UK Drive: Does a plug-in hybrid powertrain swimsuit the Land Rover Discovery Sport?

Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rover Discovery Sport
(Land Rover)

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Today there’s barely a automobile producer round that doesn’t provide some type of electrified energy for its automobiles – and Land Rover is not any exception.

We’re not fairly on the level of seeing fully-electric Defenders, Vary Rovers and Discoveries on the roads, however the agency has been churning out plug-in-hybrid variations of most of its vary for a couple of years now.

And so, right here we now have the Discovery Sport P300e – a PHEV model of Land Rover’s compact SUV. However does it make extra sense than a regular petrol or diesel model?

Land Rover Discovery Sport
(Land Rover)

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The Discovery Sport first arrived again in 2014, and from the surface you’d be forgiven for pondering not a lot has modified since then. That’s not essentially a nasty factor after all: the Sport was a good-looking automobile then and it nonetheless is now, helped by a couple of design nips and tucks alongside the best way.

Formally that is the second technology mannequin, launched in 2019, however consider it extra like a really complete facelift – together with a brand new platform – and also you’d be alongside the correct traces.

With the P300e itself, there’s not a lot to distinguish it from some other Discovery Sport, besides after all an additional flap on the rear wing to cover its cost port. Because of slotting the battery underneath the boot flooring, the P300e misses out on the Sport’s commonplace third-row seats too – making this a strict five-seater.

Land Rover Discovery Sport
(Land Rover)

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In typical PHEV vogue, you get a downsized engine paired with a small battery and electrical motor. Within the case of the Discovery Sport, it’s a 197bhp three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol driving the entrance wheels, and a 107bhp electrical motor driving the rears.

To energy stated electrical motor, Land Rover has squeezed in a 15kWh battery, giving a variety of (in idea) 34 miles on electrical energy alone.

Curiously for a Land Rover, these two motors successfully work independently of each other – there’s no bodily hyperlink between the 2, not like in some four-wheel-drive PHEVs. There are a couple of advantages to this sort of setup after all – not least effectivity – nevertheless it’s value remembering that when the Sport is working in electrical mode, it’s successfully rear-wheel-drive solely.

Impressively, stated battery can be ‘speedy’ charged utilizing a CCS-equipped plug – that means that, in case you so need, you may cease at a motorway providers and prime as much as 80 per cent in round half-hour.

On a Kind 2 plug, in the meantime, it’ll cost at 7kW quite than the PHEV norm of three.7kW – that means you’ll be capable of add way more scrumptious free mileage whereas plugged in at Tesco than you’d in an equal Volvo XC60.

Land Rover Discovery Sport
(Land Rover)

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In case you’re wincing on the considered a automobile as massive and costly as this being propelled by a three-cylinder engine, worry not – the turbocharged 1.5 truly suits the Discovery Sport quite effectively. More often than not it goes about its enterprise with out an excessive amount of aural intrusion, and even underneath load it sounds fairly pleasing and throaty.

It helps, after all, that it’s being given an additional little bit of shove from the electrical motor – which in itself is highly effective sufficient to get the Discovery (with a mild proper foot) as much as 84mph. Typically talking, the change between petrol and electrical is seamless too – even at motorway speeds.

As with most PHEVs although, there are a couple of operational quirks to get your head round – the largest being your final lack of management over whether or not you’re utilizing petrol or electrical energy. For instance, on a number of events we set off with a full battery solely to search out the Discovery Sport’s petrol engine working regardless, and the sprint show stating ‘EV Mode Unavailable’. The offender, so far as we might work out, was having the local weather management switched on.

Not the top of the world, however irritating in case you’re hoping to often use the Discovery Sport on electric-only mode for brief journeys like faculty runs and procuring journeys.

Land Rover Discovery Sport
(Land Rover)

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As we’ve talked about, the Discovery Sport is carrying its years effectively – and positively higher than its bloated larger brother, the full-fat Discovery. The neater headlights of the brand new mannequin give the entrance finish a extra aggressive look than beforehand, however on the entire it’s an analogous visible to earlier than. Suppose evolution, not revolution.

Go for the R-Dynamic trim and also you’ll get a racy(ish) bodykit with body-coloured plastic, and there are many choice packs to make varied styling tweaks too – together with a black or gray contrasting roof, and a smorgasbord of alloy wheel selections in both silver or gloss black.

Land Rover Discovery Sport
(Land Rover)

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Vary Rover this will not be, however there’s a particular whiff of premium inside the cabin of the Discovery Sport – however with simply sufficient hard-wearing supplies to maintain issues sensible. As commonplace (within the P300e no less than) you get leather-based seats and steering wheel, or the choice of both of them in a suede-effect material as a substitute.

Every thing feels sturdy and effectively screwed collectively, with reassuringly chunky door playing cards and extremely-well padded (maybe an excessive amount of so) seats.

There’s additionally, it should be stated, acres of room contained in the Discovery Sport. Rear seat passengers get large quantities of leg room – no less than in our automobile with its non-compulsory sliding seats – and the boot is cavernous irrespective of the way you organize issues.

Because of this alone, we’d be tempted to take the Discovery Sport over the way more petite Vary Rover Evoque.

Land Rover Discovery Sport
(Land Rover)

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You’ll discover all the same old Jaguar Land Rover infotainment programs right here – together with the brand new 10-inch Pivi Professional display within the centre of the sprint, commonplace on all P300e fashions – and the choice of digital dials. Fortunately this all works quite effectively, too.

After all, there’s additionally loads of scope for choices – two completely different selections of upgraded Meridian speaker programs, a camera-based rear-view mirror, adjustable ambient cabin lighting and so forth.

Surprisingly rather a lot is bundled in as commonplace, thoughts – together with a ‘3D’-effect encompass digital camera, heated entrance seats and naturally Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (we hope you’re listening, BMW).

In case you’re after a plug-in-hybrid SUV, the Discovery Sport makes a reasonably first rate case for itself. It’s nice to drive, surprisingly fast, and there’s no faulting the quantity of house inside.

Very like most PHEVs, it could actually typically really feel like an ungainly bridge between the worlds of inner combustion engines and electrical energy – not as easy round city as a full EV, and never as environment friendly on an extended journey as a traditional diesel.

Nonetheless, in case you’ve determined a PHEV is the correct match on your mileage and life-style, the Discovery Sport is unquestionably value a glance. Niggles apart, it’s one of many higher thought-out plug-in-hybrids on sale, and we’d don’t have any points recommending one over a diesel mannequin – regardless of the obvious value premium.

  • Mannequin: Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e
  • Base value: £49,755
  • Mannequin as examined: Discovery Sport P300e R-Dynamic SE
  • Worth: £53,780
  • Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol, electrical motor
  • Energy: 304bhp (mixed most)
  • Torque: 540Nm (mixed most)
  • Max velocity: 130mph
  • 0-60mph: 6.5 seconds
  • MPG: 175.5mpg (WLTP)
  • Emissions: 36g/km