economy estimates are 22 mpg combined (20 city/26 highway), which is a few mpg less efficient than rivals. On the Edmunds evaluation route, it returned 25 mpg combined. Properly equipped, the Discovery Sport can tow up to 4,409 pounds.
The Discovery Sport's powertrain also includes Land Rover's well-proven Terrain Response system. The technology has four preprogrammed settings (General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand) that adapt gas pedal and steering response, gear selection, center differential engagement and braking/stability control systems to optimize performance in a variety of difficult driving scenarios. Unlike with other Land Rovers, there are no locking differentials, low range or adjustable suspension height.
The list of standard safety features on the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport includes antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera and parking sensors are also standard, as are hill descent control and hill start assist.
Safety-related options include a blind spot and rear cross-traffic alert system, lane departure warning, frontal collision warning and automatic braking for frontal crash mitigation.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Discovery Sport with 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is better than average for the segment.
Like its Evoque sibling, the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport is supremely stable and coordinated on winding roads, with the accurate steering imparting decent feedback to the driver. We highly recommend avoiding the optional 20-inch wheels, though, as they are at least partly responsible for a ride that tends toward jittery on imperfect surfaces. They generate a smattering of road noise, too. Smaller wheels would certainly improve things on both counts, but no Discovery Sport will deliver the sort of plush ride quality of its pricier air-suspended siblings.
It also can't match other Land Rovers off road, lacking their ground clearance, wheel articulation, locking differential and low-range gearing. It also falls short of similarly sized or priced Jeeps (Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, respectively). Nevertheless, the Discovery Sport does possess more capabilities off the beaten path than its compact luxury SUV competitors. It has short overhangs, a capable all-wheel-drive setup and most importantly, the Terrain Response system that adjusts various vehicle parameters for optimum traction on different surfaces like sand, snow or mud. You can't do that in a BMW.
Powering all these on- and off-pavement forays is a responsive turbocharged four-cylinder engine that offers sufficient punch for most buyers in most situations. Having said that, though, virtually every competitor not powered by diesel fuel or a hybrid powertrain delivers superior acceleration. The nine-speed automatic transmission can also be reluctant to downshift, which can be an annoyance when trying to merge into faster-moving traffic.
The 2015 Discovery Sport features a handsome interior marked by generally high-quality materials and a hushed ambience. The design is stylish but conservative, which may leave some shoppers wishing for something with a little more charisma.
Gauges and controls are easy to see and intuitive in their operation. The 5-inch screen between the speedometer and tach can be configured to display a range of useful information. The large 8-inch touchscreen mounted in the center of the dash offers a much-improved interface that uses smartphone-like gestures to control climate, audio, phone and navigation functions as well as to access available InControl apps including iHeartRadio, Stitcher and more. It works well, but it can be too much of a reach at times, especially the accompanying physical buttons on its right side.
The front seats are comfortable, and the second row offers decent legroom with the movable 60/40-split bench that both reclines (common) and slides (rare). It's also mounted 2 inches higher than the front seats to provide a better view for its occupants. The available third row is going to be a tight fit for all but limber youngsters, leading us to suggest you look elsewhere if you plan on hauling seven passengers on a regular basis.
Speaking of hauling, fold down all the rear seats and you have a cargo hold with 60 cubic feet of space. Numerically, this is an average amount for a small luxury crossover, but the Disco's boxy shape makes the most of it. Although this SUV has "Sport" in its name, its utility is actually more appealing.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport is an all-new premium crossover that offers comfortable accommodations and ample cargo space in a compact footprint. But don't expect Land Rover's legendary safari-grade off-road capability here. The Discovery Sport is better suited to navigating snowy paved roads or reasonably maintained dirt trails.
What Is It?
For more than 25 years, the Land Rover Discovery, or LR4 as it's known in the U.S., has been a trusted member of the Land Rover family, offering expedition-worthy off-road capability at a more accessible price than the posh Range Rover.
The Discovery Sport is not that kind of SUV. The added "Sport" at the end of the name changes everything. This vehicle is slightly smaller than the LR4, less off-road-worthy and more efficient on the road.
Compared to the Range Rover Evoque, the Discovery Sport is 9.2 inches longer, with a more sensible roof line that makes for easier access, expanded rear passenger room and a more cavernous cargo hold. Compared to the LR2 it will eventually replace, the Discovery Sport is 3.6 inches longer and half an inch lower, while simultaneously looking sleeker and holding more people and things.
