Land Rover Sets Out to ‘Rediscover’ the Compact SUV Segment

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Source: Land Rover

Land Rover (NYSE:TTM) has been on fire recently with its overhauled slate of new vehicles, from the range-topping Range Rover to the entry-level Evoque. Hoping to cash in on that sales magic (the Range Rover was the fastest selling vehicle in August, with a sales turnover time of 12 days), Land Rover has pulled the ropes off the new Discovery Sport, which bumps the Evoque from its place on the bottom of Land Rover’s ladder as sort of an ‘Evoque Lite.’

At $37,995 at its cheapest, the Discovery Sport will undercut the Evoque by about about $4,000, making it the most affordable Land Rover on the market when it hits early next year. It’s slated to replace the now thoroughly dated LR2, and it costs about $1,000 more than the former. This means that it’s playing in the same arena as the new Lincoln MKC, the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes GLK in terms of pricing and equipment, but the Discovery will be the only member of its class to offer a 5+2 seating configuration.

“Our challenge has been to combine premium design with exceptional versatility; the two attributes must work in harmony,” Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s Design Director and Chief Creative Officer said in the company’s press blast. “I’m proud to say we’ve achieved that; Discovery Sport’s dynamic design will resonate on an emotional level with consumers, and this vehicle is more versatile than any other premium compact SUV on the market.”

At base, the Discovery will come standard with Land Rover’s 240 horsepower 2.0 liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine, with diesel options available internationally. It wasn’t announced, but it’s not hard to imagine that the supercharged V6 might find its way in as an optional extra down the road; that unit is already available in other Range Rover models, and in many of Jaguar’s cars as well. The Discovery will use the nine-speed automatic transmission that’s made by ZF and also found in the Evoque.

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The Discovery comes with long-travel suspension, and an innovative rear axle that gives the Discovery as much off-road prowess as its larger siblings are known for. If it can deliver in the real world, the Discovery might have a very real shot at shaking up the already teeming luxury compact SUV segment.

Notably, however, the interior takes on a more pedestrian feel than the more upscale Rangies offer, emphasizing Land Rover’s desire to make a vehicle that’s more on par with the every day needs of families who are looking for a daily driver and less of a rock-crawling limousine. It offers more leg space than the Audi or Mercedes, and there’s a more down-to-earth atmosphere inside the cabin than there is in the swanky Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.

“Not only does Discovery Sport mark the introduction of the first new member of our expanding Discovery family, it also brings the versatility of 5+2 seating to the compact premium SUV market,” Jaguar Land Rover’s Marketing Director Phil Popham said. “Discovery Sport’s versatility is a key differentiator. It is quite simply the most accomplished vehicle in its segment.”

As far as technology is concerned, the Discovery will be available with a Head-Up Display, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, tilt-and-slide row-two seating, a first-in-class pedestrian airbag, and autonomous emergency braking. True to tradition, the Land Rover will be built in Liverpool, England at the company’s Halewood facility. 

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