Land Rover has steadily offered some sort of an update with each passing year since the Discovery Sport was launched. We got a chance to sample the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol last year and that was entertaining too. But this time around, it is a new diesel motor that gets the Discovery Sport to these pages. Land Rover has chosen to bin the older 2.2-litre unit for a slightly smaller 2.0-litre motor. Apart from being lighter, this new all-aluminium unit is far more refined. In fact, it becomes evident from the minute you push the starter button. Noise and vibration levels are far less and the engine settles into a smooth idle. This new motor belongs to the ‘Ingenium’ series of engines, which, apart from being lighter, are also more efficient than the older ones.
Land Rover has chosen to mate the 174bhp motor to a 9-speed automatic transmission that uses two clutches to deliver quick responses to gearshifts. Out on the road, this new motor sets off the line effortlessly and is barely audible inside the cabin. In urban situations, this motor remains unstressed through start/ stop situations with good low-end response. Find an open stretch of road and the 430Nm of torque comes flooding through from a low 1750rpm all the way to 2500rpm. We managed to hit 100kph in just over 11 seconds on a very rainy day with traction control fighting for grip to put the power down. There isn’t any apparent shove in the back, but delivery is linear and flows nicely through the rev range.
Not to forget the fact that this motor makes slightly less power than the outgoing 2.2-litre version, although it does manage a little more torque. For most other situations, the gearbox kicks down through nine ratios to respond reasonably quickly and give you enough poke to slip through gaps in traffic. Out on the highway is where the Discovery Sport feels at home though and is ever willing to settle into a cruise. Get up to triple-digit speeds and let the gearbox settle down and you will be clocking less than 1500rpm in the top cog. You can either choose to let cruise control take over or employ a limiter to keep you within the speed limit.
If you do get the chance to push it further, you will realise that the top-end of the 2.0-litre motor isn’t as robust as the strong mid-range and runs out of steam. Its ability to cruise at low revs not only makes for good efficiency, but also a quiet cabin which you can then fill with tunes through the Meridian sound system. The rest of the cabin remains familiar with the 8-inch touchscreen sitting at the top of centre stack. It is easy to use, but doesn’t really match the sort of finesse German rivals offer. Add to that the fact that you still don’t get Andriod Auto or Apple CarPlay integration. Navigation is also not the best calibrated with the in-built maps taking you through routes that you would normally avoid. Ride and handling remains untouched as do the exteriors.