A new multilink rear suspension allows for a lower rear floor. It makes possible a new backseat that reclines and slides 6.3 inches, and there's even space for a new third-row seat option, although it's correctly described as a "+2" arrangement that's suitable for a couple of kids, not three adults.
Power is supplied by the same 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine used in the Range Rover Evoque. And like the Evoque, the Discovery Sport comes standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Evoque gained 2 mpg when it made the switch in 2014, and indeed the new Discovery Sport is rated 2 mpg higher than the LR2.
A more sophisticated electronic backbone supports an array of new safety features. The Driver Assist package includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and road sign recognition. The Advanced Park Assist option automates not just parallel but also routine perpendicular parking. And the Vision Assist option offers cross-traffic alerts to aid backing out of spaces and a blind-spot monitoring system that can deduce closing rates.
How Does It Drive?
It turns out that the word "Sport" is a pretty accurate description of the junior Discovery's ride and handling demeanor.
The ride is admirably flat, with expert damping of large motions. Those prone to car sickness have nothing to fear from this SUV. Moreover, it's supremely stable and coordinated on winding roads, with the accurate electronic power steering imparting decent feedback through corners.
Our HSE test sample rode on the optional 20-inch wheels. The short sidewalls of the 245/40R20 tires are at least partly responsible for a ride that tends toward jittery on imperfect surfaces. They generate a smattering of road noise, too. The standard 19-inch wheels and tires should offer better isolation on both counts.
Sport doesn't apply quite as well in a straight line, as the steering feels numb on open roads and the acceleration is lackluster unless you floor the thing. The brakes feel powerful enough, however, needing just 119 feet to halt our test vehicle from 60 mph.
We were able to squeeze a 7.7-second 0-60 time out of our somewhat-loaded 4,323-pound test sample, but in daily driving the nine-speed transmission is reluctant to downshift in the name of fuel economy. There's a Sport mode, but engaging it via the weird round shifter is not unlike opening a child-proof medicine bottle.
Most starts are conducted from 2nd gear, because 1st is reserved for manual shifting and off-road terrain settings. On top of that, the standard fuel-saving stop-start system is slow to re-ignite the engine when it's go time. At least there's an off button for that part.
How Many Trim Levels Are There?
There are three Discovery Sport grades: SE, HSE and HSE Lux. The SE kicks things off with a standard touchscreen entertainment system, 18-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power "partial leather" front seats, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a back-up camera and more.
HSE buyers get full grained leather 10-way power seats with memory, xenon headlamps, passive entry, a power tailgate, 19-inch wheels and a humungous fixed glass sunroof. The HSE Lux adds standard navigation, HD radio and 11-speaker premium audio. It has more sumptuous leather, and the wheels and exterior trim get a bright finish.
All three can be equipped with the safety packages and the optional third seat. Big wheel aficionados can add 19-inch wheels to the SE, or 20s to an HSE or HSE Lux. And any of them can go stealthy with a Black Design package that can be had with or without a matching black roof.
What Is the Interior Like?
Our HSE's grained leather seats offered abundant head- and legroom, and a generous telescoping steering wheel makes it easy for the driver to find the sweet spot. The seats are a bit narrow and not as sumptuous as they appear, but we didn't sample the Windsor Leather seats in the HSE Lux.
Backseat passengers sit 2 inches higher for a good view out, but there's still plenty of head- and legroom. In fact, there are 39.8 inches of the latter with the seat slid fully back. The backrest does feel somewhat flat, but at least there's a wide center armrest to lean on. And everyone has access to an air vent and a USB power port of their own.
Aluminum trim adds a little flair, but the general design theme is plain and matter-of-fact. It's a logical place where controls are easy to find and operate, but there's lots of wasted space on the center console, perhaps to emphasize the "majesty" of the levitating shift knob. We'd seen enough of this parlor trick in the first minute.
As for the touchscreen navigation and audio system, we appreciate the smartphone integration with the InControl Apps option. But that somewhat faraway screen must be touched and poked to do almost anything. And the high-priority fixed buttons that swap among navigation/media/phone have been marooned in a spot that's a reach for most drivers.
What About Off-Road?
In normal driving, the Discovery Sport sends its power through the front wheels, but in low-traction situations it's able to divert engine power to the rear axle, where a torque-vectoring differential distributes the power according to which wheel has the most grip. Land Rover's Terrain Response system comes standard, so by simply turning a dial you can adjust various parameters for optimum traction on different surfaces like sand, snow or mud.
