Skip to main content
car review

Look what I can do!

Says the littlest Land Rover as it wades through a glacial river somewhere in Iceland.

Look what I can do!

It says as it crests another snow-capped volcanic mountain.

Look what I can do!

As it bounds along another icy road without ever slipping a wheel.

To say Land Rover likes to show off is an understatement. This is the car company that drove across the Darién Gap twice, drove halfway around the world from London to Singapore, and more recently raced across the Qatari desert. Someone somewhere at Land Rover figured this would be a fun way to sell more cars. And it worked. Drivers, it turns out, want deeply to feel invincible, but it's more than that – you want to feel like you're ready for an adventure even if, let's face it, you're not likely to go on one in your family car.

All of which goes some way to explaining why Land Rover launched its new entry-level model in the wilds of Iceland.

It may be classified as a compact SUV, but the British engineers managed to fit two folding third-row seats in the Discovery Sport, six USB outlets, nearly as many cup holders, an all-glass panoramic roof, and plenty of leg room.

The platform is shared with the less practical, more luxurious Range Rover Evoque. Both cars use a nine-speed automatic transmission and 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque.

Even with four adults aboard, the Discovery Sport clambered up steep boulder infested slopes with ease in the pitch black of Iceland's winter days. Turn the leather steering wheel, and the car tracks true. It's not fun to drive so much as it is safe and confidence inspiring. (Although, it's important to note here our test cars were all wearing studded tires.)

More shocking than the river crossing and ice climbing though is the Disco's starting price: $41,490. It undercuts German rivals by thousands of dollars, and may be low enough to entice buyers away from mass-market brands.

Now, go watch SNL's "Look what I can do" skit and laugh.

The 2015 Discovery Sport will go on sale in Canada this spring, effectively replacing the LR2 in Land Rover's lineup.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

You'll like this car if … You dream of one day driving across the Sahara/Arctic/Himalayas – with your entire family.

TECH SPECS

  • Base Price: $41,490; as tested: $49,990
  • Engine: 2.0-litre turbo I-4
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 11.2 city/8.4 highway (US EPA)
  • Drive: All-wheel drive
  • Alternatives: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer Sport, Kia Sorento, Honda CR-V, non-premium cars do 5+2 in compact SUV segment

RATINGS

  • Looks: Not as sultry as the Evoque, but the Discovery Sport continues Jaguar Land Rover’s streak of stylish cars.
  • Interior: Hard to believe they crammed a third row of seats into this compact SUV, but they did.
  • Performance: The tiny motor is surprisingly punchy, but is perhaps lacking in refinement. Off-road, it’ll happily go where its peers dare not.
  • Technology: Seven USB outlets. Yes, seven. Oh, and it also has Land Rover’s still-not-perfect-but-much-improved next-generation touchscreen infotainment setup.
  • Cargo: Cavernous, so long as you’d don’t put those third row seats up.

THE VERDICT

7.5 (out of 10)

Good price, absurd off-road ability, family-friendly, solid feel – not much to complain about.

Like us on Facebook

Add us to your circles.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.