The refreshed 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport has been revealed boasting an all-new platform underneath and improved interior appointments…but you’ll be hard pressed to spot the differences outside.

Usually a mid-life refresh is all about making an old car look new. Land Rover has gone about this one the other way about. It looks much like the four-year-old Discovery Sport, but it’s pretty much all-new underneath. Full pricing in Australia is yet to be released but the new Discovery Sport is available to order now with the range kicking off from $60,500+ORCs for the P200 S variant. Locally, the range will include: S – P200 (147kW); S – D180 (132kW); R-Dynamic S P200 (147kW); R-Dynamic S D180 (132kW); SE – P250 (184kW); SE – D1810 (132kW); R-Dynamic SE P250 (184kW); R-Dynamic SE D180 (132kW); HSE – D240 (177kW); and R-Dynamic HSE – D240 (177kW).

This 5+2 family SUV has been rebuilt on the new platform first seen in the all-new Range Rover Evoque. The key benefits are better fuel economy, greater refinement, a modern digital cockpit, and safety, both in avoiding a crash and surviving one.

New lighting units and front and rear facia mouldings are the most obvious change outside. An R-Dynamic trim pack aims at sportier cosmetics. New wheels go up to 21-inches in diameter.

refreshed 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Inside, you’ll spot more that’s new. A 10.25-inch centre-dash touchscreen is standard. High-range options include a digital driver’s cluster, with yet another screen in the lower console that controls vehicle and terrain options as well as climate – that’s the company’s characteristic ‘Touch Pro Duo’. A head-up display is also on the menu.

refreshed 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

All the seats are new. The front pair have optional back-massage motors, and the middle row can be heated. For family utility and versatility, the middle row now slides and has a 40:20:40 split.

A high-mounted rear-view camera puts its image onto the mirror, so your rear-view isn’t obscured by rear passengers’ heads, or luggage. It’s a feature that first appeared in the Evoque, but it’s more useful here because you might have five people sitting behind.

A set of low-mounted forward cameras enables a ‘transparent bonnet’ effect for manoeuvring, putting onto the dash screen an intimate view of the area between the front wheels.

refreshed 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

The vehicle’s underlying structure, which the company calls its ‘premium transverse architecture’, has a longer wheelbase than in the Evoque. It uses more high-strength steel than the original Discovery Sport, for better crash safety. It’s also re-shaped to allow for underfloor batteries.

Nearly all versions at launch have a 48V battery under the front seat to give mild hybrid assistance. Within a year there will be a plug-in hybrid version with a high-voltage battery in the rear floor (hence no seven-seat version of the PHEV). It will allow commuting distances on electric power alone.

New packaging also allows a bigger fuel tank (65 litre diesel, 67 petrol) and a 17 litre urea tank for the diesels.

The launch powertrain lineup uses most of the Evoque options. So they’re all 2.0-litre turbos. Diesel are 110kW, 132kW and 177kW. Petrols are 147kW and 184kW – a 7.1-second to 100km/h performer. The 110kW is available in some markets in FWD and manual. But everything else has nine-speed auto and all-wheel-drive. On higher-power engines the system includes torque-vectoring between the rear wheels.

New powertrain and chassis mounts are claimed to make things far more refined in road driving, as they did in the Evoque. Adaptive damping is an option for people who like to take a livelier approach.

refreshed 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

The wade depth is 600mm. Ground clearance is 212mm and the approach, departure and breakover angles are 25, 30 and 20 degrees. The AWD versions can scale a 45-degree slope, says Land Rover. Towing capacity is 2500kg, as before, but a new trailer tow assist system can autonomously control reversing steer angles.

This time, Land Rover is offering five-seat versions as well as the five-plus-two. Taking out the third row loses roughly 80kg. This improves fuel economy and acceleration. For instance as a five-seater the 132kW diesel is quoted at 11.1sec in the 0-100km/h run, and 5.9l/100km in the WLTP cycle. For the same-engioned seven-seater the numbers are 11.4 seconds and 6.1 litres/100km.

Question is, with such improvement underneath but little change on top, will potential buyers actually recognise its potential? And will existing owners care that their neighbours might not spot they’ve got a new car?


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About Author

Paul Horrell

Paul's working life has been paced out in cars. He began road-testing when the VW Golf was in its second generation. It's now in its eighth. He covers much more than the tyre-smoking part of the road-test landscape. He roots around in the financial machinations of the car corporations and the apparent voodoo of the technologies. Then he clarifies those complications so his general readers – too busy to lodge their heads up the industry's nether regions – get the fast track on what matters and what doesn't. A freelance writer living in London, he usually gets around the city by bicycle, which adds to his (sometimes justified) reputation as a bit green and a bit of a lefty. He's a member of Europe's Car of the Year jury.

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