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2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport Review

The 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport is a compact luxury SUV that competes with the likes of the Mercedes GLE, the BMW X5, and the Lexus RX. This British-built compact SUV is available as a 2-row 5-seater or a 3-row 7-seater with 2-3-2 seating.

As a Land Rover, the all-wheel-drive (AWD) Discovery Sport has solid off-roading skills, and it can even traverse water as deep as 23 inches. It’s also quite competent on the pavement, where it benefits from technologies from safety systems such as automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist.

Note: While the Discovery Sport can be ordered as a 7-seater, the third-row seat is cramped. It’s for kids only. It also takes up most of the cargo space, so we’d opt for the 5-passenger version.

What’s New?

Although the Land Rover Discovery Sport received a major makeover for 2020, substantial improvements have been carried out for 2021. Foremost among them: a new fast-acting Pivi Pro infotainment system made possible Land Rover’s new electrical architecture, which comes from the new Defender. Pivi Pro, with navigation and a data plan with embedded Spotify, is designed to be intuitive and simple to use. Most importantly, Pivi Pro is much faster than the previous system, and it allows the driver to complete most tasks with two taps or less on the 10-inch screen.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard, and the standard safety suite has been supplemented by a standard 360-degree camera and lane-keep assist. What’s more, an advanced cabin air filtration system that even filters out odors is standard.

Last, the 286-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, a mild hybrid powerplant, has been discontinued in the U.S. Discovery Sport for 2021. The means the sole engine for 2021 is a turbo 2.0-liter with 246 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, which reaches all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission.  See the Land Rover Discovery Sport models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Ruggedly handsome styling
  • Good off-roading ability
  • More passenger-friendly interior than the Evoque
  • Available 3rd-row seat
  • Advanced new infotainment system

What We Don’t

  • Blind-spot monitor is not standard!?
  • Optional third-row seat is cramped
  • Blind-spot warning not standard on all models
  • Not especially quick
  • Not especially fuel-efficient

How Much?

$41,900 – $46,950

Fuel Economy

The turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in the 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport produces 246 horsepower at  5,500 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque from 1,400 rpm to 4,500 rpm. It mates to a 9-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hasn’t tested the 2021 Discovery Sport yet, but we are confident the fuel economy will be identical to last year’s model, which was rated at 19 miles per gallon in the city/24 mpg on the highway/21 mpg combined.

Land Rover says the Discovery Sport hits 60 mph in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 140 mph. It’s also capable of towing a 1,653-pound unbraked trailer.

With its 17.7-gallon fuel tank, the 202 Land Rover Discovery Sport has a driving range of around 400 miles.

Standard Features & Options

Four Land Rover Discovery Sport models are available for 2021. Each has a destination fee of $1,050.

The Discovery Sport P250 S ($41,900), the entry model, comes with a 10-inch touchscreen, 18-inch wheels and privacy glass, plus a 6-speaker audio system and dual-zone climate control. Buyers can get black leather upholstery or a no-cost black fabric called Luxtec. Power front seats are standard, as is Pivi Pro infotainment, navigation, a pushbutton starter and LED headlights and taillights.

The Discovery Sport P250 SE ($42,495) has premium LED headlights with automatic leveling and automatic high beams, plus a power tailgate, a 12-inch virtual instrument cluster, and 12-way power front seats with memory. It rides on 20-in alloy wheels and has a blind-spot warning, a clear exit monitor, and a rear cross-traffic monitor (with braking).

The Discovery Sport P250 R-Dynamic S ($43,600) comes standard with the Black Exterior Pack (black fender vents, a mesh grille, and bodycolor front and rear bumpers) and 18-in chrome wheels, Inside, this model is highlighted by black leather upholstery with contrast stitching, a black headliner, perforated leather on its steering wheel, aluminum trim, metal scuff plates, and metal pedal covers.

The Discovery Sport P250 R-Dynamic SE ($46,950) is equipped similarly to the R-Dynamic S, but in addition to the Black Exterior Pack, it gets 20-inch dark gray wheels and black gearshift paddles.

Most of the notable options are in packages. Contained in the Family Pack ($3,050) are a fixed panoramic roof, the ClearSight video rearview mirror, and the 3rd-row seat with vents.

