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Thu 25 May 2017 11:18 PM

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Tested: The Land Rover Discovery Sport

If all sport utility vehicles are meant to be a compromise, this could be the best compromise on the market

Tested: The Land Rover Discovery Sport

The sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment is still relatively new, but it has become such an important market that just about every manufacturer has a model.

By its name, it is meant to be a compromise. Today’s SUVs start with the classic four-wheel drive, off-road vehicle, and add comfortable trims, elegant interiors and better drivability on open roads. They are loaded with safety features and made to be an everyday car that can go everywhere.

Which begs the question: Is an SUV really a compromise or is it the only car you need?

In 2017, SUVs are designed more for city driving. Suspensions, bodies, transmissions, engines and tires are made to satisfy the 95 percent of drivers that never go off-roading. As a result, sport utility vehicles are actually city-driven cars with superior capability when it comes to traction, road clearance and towing possibilities.

Land Rover is legendary for its popular range of off-road cars, and it is one of the great players when it comes to being able to do the tough off-roading. Nevertheless, even Land Rover has had to adjust its product to satisfy the market, and the new Discovery Sport comes as a great surprise.

It falls into the compact SUV range, a little sister to the bigger Range Rover. I immediately found it one of the best “compromises” in the market. Let me explain: it maintains the core and the DNA of a Land Rover as far as the off-road skills are concerned, but it possess great maturity as well as the drivability of a non-SUV.

I found it light and safe on the road. Land Rover has found a great deal of balance amongst its chassis, its suspensions and the transmission system so it doesn’t feel like any sort of compromise. Instead, it makes you feel as though it is all the car you need. Don’t get me wrong, it will probably not outscore a Land Rover Defender when it comes to off-road capabilities, and it will not beat a sports car on the race track, but these are extreme situations that few of us face on a regular basis.

In the Land Rover Discovery Sport, you are in a modern, well-designed car that can do pretty much everything very well. Its interiors are very good and practical, there is plenty of space for a family of four plus the dog. In this car, you can travel at a decent speed, you are pampered by an excellent infotainment system and -- if necessary -- you can cross a river that is 60cm deep. The bottom line is that you feel good while driving it.

The engine is a small and super-efficient 2 litre turbo capable of 240 brake horsepower (BHP). It doesn’t sound like much in this day and age, but only a few years ago that would have been enough for a good Grand Tourer. Gear changing happens perfectly, steering is quite direct and precise, and there is minimal body roll in the corners.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is composed, smart and well-engineered. It ticks all my boxes when I look for a vehicle that can make me smile every time I drive, in every condition I meet, with or without passengers. There is zero stress. Compromises are not always good, but when they find that magic touch, they become the best of all worlds.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport

Tech specs:

Engine Layout: 4 in Line

Displacement: 1,999 cc

Power: 240 Bhp

Max Speed: 210 Km/h

Accel 0-100 Km/h: 7.8 seconds

Price: From AED176,500 ($48,054)

Rating: 8/10

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