2018 LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT REVIEW ON EDMUNDS.COM

The cumulative changes to the Discovery Sport over the last two years are significant. This year brings a new engine that comes in two different power-output levels, along with revisions to the front seats. Add those updates to last year’s changes to the infotainment system and the addition of an optional adaptive suspension, and the Discovery Sport has changed quite a bit.

In the past we knocked the Discovery Sport for its relatively slow acceleration, below-average fuel economy, brittle ride, overly firm seats and high cost, especially considering how much more luxurious competitors can be. The new, optional 286-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder adds a turn of speed but is a pricey extra, and fuel economy remains the same. The optional adaptive suspension, which should improve ride quality, is a stand-alone option. As far as cost goes, the market seems to have caught up — while the Discovery Sport gets pricey quickly when you start checking options boxes, so do its other European competitors. At least the revisions to the seats come standard.

Still, if the Disco Sport’s optional third-row seat or trick traction control that allows for more off-road and inclement-weather capability isn’t at the top of your list of priorities, there are a lot of great compact luxury SUVs to choose from. The redesigned 2018 Volvo XC60 is luxurious, modern and capable. The Audi Q5 has lots of excellent available technology and outstanding road manners. Top-tier Discovery Sports also compete with more entry-level trims of the Porsche Macan, which is a bit tight on the inside but is also one of the best-driving SUVs on the road. And that’s not to mention offerings from Acura, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and even Alfa Romeo. This is a crowded segment, and Land Rover has pinned its appeal on a few very specific strengths

what’s new

The 2018 Discovery Sport gains a few updates. Most notably, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine is now more powerful and efficient and is available with two different output levels. Changes have also been made to front-seat adjustments and comfort. Some changes have been made to trim-level equipment and options.

we recommend

The Discovery Sport HSE includes some extras that most luxury shoppers will be looking for, such as a power tailgate, leather seats, proximity entry, and front parking sensors. We also think a few important packages are worth considering: The Vision Assist package bundles blind-spot monitoring with a surround-view camera and upgraded headlights; the Cold Climate package adds heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated windscreen; and the Intelligent Dynamics package adds an adaptive suspension and a fuel-saving driveline.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport is a compact luxury SUV that comes standard with five seats, though an optional two-person third row raises capacity to seven. There are three trim levels: SEHSE and HSE Luxury. A more powerful engine is available for the HSE and HSE Luxury trims.

driving

We were impressed with the Discovery Sport’s handling and braking performance. Our biggest issue was the lackluster engine, which should be remedied by this year’s changes. While the Sport is not as rugged an off-roader as other Land Rovers, its traction system makes it competent in the dirt.

comfort

The new seats and optional adaptive suspension for 2018 should address some of our biggest concerns. The ride on the standard suspension was sharp, brittle and out of place in this class. There’s also more road noise than in some competitors.

interior

With lots of room for passengers and easy entry and exit, the Discovery Sport is a good people mover. It also gets high points for visibility and materials quality. Unfortunately, the interior design doesn’t feel especially luxurious, and the infotainment system can be laggy and too complicated.