Living on the Sunshine Coast, we often forget that there are other parts of the country worth visiting. A family trip to Victorian high country revealed a little bit of natural beauty and the latest offering from Land Rover, the Discovery Sport
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the name “Land Rover”, I have very specific memories that come to mind, and none of them are of anything remotely civilised.
Sometime in the late 80s, we had a County 110 which was a rattly bag of bones. Hardly the stuff of legend that always seems to surround the Land Rover name, but as with all icons, they are most appreciated when employed in context.
More appropriate then, is the memory of seeing the Camel Trophy teams roll into Darwin way back in 1986. These were from the days of proper wild safaris with no satcom, no GPS, just guts and toughness. It was an image that not even the wobbly old County 110 could shake from me.
Times, however, do change and so to do the requirements of contemporary adventurers. Thankfully this also changes the number of compromises that need to be endured.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a thoroughly modern piece of equipment and doesn’t leave modern adventurers wanting for comfort. Heated seats are provided front and rear. So too are power sockets and USB points for essential survival equipment (read: IPods and Sony Xperia smart phones).
Evident in the interior detail is an unfussy design complimented by a cohesive finish. It’s class without sass.
The full length glass roof allows for navigating by the stars (if you can’t work out the GPS) and the white leather seats ensured that we arrived at our destination, well rested and toasty warm. The latter being most important when you have a car load of Queenslanders and you’re approaching snow country.
Fortunately for us, when we did have to leave the comfort of the Discovery Sport, we were welcomed by the open arms of family. Whom even more fortunately own Silver Top Cottages, a set of three Cottages loaded with country hospitality, spa baths and double coated tim tams.
Even without the tim tams, the hugs were warm enough.
After hiring snow gear to head up to Mount St Gwinear the following day, including the compulsory to carry snow chains, we barely even tested the limits of capability, but in reality, we were in more danger of slipping over in our boots than slipping on the snow field access roads.
Rather it was the Head Up Display (oft times I’ve found somewhat superfluous) that saved the day as we rounded a corner. As I noted the displayed speed on the windscreen, tree branches strewn across the road from the previous days snow fall, came in to my field of view.
The speed that I was able to refocus, identify and negotiate the hazard means I will never again discredit HUD.
Of course the Disco Sport has plenty of other features that ease any concerns, so that you can get on with the job of enjoying a family adventure. To cover them all would extend this review another dozen pages so you can find them at the end on the Land Rover Technology Link.
For me, however, the features provided for peace of mind for everyday motorists, also appeal to my inner automotive enthusiast: Adaptive Dynamics and Torque Vectoring.
Without going too far into the details of how it works, instead let me tell you the end result. This is the first time I’ve driven an SUV like I would, a car. More than that, driven like a car I have owned and spent months gaining trust in. Constantly adaptive dampers provide minimised body roll, maximised grip and plenty of thrills. The tyres, never troubled enough to make so much as a squeal, dug deep and pointed true.
To put it in perspective, I was driving... a little faster than the speed at which my wife usually elbows me in the ribs, with no punitive recompense. Clearly it was more comfortable for both of us.
There are a few down sides. Both the GPS and “Ingenium” engine are both less than ideal when it comes to communication. The GPS sometimes give you directions just moments before the required turn and the turbo diesel despite masses of torque, can end up dawdling off the line if the 9 speed transmission has decided you wanted to coast.
Most modern vehicles are laden with technology. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is no different, and is complemented by an extensive list of options. Starting at around $56k you may find yourself well into 70k before you get exactly what you want. Included in that list is surprising value in pre purchased services and extended warranties.
I bring that last point up because warranties and services are priced on risk. That is, the lower the risk of warranty work, the lower the price imposed by manufacturers. Therefore, a low extended warranty cost is a demonstration that a marque is confident in the reliability of their product.
There is no single feature that the littlest Land Rover has over all other competitors.
What makes it such a good choice, is that you can feel how well all the features work together.
Our little adventure took us to see snow for the first time and family we don't see often enough. The Disco proved to be good looking inside and out, and a solid performer with just enough comfort and space.
A worry free adventurer.
What’s not to love? Well, the cold. But we made it back to the Sunshine Coast, so all's well that ends well.
Much more holiday snaps on Instagram #DiscoSportRoadTrip
Check out the Camel Trophy Defenders #INSTAIconLandRover
More technology Land Rover Technology