For those looking to step into the world of opulent off-roading, few brands can deliver like Land Rover. And though mention of the storied British marque might call to mind the glitzy top-shelf Range Rovers, make no mistake, the entry-level Discovery Sport is in fact the brand’s best-seller. Looking to continue that trend, the littlest Land Rover enters the 2018 model year bolstered by a host of updates.
What's New for 2018
The Discovery Sport's most significant change from 2017 lies under the hood, where an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is running the show. This new engine is offered in the standard itineration making 237 horsepower/251 pounds-feet of torque and the high-output version that boasts 286 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Both benefit from all-aluminum construction and increased efficiency over their predecessor. Regardless of engine choice, a nine-speed automatic runs the show.
Other changes to the Discovery are less substantial. New shades of orange and blue can be found on the color palette, auto-dimming exterior mirrors are new, and are standard on the top two trims, in-car wifi is now 4G for faster speeds, and new seat foam has been fitted for improved comfort.
Choosing Your Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Disco Sport has three trim levels – the entry-level SE, the middle-child HSE, and the top-spec HSE Luxury. The upper two trims can be had with the high-output, 286 hp engine; the SE makes do with just the standard 237-horsepower motor.
Choosing the higher-output powertrain also means a few some sporty touches inside and out. These include a unique front bumper with bigger air dams, a gloss black grille and side vents, chrome tailpipe finisher, a red ‘Sport’ badge and 20-inch wheels.
Land Rover has built its name and reputation on the backs of its vehicle’s off-road prowess, and the Discovery Sport is no different. Besides the standard four-wheel-drive, all models come equipped with Terrain Response, which offers specially calibrated driving modes that are programmed for specific conditions. Also there to lend a hand when the terrain gets rough is hill descent control, hill-start assist, and All-Terrain Progress Control – a system which allows the vehicle to crawl forward in a specified speed set by the driver.
Buyers also have a choice of up to 12 different exterior colors, as well as two available appearance packages. The Dynamic Design Package (unavailable on SE) brings to the table 20-inch black wheels, chrome exhaust, and some unique interior touches like chrome pedals and a leather steering wheel. The other appearance package is the Black Design Package, which includes a contrasting color roof, black badging, black grille, fender vents and mirrors, and a choice of black wheels ranging in size from 18-inch to 20-inch.
One of the bigger selling points for the Discovery Sport is the available third-row, a feature that is a rarity in the compact SUV segment. However, it's uncommon for a reason; with total vehicle length of just 181.1 inches long, don't expect to squeeze any full-size adults in the pair of way-back seats. If three rows of seating is a high priority, look beyond the Discovery Sport.