Pricing and Which One to Buy
To unlock the Discovery’s best fuel economy, you have to choose the diesel V-6, which adds $2000 to the base prices of the SE, HSE, or HSE Luxury models. We aren’t sure it’s worth it, especially considering the supercharged gasoline-powered V-6 offers a higher towing capacity and better acceleration performance. We’d pay to upgrade to the HSE, though, as it brings plenty of luxury features we’d be lost without, including 20-inch wheels, front and rear fog lamps, keyless entry, a panoramic sunroof, a 380-watt Meridian audio system, and 12-way power-adjustable front seats. We’d also opt for the 7 Seat package, mainly because it adds an electronically controlled air suspension. In addition to that, it also includes a pop-up third row and a two-speed transfer case with high and low ranges.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Discovery’s interior materials are upscale. The two-tone theme of our Td6 HSE Luxury test vehicle tastefully blended ivory leather on the door panels and dash accents, dark-brown leather on the center-console armrest and lower door panels, black soft-touch plastic on the dashtop, and open-pore wood trim with piano-black detailing on the dash. Luxury features abound throughout the rest of the interior, and the level of comfort only increases as you climb through the more expensive trims. Power-adjustable, heated leather seats with optional massage function for the driver and front-seat passenger offer good support and even better cushioning; second-row seats aren’t as generously padded but provide fore-and-aft and recline adjustments. Without adequate space to haul gear to and fro, there would be far fewer opportunities for adventure. With both of its rear rows of seats folded, the Disco’s spacious cabin proved to be quite accommodating with room for 29 of our carry-on suitcases. But load the Discovery full of would-be explorers and its maximum number drops to just two carry-ons behind the third row.
Off-roading and luxury rarely go hand-in-hand, but the 2020 Land Rover Discovery is the perfect vehicle for this rare intersection of automotive categories. Not only is it a genuine go-anywhere SUV, it’s also good at toting the family around town and ticking off errands from your weekend to-do list. It offers space for up to seven in its upscale cabin and buyers can choose from two V-6 engines: either an efficient diesel or a thirsty-but-muscly supercharged gasoline-powered engine. An optional air suspension provides additional ground clearance on demand for when the going gets rough. Cargo space is good unless you’re planning on toting both a full-load of passengers and their cargo, but Land Rover will happily sell those folks a roof-top cargo box that will look right at home atop the Discovery’s ruggedly styled body.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Models sporting the Si6 emblem are powered by a 340-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine, whereas Td6 models come with a 254-hp diesel 3.0-liter V-6. Although neither engine serves up super-refined, vibration-free operation, both are mated to an excellent eight-speed automatic controlled by a rotary shift knob that rises from the center console when the ignition button is pressed. All Discovery models come with full-time all-wheel drive as standard. In our testing, the gasoline-powered model needed 6.3 seconds to reach 60 mph; the diesel needed 8.0 seconds. The Land Rover’s adventure-ready mission caters to those seeking an SUV for much more than just trolling the parking lot at the mall, but it comes at the expense of on-road dexterity. The Discovery’s handling isn’t as ponderous as the model it replaces, but it still feels clumsy and top-heavy when changing direction. The Disco never lets you forget that you’re piloting a large SUV. Overall ride quality is quite good—especially with the optional air suspension—and even harsh bumps are dealt with easily. Steering feel, however, is nonexistent, especially on-center, where a large dead spot creates a need for frequent steering corrections when cruising on the highway.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Discovery Sport has a turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain that makes either 246 or 286 horsepower. The more powerful setup utilizes a 48-volt hybrid system that aims to improve fuel economy and acceleration. Of course, standard all-wheel drive—along with a host of optional trail-rated equipment—helps the Sport glide over bumpy terrain and weather any storm. The Disco Sport can even wade into as much as 23.6 inches of water (for those who dare) and tow up to 4409 pounds. We tested a 2020 model with the 246-hp engine and found it to be rather sluggish; throttle response is lazy and the Disco Sport requires 7.5 seconds to reach 60 mph. Handling isn’t particularly crisp, so don’t expect to wring thrills from curvy back roads. On the plus side, the Discovery Sport delivers a comfortable ride for cruising.
Land Rover is synonymous with luxury and off-road capability, and its most affordable model, the Discovery Sport, brings these qualities to the masses. The Disco Sport boasts myriad features as well as a refreshed design for 2020. The updated styling helps align the Sport with bigger and ritzier Rovers such as the Discovery and Range Rover Velar. It can be had as either a five- or seven-seater and should serve active individuals and small families well, but its shortcomings in the performance and fuel-efficiency departments make it a hard sell over luxury SUVs from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Land Rover’s standard warranty holds up to rivals’ but offers no frills. The X3 and even corporate siblings from Jaguar offer a period of free scheduled maintenance, but buyers of the Discovery Sport will be left paying those bills out of pocket.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport SE P250
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$53,775 (base price: $45,595)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injectionDisplacement
122 in3, 1997 cm3Power
246 hp @ 5500 rpmTorque
269 lb-ft @ 1400 rpm
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.7-in vented disc/12.8-in disc
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Zero All Season PNCS, 235/50R-20 104W M+S JLR
Wheelbase: 107.9 in
Length: 181.0 in
Width: 75.0 in
Height: 68.0 in
Passenger volume: 124 ft3
Cargo volume: 4 ft3
Curb weight: 4658 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 7.5 sec
100 mph: 21.7 sec
120 mph: 38.8 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 8.5 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.5 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.9 sec
¼-mile: 15.8 sec @ 86 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 132 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 168 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.83 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 19 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 21 mpg
Highway range: 370 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 21/19/24 mpg
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The mid-range SE model is the perfect place to start as it has several desirable features that the base and S models don’t, such as premium LED headlamps with daytime running lights, a power-operated rear liftgate, a digital gauge display, and blind-spot monitoring. We’d splurge on the optional 14-speaker Meridian Surround Sound stereo, keyless entry, and 14-way power-adjustable front seats with heat. A pop-up third row is available for those who need it. Land Rover offers several ways to personalize the Discovery Sport’s styling, including a black roof, a host of wheel designs, and premium metallic paint finishes. We’d suggest you pick something other than the all-black interior. We experienced that in our test vehicle, and it comes across a bit gloomy.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have released crash-test results for the 2020 Discovery Sport. Land Rover does offer plenty of safety features, though, including everything from advanced camera systems to the usual array of contemporary driver and safety assists. The latter includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking with forward-collision detection, lane-keeping assist, and more. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
With a dashboard design that mimics what’s in flashier and pricier Land Rovers, the Discovery Sport maintains the brand’s upscale image. The cabin now offers sustainable materials and more seat configurations for better versatility. The seats in our test vehicle were comfortable enough for several long-haul trips lasting four hours or so. Base models come fairly well-equipped with such luxuries as ambient interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. Leather upholstery, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heat, a pair of third-row jump seats, and a powered liftgate are all optional. The Discovery Sport holds 28 cubic-feet of cargo behind its second row. That’s three cubes better than what the Audi Q5 can boast but falls short of the 30-cubic-foot space in the tail of the Cadillac XT5.