We’ve reviewed the Land Rover Discovery Sport before, and we even compared it to similar mid-size crossovers like the Lexus NX 200h, but automakers are constantly rolling out new options and packages to keep their popular models appealing, modern, and relevant. And for 2017, the Disco Sport receives a few attractive additions to pump up its allure, usability, and customizability.
The biggest add-on this year is the Dynamic Design Package (as shown in our pictures), which is available on the HSE and HSE Luxury trim levels. This transforms the Disco Sport to a bolder and more aggressive SUV with redesigned front and rear bumpers, integrated tailpipes (so they’re no longer sticking out like an eyesore), black accented badges, grill, roof, rear trunk panel, 20-inch wheels, and for the interior: contrast stitching on the seats, mats, and center dash side panels.
It may not sound like much, and $3,250 may sound like quite a bit of money, but this is the one cohesive package that uplifts the look of the vehicle. This is what the Disco Sport should have looked like to begin with. It’s got the sleek and aggressive Evoque-like front end with a wide grill and clamshell hood, but it keeps a more practical-sized rear end without a sloping roof. That not only makes for better outward visibility and a cavernous trunk, but it also pays dividends for tall passengers riding in the reclinable second row (third row seating is optional for $1,950).
We criticized the Discovery Sport when it first launched about its horrid infotainment system dubbed InControl Touch. It was laggy, unresponsive to inputs, and desperately needed a replacement (even though it was launched to be thereplacement). But Land Rover has spent some time reworking it and now offers a new and optional 10.2-inch touchscreen in a super-wide 21:9 resolution format. It almost feels like you’re watching an IMAX movie.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen is still the standard, but opt for the bigger screen and you’ll not only get crisper graphics and deletion of the awkward hard buttons on the side, but the screen is more responsive to touch, you can swipe, pinch, and scroll as you would on your smartphone, and the navigation maps are much clearer and easier to follow. The upgrade makes a huge difference in processing speed and usability, making daily commutes that much more bearable.
Though it may be an improvement over the standard screen it replaces, the system will still fumble around when using certain commands. For example, swiping left and right through the menu screen is lightning quick, but pressing the “seat” button to conjure up the screen to turn on the heated seats takes more than two seconds – or what seems like an eternity on a cold winter day.
The rest of the interior remains unchanged, except for the contrast stitching that runs around the seats and center panel. It’s a nice touch and livens up the cockpit with some flavour. The Disco Sport retains its high-up driving position, durable feeling materials, and go-anywhere personality, but everything feels modernized, expensive, and finally worthy of its price-tag compared to the Freelander and LR2 model that it replaced in 2015.
To round up the changes for 2017 are a few additional safety features: Driver Condition Monitor alerts sleepy drivers with visual and audible warnings, Intelligent Speed Limiter will help drivers stay within the speed limit by using cameras to detect traffic signs and slow the vehicle down to the required speed when prompted, and Lane Keep Assist will use the front camera to detect lane markings and offer vibrations and counter-steering to keep the driver in their lane.
Are the plethora of changes for 2017 enough to warrant a closer look? Most definitely. Though the laggy 2.0-litre engine may still be the only engine choice, it’s got quite a bit of grunt and a fantastic 9-speed transmission to match. X3 and Q5 owners used to their smooth silky German powertrains may feel that it is rough and unrefined, but the Discovery Sport’s charisma and brand-heritage are sure to keep this SUV on the short list. It’s upgraded infotainment system and styling only adds to that appeal.