Land Rover Discovery Sport - The Petrol Sipping Camel.
A few months ago, we drove the outstandingly frugal Land Rover Discovery Sport in its diesel avatar during our Himalayan odyssey, and we found it to be very friendly to our pocket, also it was an amazing tool for going off road. Then a few weeks down the line we drove the not so frugal Range Rover Sport SVR with a 5,000cc mill under the hood but it was mad fast. Probably the fastest car I’ve ever driven that can also take me, my family, my dogs and our luggage and then go do some serious off roading too. We’ve been highly impressed by the cars coming out of the factory in Coventry. But now I’m yearning for the best of both worlds and I have informed the blokes at Land Rover India that I have been left wanting for more. A few weeks down the line I get a call and voila they have the solution. The new entrant to my garage is quintessentially the Land Rover for the young hearts. It is for the ones who want to play around on the weekends but want something budget effective through the weekdays and it will still be astonishing at doing things normal cars cannot. Welcome the Land Rover Discovery Sport Si4. It is parked under the sun shining its majestic Firenze Red shade complimented by its huge glass roof. The Discovery Sport Si4 is powered by a 1999cc, 4-cylinder turbo-charged petrol engine that cooks 237 bhp and 340 Nm of torque, channelized through a 9 speed ZF gearbox to all the four wheels. Enough of the number game recitation, let’s see how the petrol motor fairs in the real world.
Land Rover specifies the use of 93RON and above fuel grades for their Si4 engine in the Discovery Sport which meant I didn’t have to use google maps to figure out availability of high grade fuel as it is available at every fuel station. After a quick tank-up we headed towards the highway and the first thing to notice is the instant response of the throttle when kicked down. Unlike other cars in its class the Discovery Sport is pretty quick off the line and creates a sense of sportiness behind the wheel. The steering on the other hand is pretty light at slow speeds, which is a boon for daily city driving. Increase the pace and the steering feedback delights you with its weight and direct feedback. It is like someone has created an artificial vibrator into the steering system, whenever there is an undulation under the wheels it makes tiny jerks to make you understand that there exists an undulation and it is all very natural indeed, in an SUV! Also, the suspension is a little lesser stiffer than its diesel sibling due to the lesser weight. This lesser weight also means a couple of more good things like a 100 kmph from standstill comes at a low 8.6 seconds which is a whole 3 seconds quicker than the diesel. Also, the climb to the top speed of 190 kmph is quite easy unlike the diesel sibling which is less easy. After pottering the car through the urban environment, it was time for us to take the Discovery Sport to the real deal, off road. The torque from the Si4 engine is available at a very low 1700 rpm which means crawling through slippery surfaces won’t be a hassle and it wasn’t indeed. The discovery sport glides over any surface with utter ease and as we drove over the thick sand patch at our disposal we really felt that there isn’t a substitute to the immense capability of the Land Rover pedigree.
We were able to do a few jumps over the sand dunes and unlike other cars we’ve driven before over this surface it did not break into innumerable pieces nor did it get stuck into the depths of the sand. The sand mode makes sure that the torque is available all the time and the wheels don’t stall, hence preventing getting beached. Climb inside and you’ll be greeted by Coventry’s brilliant interior work.
With superior quality materials used and nice little touches like the full leather masked dashboard, it pleases you for being an absolutely high class cabin. And the seats are one of the best in the business with immense lower and upper back support and good amount of adjustability options on hand. The rear seats however are the best. I have had a few cars in the past that rival the Discovery Sport but none have been as spacious as the Discovery Sport with kilometres of leg room and wingspan wide shoulder room. The Si4 comes in the much loaded HSE variant which loses out a few tricks from the HSE Luxury that is available with the diesel engine. The interior scheme is a fixed beige and black with aluminium finish inserts here and there. I do miss the brilliant sounding Meridian surround sound system but that’s the sacrifice I am willing to make with an engine that sounds more sports car like than an SUV’s.
The HSE also gets smaller tires with fatter profiles which in my opinion are better in terms of comfort over thinner profiles on larger wheels which look great indeed. The Land Rover Discovery Sport Si4 makes a brilliant case for itself in the times of diesel ban and a need of a sporty petrol powered luxury car that is also frugal. We managed a healthy 11.8 kmph on our overall fuel efficiency calculation and were astounded by the credentials the Discovery Sport Si4 has and at 64.28 lakh rupees ex showroom Delhi it makes perfect sense to the young heart.