When it comes to sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, high-end buyers in the country typically have the Land Rover brand on their mind. But what the Land Rover is really known for perhaps, are the off-roading capabilities that it brings to the table. And that’s exactly what the Discovery Sport is about, though it has other tech features too.
The car has a Terrain Response system, which allows it to change the driving response based on the driving conditions. So, the car can adjust the vehicle’s differentials, transmission, engine and chassis to improve the drive and make off-roading easier and more comfortable. It includes terrain response systems for grass, snow, mud, gravel and sand.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport also has a Hill Descent Control (HDC) system. Off-roading enthusiasts may already know about this, but it’s interesting technology nevertheless. HDC allows the driver to maintain constant speeds when on inclines or hilly terrains. It’s essentially a version of cruise control for such terrain (the Discovery Sport also has regular cruise control for driving on highways). With this, the driver sets a speed in advance and can let go of the accelerator thereon. The vehicle gauges how steep the incline is, and adjusts the speed accordingly when you’re descending. In the meanwhile, the driver can focus on steering only.
Atop steep inclines, this feels somewhat similar to being on a roller-coaster, before it starts descent. The Discovery Sport ensures that the driver doesn’t have to suddenly hit the brakes and endure jerks. While climbing, the car also has a Hill Start Assist feature. This, as in many other cars, keeps the vehicle from rolling downwards when you’re almost stationary when queuing up a flyover.
While that covers the Discovery Sport’s off-roading features, the car has a little more technology to offer for the regular tech enthusiasts, though these may easily pale in comparison to many luxury cars.
Depending on which model you’re buying, the car has a 8- or 10-inch touchscreen. This gives you access to the infotainment system, which has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. You can connect your phone to this to take calls, play music etc., but it does not support Apple Carplay or Android Auto.
Instead, the Discovery Sport has its own in-house solution called In Control, which allows somewhat better useability while driving. With this, you can access versions of apps that are meant specifically for vehicles. Some of the partners here are Zomato, Spotify and NDTV, but one wonders why Land Rover would leave out Android Auto or Apple Carplay support when those would give wider app support and easier access.
The touchscreen system is somewhat slow, which can be distracting if you try to use it while driving. That said, it is in no way a major impediment. The Discovery Sport also has steering controls for changing music, voice support, taking calls, etc., but it doesn’t get the Range Rover Velar’s touch system here. That makes sense, since the Velar is the company’s more premium vehicle.
Lastly, you also get Meridian speaker systems in the top variants of the Discovery Sport. This could vary between the 380 watt 11 speaker system or the 825 watt 17 speaker system, depending on the model you buy, but both are adequate for listening to music, radio etc. It doesn’t hold a candle to the Volvo V90 Cross Country’s in-car speaker system but it’s definitely not something that would disappoint non-audiophiles. There are 80W and 190W Land Rover audio systems in lower variants of the Discovery Sport, which we haven’t tried.
In essence, the Discovery Sport is a car that’s focused on those wanting to buy an SUV, or interested in off-roading. Its off-roading capabilities are great, and it packs in interesting technology for the same. It’s not the most tech-driven car as a whole, but it’s unlikely that the target market would care either.