2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport

2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport Review

The 2018 Discovery Sport is spacious and capable, but it's less luxurious and less efficient than rivals.
author
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The cumulative changes to the Discovery Sport over the last two years are significant. This year brings a new engine that comes in two different power-output levels, along with revisions to the front seats. Add those updates to last year's changes to the infotainment system and the addition of an optional adaptive suspension, and the Discovery Sport has changed quite a bit.

In the past we knocked the Discovery Sport for its relatively slow acceleration, below-average fuel economy, brittle ride, overly firm seats and high cost, especially considering how much more luxurious competitors can be. The new, optional 286-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder adds a turn of speed but is a pricey extra, and fuel economy remains the same. The optional adaptive suspension, which should improve ride quality, is a stand-alone option. As far as cost goes, the market seems to have caught up — while the Discovery Sport gets pricey quickly when you start checking options boxes, so do its European competitors. At least the revisions to the seats come standard.

Still, if the Disco Sport's optional third-row seat or trick traction control that allows for more off-road and inclement-weather capability isn't at the top of your list of priorities, there are a lot of great compact luxury SUVs to choose from. The redesigned 2018 Volvo XC60 is luxurious, modern and capable. The Audi Q5 has lots of excellent available technology and outstanding road manners. Top-tier Discovery Sports also compete with more entry-level trims of the Porsche Macan, which is a bit tight on the inside but is also one of the best-driving SUVs on the road. And that's not to mention offerings from Acura, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and even Alfa Romeo. This is a crowded segment, and Land Rover has pinned its appeal on a few very specific strengths.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Discovery Sport gains a few updates. Most notably, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine is now more powerful and efficient and is available with two different output levels. Changes have also been made to front-seat adjustments and comfort. Some changes have been made to trim-level equipment and options.

We recommend

The Discovery Sport HSE includes some extras that most luxury shoppers will be looking for, such as a power tailgate, leather seats, proximity entry, and front parking sensors. We also think a few important packages are worth considering: The Vision Assist package bundles blind-spot monitoring with a surround-view camera and upgraded headlights; the Cold Climate package adds heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated windscreen; and the Intelligent Dynamics package adds an adaptive suspension and a fuel-saving driveline.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport is a compact luxury SUV that comes standard with five seats, though an optional two-person third row raises capacity to seven. There are three trim levels: SE, HSE and HSE Luxury. A more powerful engine is available for the HSE and HSE Luxury trims.

The Discovery Sport's powertrain also includes Land Rover's All-Terrain Progress Control (a low-speed off-road cruise control), hill descent control and the driver-adjustable Terrain Response system. The latter technology has four settings (General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand) that adapt accelerator and steering response, gear selection, center differential engagement, and braking and 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 gearing or adjustable suspension height.

The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 237 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. A more powerful version of this engine is available for the HSE and HSE Luxury trims and makes 286 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard.

Standard equipment on the SE includes automatic headlamps and wipers, power-folding and heated mirrors, a rearview camera, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass, 18-inch wheels, and the Land Rover Terrain Response system, which changes vehicle settings to match various surfaces. Also standard are 10-way power front seats, partial leather upholstery, a 60/40-split rear seat (folding, reclining, sliding), an 8-inch touchscreen interface, four USB charging ports (two front, two rear) and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB media player interface.

Some options are unique to the SE: The Convenience package adds proximity entry, a hands-free liftgate and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The SE Vision Assist package adds foglights and xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights. Twelve-way power-adjustable front seats and navigation are available as stand-alone options.

The HSE includes the contents of the Convenience and SE Vision packages and adds a fixed panoramic roof, front parking sensors, full leather upholstery, and 12-way power front seats with memory functions.

Both the SE and HSE can be upgraded with the Audio Upgrade package, which adds an 11-speaker Meridian stereo and satellite radio. Smartphone-connection apps and satellite radio are available for both as stand-alone options.

The HSE Luxury adds the Audio Upgrade package, 19-inch wheels, fancier exterior trim, multicolor interior ambient lighting, upgraded leather upholstery and navigation functionality.

The HSE trims are available with a number of option packages. The Vision Assist package includes blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams and a surround-view camera system. The Driver Assist Plus package adds the navigation functionality, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. The HUD & Park Assist package brings a head-up display and an automatic parking system that can handle perpendicular and parallel parking duties. The Intelligent Dynamics Pack adds an active all-wheel-drive system, which switches between front- and all-wheel drive based on conditions to save fuel, and an adaptive magnetic suspension. The Entertainment Pack adds a 17-speaker Meridian sound system and the upgraded 10-inch InControl Touch Pro touchscreen interface that includes onboard Wi-Fi and its own upgraded navigation system. Finally, the Dynamic Design package adds a variety of special exterior and trim pieces, including gloss-black 20-inch wheels.

All trims can be equipped with the Climate Comfort package, which includes a variety of heated items: windshield, steering wheel, and front and rear seats. Also available as stand-alone options are different wheels (19- or 20-inch), contrasting roof color choices, the head-up display, automatic high beams, a cargo cover and onboard Wi-Fi. For 2018, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control have both been made available as stand-alone options.



Driving

We were impressed with the Discovery Sport's handling and braking performance. Our biggest issue was the lackluster engine, which should be remedied by this year's changes. While the Sport is not as rugged an off-roader as other Land Rovers, its traction system makes it competent in the dirt.

Comfort

The new seats and optional adaptive suspension for 2018 should address some of our biggest concerns. The ride on the standard suspension was sharp, brittle and out of place in this class. There's also more road noise than in some competitors.

Interior

With lots of room for passengers and easy entry and exit, the Discovery Sport is a good people mover. It also gets high points for visibility and materials quality. Unfortunately, the interior design doesn't feel especially luxurious, and the infotainment system can be laggy and too complicated.

Utility

The Discovery Sport offers a lot of cargo space for the segment, and it also has an impressively high towing capacity. But there's not a lot of storage space for small items in the cabin.

Technology

There's a lot of available technology if you're willing to spend the money to add it. Active safety features and driver aids are available but pricey. The infotainment system is a weakness; while it's customizable, it's also sluggish to start up and can be slow to respond and complicated to use.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.