Land Rover Discovery: much-loved off-roader goes green

This new hybrid Land Rover Discovery is highly energy-efficient, but it remains a joy to drive. Nicole Garcia Merida reports

The Land Rover badge coupled with plug-in hybrid capability will “likely be enough to convince a small mountain of buyers” to try this new hybrid Discovery Sport, says Matt Bird on PistonHeads. The “sheer number” of Discovery Sport models already on the road attests to their popularity and hybridisation was a natural next step. 

The “chunky” SUV can dash to 62mph in under seven seconds and it hits top speeds of 130mph. It’s also able to reach around 40 miles on electric power alone “and you’d have to be a long way from the catchment area for that to be used up in a school run”. Because hybridisation “was always part of the plan”, the car seamlessly accommodates its new electric motor and 15kw battery pack. The new 1.5-litre engine “memorably and effectively” boosts the hybrid to a “competitive level”, supporting the electric motor “without fuss or delay”. 

The engine “emits a typically pleasant three-pot thrum when used hard”, says Steve Cropley on Autocar, and the electric equipment smoothly awakens the car at traffic lights, with a “decent proportion” of the car’s power coming from its hybrid mechanism. “Integration seems excellent.” The steering and handling also “set a high standard” and the car is “compact” enough to be comfortable to drive in modern conditions. The ride is “supple and smooth”, the electric element keeps noise levels low and its energy consumption figures are simply “staggering”. Carbon-dioxide emissions come in at just 32g/km (the UK average is 122.1g/km), giving the Sport a company car tax rate of just 10%. That should help the car to impressive sales figures, but “those who buy it for tax reasons will soon discover they’ve chosen a good car into the bargain”. 

The styling remains similar to its fossil-fuel-consuming sisters because owners are more interested in knowing they’re “doing their environmental bit rather than virtue signalling the fact to all and sundry”, says Keith Jones on Car Magazine. And the adoption of an electric motor doesn’t affect its four-wheel-drive credentials, says John McIlroy on Auto Express. It has “bags of grip to give you confidence” no matter what the driving conditions, it can “glide around town without much effort at all” and, on the open road, the drive is “every bit as accomplished” as you’d expect from a Land Rover. 

Price: from £47,000; Engine: 1.5-litre 3cyl petrol plus electric motor, 15kWh battery; Power/torque: 304bhp/540Nm; 0-60pmh: 6.2 seconds; Top speed: 130mph

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