The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is to the Discovery what the Range Rover Sport is to the Range Rover. Built to take on the likes of the Mercedes GLE, the BMW X5 and the Lexus RX, the Discovery Sport offers buyers a way into the Land Rover fold without having to take out a second mortgage. Although smaller and less powerful than its more luxurious siblings, the Discovery Sport is no less capable, with impressive off-road skills, including the ability to traverse water as deep as 23 inches.
Unique in this league is the Discovery Sport’s 7-passenger seating, although the third-row seat is rather cramped and takes up all the cargo space, leaving us to recommend the 5-passenger version. We should also point out that while driver assists like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping are now standard, other features such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring remain optional.
Land Rover’s Terrain Response system ensures that the Discovery Sport can keep up with its better-known siblings, granting it access to places where many luxury competitors dare not tread. Then again, Land Rover knows that the majority of Discovery Sport owners will rarely venture far from the paved path, which is why the automaker has endowed the Discovery Sport with a smooth ride and impressive cornering and handling abilities.
What’s New for 2020?
For 2020, Land Rover performs a major makeover by giving the 2020 Discovery Sport a stiffer frame, an upgraded interior and new engine options. The ClearSight front and rear view camera system is now available, and the base 4-cylinder turbocharged engine receives a bump in horsepower. Buyers can also opt for an upgraded 48-volt mild hybrid engine producing 286 hp. Inside, the Discovery Sport touts a 10-in infotainment screen and available digital instrument cluster, plus new sustainable interior options including faux-leather seating called Luxtex. Finally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on S and higher trims, while a new lower-priced base trim is added to the lineup. See the Land Rover Discovery Sport models for sale near you
What We Like
- Rugged styling
- Reasonable base price
- Excellent off-roading ability
- More passenger-friendly interior than the Evoque
What We Don’t
- Interior lacks the elegance of some competitors
- Tiny third-row seat option
- So-so fuel economy ratings even with hybrid
- Optional driver assists that should be standard
The 2020 Discovery Sport offers a choice of two turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines. The standard engine is good for 246 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for this engine is rated at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The optional version also displaces two liters but adds a 48-volt mild hybrid system that bumps output to a robust 286 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy figures for this engine are identical the base car at 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Standard Features & Options
In keeping with the rest of the Land Rover line, the 2020 Discovery Sport is offered in four distinct trims: base, S, SE and HSE. Only the top line HSE R-Dynamic trim offers the high-output mild-hybrid engine.
The Discovery Sport base ($38,795) Terrain Response AWD system, Terrain Progress Control, cloth seating, 8-way manual driver’s and passenger seats, LED headlights, 18-in alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate controls, 10-in InTouch pro sound system, rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, driver drowsiness monitor and hill descent control.
The Discovery Sport S ($42,495) brings power folding door mirrors, leather seating, 12-way power driver’s seat, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter.
The Discovery Sport SE ($38,790) adds a power lift gate, 19-in wheels, digital instrument cluster, auto-leveling headlights with automatic high beam control, interactive driver display and blind spot monitoring.
Some of the more noteworthy optional packages for the base, S and SE include the Cold Climate pack (heated front and rear seats, heated washer nozzles and a heated steering wheel), the Driver Assist Package (blind spot monitoring, 360-degree camera, clear exit monitor, high-speed emergency braking, 360-degree parking aid, wade sensing and adaptive cruise control) and the Smartphone package (adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). Other features bundled into various packages include adaptive suspension, self-park assist, wireless device charging, head-up display, front and rear cameras and Land Rover’s Active Key. The R-Dynamics package adds paddle shifters, sportier trim and wheels and more features.
The HSE R-Dynamic ($53,795) adds the mild-hybrid engine, 20-in alloy wheels, ClearSight interior rearview mirror, keyless entry and push button start, 14-way power seats with 2-way power lumbar support, Meridian sound system, adaptive cruise control and high speed emergency braking.
Options include a fixed panoramic glass moonroof, front and rear fog lights, front- and rear-parking sensors, a power-gesture rear lift gate, full-leather seating and a 10-speaker Meridian audio system upgrade.
The 2020 Discovery Sport is loaded with many advanced safety technologies, including front-side airbags, side-curtain airbags, a driver’s-knee airbag, anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake lights, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, corner brake control, dynamic stability control, roll-stability control, trailer-stability assist and Land Rover’s hill-start assist and hill-descent control systems.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Behind the Wheel
In our experience with the Discovery Sport in the most inhospitable terrain — that being the frozen isolation of Iceland — we concluded that the off-road ability of the new baby Discovery is something the company got exactly right. The Sport conquered deep snow, frozen roads and icy rivers with ease.
This Land Rover also includes the company’s Terrain Response system, a driver-selectable program that monitors and adjusts such functions as wheel speed and vehicle position. Basically, you select the terrain setting and the onboard systems do the rest, keeping you moving forward, straight and right-side-up. We’ve sampled this system before on a variety of vehicles in the California desert, the deep mud of the North Carolina woods and the snowdrifts of eastern Canada, and in each instance, the Terrain Response system did its job perfectly.
In fairness, we should add that the Discovery Sport was equipped with studded tires during the whole trip, as are most cars on the road during wintertime in Iceland. Studded tires won’t keep you from getting stuck, but they do provide an extra bit of traction that a Discovery Sport wouldn’t be able to manage with traditional street tires.
The Discovery Sport’s power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. While that may not sound too impressive, the engine makes 246 hp and has more than enough spunk to get you through an Icelandic winter and provide a little fun when the weather and roads dry out. The upgraded hybrid version on the HSE R-Dynamic increases horsepower to 286 with no difference in fuel economy.
Our only complaint is that the engine can be noisy at times. The cabin remains fairly quiet, however, and the ride is very smooth, which is surprising considering that we were running on those metal-spiked tires the whole time. If this is how good the vehicle sounds on studded tires on ice, the average American driver will be very pleased.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Audi Q5 — The Q5 offers a more luxurious interior and powerful engine options, including a plug-in hybrid. But the Q5 also costs a few thousand dollars more than a comparably equipped Discovery Sport and doesn’t offer a third-row seat option.
2020 Lexus NX — The NX has a more distinctive exterior, better handling and more advanced audio and infotainment systems, plus more standard driver assists. We like its interior better, too. However, the NX cannot venture to the off-road destinations attainable in the Discovery Sport.
2020 Lincoln Corsair — The Corsair offers a sleek exterior and a more elegant interior than the Discovery Sport, plus its standard engine bests the Discovery Sport’s hp and fuel economy (with optional AWD). Like the Lexus NX, the Corsair doesn’t offer a third-row seat, but its front-drive layout permits a lower base price.
Used BMW X5 — A 2014-2018 BMW X5 offers more room, more power and better handling as well as better resale figures. You can find more upscale options on the X5 as well as a number of performance upgrades.
For the money, the SE with a few option packages will give you all the luxury you need in an off-road-capable luxury SUV. The HSE’s available mild hybrid offers a bit more power without penalizing fuel economy as well as opens the door to every available option. Find a Land Rover Discovery Sport for sale