Both Discovery Sport S models can be ordered with Driver Assist Pack ($1,950). Besides adaptive cruise control (with steering assist) and a blind-spot monitor, it has clear exit assist and a rear cross-traffic warning with braking.

Also available is the $1,250 Dynamic Handling Pack (that includes an adaptive suspension with driver-selectable settings and red brake calipers) and a Technology Pack (head-up display, a digital rearview camera mirror, and a digital instrument cluster). The Tech Pack costs $1,700 on the Discovery Sport S and $1,200 on the Discovery Sport SE.

Other options of note include Land Rover’s Activity Key, a wireless smartphone charger (with signal booster), and Advanced Tow Assist ($400), which has a dash-mounted knob that steers the Discovery Sport (and trailer) for easier reversing with a trailer.

The 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport also is available with Advanced Cabin Air Filtration. Part of the $900 Hot Climate Pack, this new system, found on some new Jaguars, filters out fine particulate matter, allergens, and even strong odors.

Last, the Discovery Sport can be ordered with a Black Exterior Pack and 11 different alloy wheels that range in size from 18 to 21 inches.


Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport.

That stated, it’s a safe vehicle. Besides the usual complement of multiple airbags and automatic emergency braking, the Discovery Sport has lane-keep assist, which brings the vehicle gently back into its lane if it starts drifting out of it.

Additionally, you should consider the ClearSight digital rearview mirror. With this feature, the Discovery Sport driver gets a clear wide-angle view of what’s behind the vehicle, possibly even a car or motorcycle in the traditional blind spots. The rear-facing video feed is displayed right on the traditional rearview mirror.

The Discovery Sport also has a new 360-degree camera for 2021. While not a traditional safety feature per se, the camera system shows the driver what’s immediately surrounding this compact luxury SUV, making for safer vehicle movements in tight parking lots and driveways.

Behind the Wheel

In our experience driving the Discovery Sport in Iceland, it’s clear to us that Land Rover has nailed the Discovery Sport’s off-road abilities. It conquered deep snow, frozen roads, and icy rivers with ease.

This Land Rover has Terrain Response, a driver-selectable program that monitors and adjusts multiple functions to keep the compact luxury SUV moving in tough conditions. Basically, you select the terrain setting and the onboard systems do the rest.

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.

The Discovery Sport, with 246 hp, has more than enough spunk to get you through an Icelandic winter and provide a little fun when the weather and roads dry out. Our only complaint? The engine can be noisy at times. But for the most part, the cabin remains quiet and the ride is smooth.

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 Audi 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 Lincoln 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.

Questions You May Ask

 Is the 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport all-wheel drive?

Yes. All 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport models have standard all-wheel drive. They also have driver-selectable modes for varying terrain.

What is Traffic Sign Recognition?

With this standard system, the 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport’s forward-facing camera “sees” the speed limit signs on the side of the road and displays that speed on the instrument panel. Handy if you’re driving in unfamiliar territory.

Where is the Discovery Sport built?

Land Rover continues to build the Discovery Sport in England.

How long is the warranty on the 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport?

Land Rover backs its Discovery Sport with bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties that last for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.

How does the Land Rover Discovery Sport compare in size to the standard Discovery?

At 181 inches, the Discovery Sport is 14 inches shorter than the full-size Discovery. It’s also about seven inches narrower than its sibling, a larger vehicle that seats seven more comfortably but is considerably more expensive.

Autotrader’s Advice

We’d opt for a P250 R-Dynamic SE, the top Land Rover Discovery Sport. Sure, it’s about $5,000 more than the base model, but it has the 12-in digital gauges, the best seats, the best headlights, the best wheels, the best looks, a power tailgate, and a blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert and automatic braking. That last feature should be standard on all 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport models. Find a Land Rover Discovery Sport for sale

Andy Bornhop
Andy Bornhop is an author specializing in the automotive world, primarily the new cars, trucks, crossovers, vans and SUVs that support our daily lives and provide us with such superb personal mobility. While all new vehicles are much more competent than they used to be, there remain some significant differences, and Andy enjoys sharing that info with anybody who’s interested. His first car? A... Read More about Andy Bornhop

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