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2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

$24,418 — $35,042 USED
Sport Utility
5-7 Seats
22 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?
(4.3) 7 reviews

The Good

  • Exterior styling
  • Interior space
  • Interior quality
  • Enormous moonroof
  • Sliding second-row seat

The Bad

  • Pronounced acceleration lag
  • Ergonomic challenges
  • Unsupportive seats
  • Third row is tiny
  • Lacks low gear for off-roading
  • Optional black roof looks wrong
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport
  • New model
  • Replaces LR2
  • Seats five or, optionally, seven
  • Standard &quot
  • partial&quot
  • leather
  • Eight-inch touch-screen

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

From the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport.

by Bill Jackson -

Outright excellence in the automotive world is a hard thing to attain, as it requires absolute attention to every detail. Everything needs to work well, look good and be in harmony while doing it.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a good-looking car with good interior quality and room, but it's let down by a disappointing driving experience and some poor ergonomics.

We tested a 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE with five seats. Notable options include an upgraded audio system, forward-collision warning with autonomous braking, and heated and ventilated seats. It cost $46,620 as equipped, including a $995 destination charge. The Discovery Sport is new for 2015 and shares its name with a larger, more off-road-capable Land Rover: the Discovery, last sold in 2004.

The Discovery Sport competes with other compact luxury SUVs, such as the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. Compare them here.

Exterior & Styling
The Discovery Sport carries a lot of familiar Land Rover appearance traits that are most obvious from the front and rear of the vehicle. Up front, the Discovery Sport shares the same grille pattern as other Land Rover SUVs, as well as headlight shape. Around back, there's a smallish rear window that sits on top of a large gate section.

From the side, the Discovery Sport has fairly short overhangs that can help in off-road situations, but in this case they may just serve to make the Discovery Sport look like it's ready to take on the off-road ...

by Bill Jackson -

Outright excellence in the automotive world is a hard thing to attain, as it requires absolute attention to every detail. Everything needs to work well, look good and be in harmony while doing it.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a good-looking car with good interior quality and room, but it's let down by a disappointing driving experience and some poor ergonomics.

We tested a 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE with five seats. Notable options include an upgraded audio system, forward-collision warning with autonomous braking, and heated and ventilated seats. It cost $46,620 as equipped, including a $995 destination charge. The Discovery Sport is new for 2015 and shares its name with a larger, more off-road-capable Land Rover: the Discovery, last sold in 2004.

The Discovery Sport competes with other compact luxury SUVs, such as the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. Compare them here.

Exterior & Styling
The Discovery Sport carries a lot of familiar Land Rover appearance traits that are most obvious from the front and rear of the vehicle. Up front, the Discovery Sport shares the same grille pattern as other Land Rover SUVs, as well as headlight shape. Around back, there's a smallish rear window that sits on top of a large gate section.

From the side, the Discovery Sport has fairly short overhangs that can help in off-road situations, but in this case they may just serve to make the Discovery Sport look like it's ready to take on the off-road world.

All in all, Land Rover has made the Discovery Sport look very much like the rest of the Land Rover range, but in a smaller package. It's a good-looking SUV.

How It Drives
Driving the Discovery Sport is frustrating because of a drivetrain that suffers from major acceleration lag. The Discovery Sport is powered by a 240-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 250 pounds-feet of torque. It's mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Whenever you press the gas to go faster, there's a pronounced wait … and then the power comes rushing on. You're forced to time your moves based on when the power is going to kick in, and kick in it does — sometimes pretty abruptly. Once everything gets sorted out the engine doesn't feel like it's lacking in power, but the overall performance is poor thanks to the lag and abrupt power delivery.

Some reviewers attribute this lag to the transmission, but I found that even when I was using our test car's paddle shifters to force the Discovery Sport to hold a lower gear, the lag was still present. I'm thinking it's the engine's problem.

There's a Sport mode, but it doesn't resolve the lag issue. It's designed to let the transmission hold on to each gear longer and provide a quicker response. It does hold on to gears longer around town, but the overall effect is negligible. It did not transform the Discovery Sport.

