The Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 SE was named the Best Leisure Vehicle in the inaugural Cars.co.za Consumer Awards ceremony, which was held in Johannesburg on January 14 2016.
A leisure vehicle is designed for the adventure-seeking buyer; it needs to be the best-suited form of transport to a haul a family (plus all their holiday luggage and lifestyle gear) in comfort to almost any destination, on- or off-road. A measure of all-wheel drive ability is required, but the emphasis is on practicality, comfort and long-distance cruising.
In order to compete in the Leisure Vehicle category all vehicles had to meet specific criteria. The asking price could not exceed R700 000, the vehicles had to be equipped with electronic stability control, a minimum of six airbags, split or folding rear seats, a ground clearance of more than 180mm and an all-wheel drivetrain.
The vehicles were then judged against pillars of success such as: performance, space and practicality, in-car entertainment, comfort and all-surface ability.
Why did the Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 SE win?
Land Rover is extremely confident about its new Discovery Sport. It borrows styling cues from the smash-hit Evoque compact SUV and the Range Rover Sport premium SUV, it offers a spacious, luxurious cabin with seven seats, and boasts trademark Land Rover off-road ability.
This Discovery Sport SD4 is powered by a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that delivers 140 kW and 420 Nm of torque, the latter from only 1 750 rpm. Interestingly, it is mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission, and channels power to all four wheels.
Various driving modes are on offer, with the Terrain Response programme even offering an Eco mode for ultimate efficiency. It is a responsive vehicle that copes exceptionally well with a variety of driving situations and is also not shy to roll up its sleeves and do hard work – a 2 200 kg towing limit is quoted. A Trailer Stability control system is also fitted as standard, so this is certainly a vehicle designed for a leisure/family life. It is also economical, with a combined cycle consumption figure of 6.3 L/100 km being quoted.
The Discovery Sport's stylish, upmarket looks disguise a cabin that’s particularly versatilite. This model offers three rows of seats, with the two rearmost seats best suited for smaller children. The middle row offers sliding/reclining functions for additional occupant comfort and loading practicality. With the rear seats folded down, the luggage area is spacious and, with the middle row folded down, the loading area measures no less than 1 887 mm in length.
Land Rover South Africa Managing Director Richard Gouverneur accepts his trophy from Cars.co.za Consumer Experience Manager, Hannes Oosthuizen.
The Discovery Sport’s standard specification is generous, with features such as dual-zone climate control, plush leather upholstery and cruise control part of the package. The refinement and ride quality further contribute to an exceptionally comfortable drive.
This is a Land Rover, so significant off-road ability is a brand USP. In that regards, the Discovery Sport doesn’t disappoint. The Terrain Response system, which allows for the adjustment of engine, transmission, centre diff and chassis settings to specific off-road terrain requirements, endows the baby Disco with the ability to take the road less travelled. There’s even a maximum wading depth of 600 mm (hill-descent and hill-start assist are standard).
The Discovery Sport gets the new-generation Land Rover touchscreen infotainment system, an 8-inch colour system with navigation and Bluetooth audio streaming. A Meridian sound system with 17 speakers is optional, as are second and third row USB ports with charging functionality.
Opinion from the judges
“Given the Land Rover brand’s image at present as well as the package that the Discovery Sport represents, this is a vehicle that’s going to generate an awful amount of cash for its makers.” — Hannes Oosthuizen
“This vehicle is going to give rival brands massive headaches. Not only is it desirable in terms of brand and design appeal, but it does everything so well, too!” — David Taylor