An aggressive 4.54-to-1 axle ratio allows the Discovery Sport to start in 2nd gear on pavement, while 1st gear mainly acts as a quasi low-range gear in off-road modes. This strategy delivers a 21-to-1 crawl ratio, which is a clear advantage compared to the mid-teens offered by other crossovers. Indeed the Sport climbs well on local steep forest access roads.
Land Rover says the Discovery Sport's new rear suspension offers more flexibility than the strut setup of the LR2 and Evoque. That's true enough, but our articulation test says it only brings it up to the modest levels of the BMW X3, Jeep Cherokee and Mazda CX-5.
None of this is bad, and the Discovery Sport does indeed possess features and gearing that best other crossover SUV offerings. It's just that its capabilities are more muted than the Land Rover Discovery moniker suggests.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver?
We managed 25.0 mpg around our mixed-driving evaluation loop, but our two-week average dropped to 19.4 mpg with numerous city and a few off-road miles added in. The EPA says the Discovery Sport is rated at 22 mpg combined (20 city/26 highway), which places it 2 mpg above the LR2 and 2 mpg below the Range Rover Evoque.
The smaller Evoque holds the advantage because it weighs 300 pounds less. It also employs a more street-oriented axle ratio that uses all nine gears in daily use and makes top gear more of a cruising gear.
Premium fuel is required to feed the 2.0-liter turbo engine, and the tank holds 18.5 gallons of the stuff. A careful driver could theoretically coax more than 450 miles out of a single fill-up on the open road.
How Much for This New Land Rover?
The SE starts at $37,995 with a decent load of standard equipment. Above that is the HSE at $42,495 and the HSE Lux at $46,495.
The third-row seat is a $1,750 option, while navigation costs $800 — unless you get the Driver Assist Plus package or an HSE Lux.
Our particular HSE test vehicle cost $49,195, including $1,600 for the Climate Comfort package and $1,500 for the Black Design package with black 20-inch wheels and roof. Another $1,295 went for the Driver Assist Plus package, $800 got us the 11-speaker audio upgrade and $430 brought in the InControl Apps feature. The final $150 got us a cargo space cover.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
As a premium crossover SUV, the Discovery's closest competitors are German luxury brands, but none of them pretends to be as good off-road.
The 2015 Audi Q5 offers more powertrain options, including diesel, hybrid and a stronger 3.0-liter gasoline variant. Handling is on par, but its similar 2.0-liter turbo configuration is both quicker and thriftier at the pump. It has less rear passenger and cargo room, though.
The 2015 BMW X3 xDrive28i is also quicker and less thirsty. It also lags behind in rear passenger and cargo room, albeit to a lesser degree. Those who want to trade money for power can get the xDrive35i, and those who don't need all-wheel drive can save with the sDrive28i.
There's also the 2015 Acura MDX, a V6-powered midsize SUV with premium features and an expansive interior. Its fuel mileage isn't great, but if you want a little more room and don't need much off-road ability, it's a solid performer.
If off-road prowess means anything to you, don't rule out the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. Yes, it resides down market in terms of material quality, but the lower price reflects that. The Jeep outperforms this Land Rover because of its true low-range gearing, lockable rear differential, superior clearance and knobbier tires.
Why Should You Consider It?
The new 2015 Land Rover Discovery is a smart-looking all-wheel-drive crossover that offers more passenger and cargo space than most (if not all) of its competitors, not to mention an optional third-row seat.
Land Rover fans will appreciate its composed driving behavior and increased fuel economy, which represent sizable improvements over the LR2 it replaces. It's also sized right for those who appreciate the vibe of the Range Rover Evoque but aren't impressed with its tighter accommodations.
Why Should You Think Twice About It?
It's stylish and smart-looking outside, but the Discovery Sport tends toward plain and traditional inside. The look and feel of the driving environment is where the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 have the edge. And they're quicker and thriftier, too.
And while we can't be sure that 19-inch tires would completely solve our ride comfort misgivings, we can say the 20s are clearly not helping. Save your money here.
Finally, if you came into this thinking the Discovery Sport has the same off-road chops as the Discovery with which it shares a name, think again. This one has enough capability to compete against other crossovers, but it doesn't stand alone like other Land Rovers.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds with this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.