That's all a shame, because the rest of the Discovery Sport is much better, particularly the steering. It's light when you want it to be — around parking lots — and firms up so it's not darty on the highway.

Ride and handling are largely good. The Discovery Sport doesn't absorb bumps to the degree that other luxury SUVs do, especially other Land Rovers, but I wouldn't call the ride jarring by any stretch. There's enough compliance in the suspension that you notice a bit of lean in sharper turns, but then the suspension firms up and the lean doesn't get more pronounced. That helps it live up to the "Sport" part of its name.

The "Land Rover" part of its name is hard for the little SUV to live up to. Land Rover's full-size Range Rover SUVs have impressive off-road capabilities. Once the Discovery Sport hits the trails, it has to work harder to maintain traction on rocky inclines than other Land Rovers. It's not that the Discovery Sport is unfit for light off-roading, but it's one of the few Land Rover vehicles that's not fully off-road capable and doesn't have a dual-range transfer case. Also, the underside of the Discovery Sport doesn't appear to be designed for heavy off-road use, as you can tell from the photo gallery.

Finally, mileage is on par with its competitors. The Discovery Sport is rated 20/26/22 mpg city/highway/combined, which compares to 19/27/22 mpg for the RDX with all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive BMW X3 xDrive 35i is rated 19/26/21 mpg, and the GLK350 is rated 18/25/21 mpg with all-wheel drive. The Discovery Sport requires premium gas, as do the other three models listed.

Interior
The Discovery Sport has a roomy interior that belies its smaller size. There's a lot of room up front, which is surprising because the SUV has a large central tunnel/center console. I never felt cramped when driving the Discovery Sport.

It's the same story in the sliding backseat. I had plenty of head, hip and legroom and could stretch and move my legs around a lot. Read our Discovery Sport Car Seat Check here. It's also worth noting that the Discovery Sport offers an optional third-row seat. Our test model didn't come optioned that way, but others on staff who've sat in the Discovery Sport's third row report that it's tiny, best used for kids or emergencies.

The Discovery Sport's interior quality is good for the class. The hard plastic that's there is tucked out of touching range, and what you will normally handle feels and looks good. I find the GLK350 to have the best-looking interior of this group, but the Discovery Sport is so close in design and execution that this could be more a matter of personal taste than of material superiority.

This is not to say the Discovery Sport is perfect by any stretch of the imagination. By far, the biggest complaint I have is a lack of support in the seats. I really felt as if I were sitting on top of a bench, and no amount of adjusting could make me feel the Discovery Sport was holding me in any way. This discouraged any sort of spirited driving, and the fast driving I did do was spent with my arms bracing myself as best I could.

This lack of support is especially annoying as there's no dead pedal (foot rest) to speak of. What room there is for your left foot is both narrow and sloped, so my foot never felt like it was resting flat on a surface. It was also being pitched inward.

Lastly, visibility is mixed. To the rear, the small window/high hatch combination restricts visibility to the point I needed to rely on the backup camera more than the mirrors, as I would in another SUV. Also, looking ahead, the windshield pillars are raked at an angle that can hide pedestrians. I had more difficulty with this in the Discovery Sport than in other SUVs I've driven lately. On the highway, though, visibility was better and I was easily able to judge passing maneuvers and the like.

Ergonomics & Electronics
There are many things in this area that could be improved.

The best example is the available heated and ventilated seats. To use them, you have to press a button on the console that brings up a menu on the screen where you select heating or cooling. Interestingly, every other heated/ventilated seat I've ever used in which the heated seat comes on at its highest setting, to turn it down you touch the "heated" button on the screen again and it goes to the lower setting(s). With the Discovery Sport, you have to touch the "Cool" button to get it to go to a lower setting. That's something I suppose you could get used to, but the need to use both a button on the console and then the screen is objectionable.

Likewise, there's a knob to control radio volume but no knob to change the radio station. You have to do that on the screen, and the station-selection portion of the screen was too far away to reach comfortably for me and other editors.

The multimedia system gets mixed reviews. It has a pretty interface that matches the high-quality look of the interior. It's also a fairly intuitive interface; it's easy to find what you need, and there are a couple of options for how the home screen can look. Also, the available navigation and media system responds quickly once you reach the screen.

However, there's a bit of lag when swapping between systems — from navigation to radio, for example. Also, more than one editor reported problems connecting a smartphone through Bluetooth and maintaining the connection.

By far the most annoying feature for me, though, was the backup camera, which comes standard. Instead of the usual reminder advising drivers to check all their surroundings when reversing, the Discovery Sport has the lettering appear in a dark band that — while I'm sure it looked lovely in some software designer's mind — obscures a large portion of the camera's view until it disappears. Frequently, I'd put the Discovery Sport in Reverse, wait for the screen to clear, then start reversing. It got old after a while, and the Discovery Sport's limited rear visibility added to the frustration with the camera setup. Others do this better.

There was, however, one feature that the Discovery Sport mastered better than any other car I've ever driven: the automatic windshield wipers. I normally don't use the rain-sensing setting for windshield wipers because I usually find them either too sensitive — triggering at the slightest dribble of rain — or too inattentive. The Discovery Sport's system never disappointed me in many wet drives. It provided the right amount of clearing whether I was in a steady rain, mist or drizzle.

Cargo & Storage
The cargo area was large in our two-row test model, with ample room behind the seats even though the overall cargo area is a bit narrow. The specs show the Discovery Sport's cargo volume is greater than that in the RDX, X3 or GLK. The Land Rover has a maximum luggage volume of 66.9 cubic feet, compared to 61.3 (RDX), 63.3 (X3) and 54.7 (GLK) in its competitors.

In-cabin storage is decent, with a larger center console and a number of cubbies and cupholders in the cabin. One thing to note: If two people are bringing drinks and using the center cupholders, the armrest will not extend to a place where it can be of any use. So you can have two people using the cupholders or you can use the armrest. Simple as that.

Safety
The Land Rover Discovery Sport has not been crash-tested by our preferred safety organization, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nor has it been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Our test model included the optional Driver Assist Plus Package with autonomous emergency braking — a feature that can bring the car to a stop in an emergency — and lane departure warning. Standard features include hill descent control and emergency brake assist. You can browse the full list of safety features here.

Value in Its Class
The Land Rover Discovery Sport disappoints in some ways, but where it succeeds — interior room and exterior looks — are likely enough to attract many buyers. Add in the fact that the Discovery Sport can be had with third-row seats and that its price isn't outlandish when compared with the RDX, X3 and GLK-Class, and it's easy to see the Discovery Sport as a competitive entry in that field.

Still, I just can't see driving the Discovery Sport getting any more enjoyable or familiar with age. The drivetrain lag that I didn't like when I first got in the SUV was just as objectionable at the end of my test. And, while I learned to adjust my expectations to deal with the touch-screen controls and ergonomic challenges, there was still that little part of my brain that kept saying, "This is wrong." It would be incorrect to say familiarity breeds contempt in this case, but familiarity didn't make me fall in love with the Discovery Sport, either.

Perhaps what's most damning is that even though the Discovery Sport is aimed upmarket, throughout my test I kept finding myself comparing the car to our Jeep Cherokee long-term test model that cost about $12,000 less than the Discovery Sport. I found the Jeep's interior to be almost as good as the Discovery Sport's. The driving experience was no more or less objectionable, and the Jeep's multimedia setup was superior. As the Jeep Cherokee wasn't beloved in our office, that's not a good thing for Land Rover.

In the end, the success of the Discovery Sport will likely ride on its room and its looks, not anything that happens when you drive it or use its electronics.

Send Bill an email  


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.3
7 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.0)
(5.0)

Love the look of it

by MarnyDawn from Phoenix on August 9, 2018

Land rovers are fun to drive! They look great! They are not the best made cars though? It is not the German engineering of a BMW or an Audi? But they are off-road capable and still a lot of fun to own ... Read full review

(5.0)

Well built machine!

by Gregg Mock from Sicklerville, NJ on October 7, 2017

It's Beautiful. Inside and out. One of my best investments ever. With me it's about trust and accountability and this is what these guys guys major in. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport currently has 2 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport has not been tested.

Latest 2015 Discovery Sport Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Discovery Sport received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

A

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

B

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker