Land Rover's Least Pricey Model Due for Makeover, Plug-in Variant
The Discovery Sport serves as an entry point to the Land Rover lineup, retailing in the U.S. for $37,795 before delivery and offering a similarly sized, cheaper alternative to its Range Rover Evoque platform mate.
Two flavors of four-cylinder power is your only option in this model, but that might not be the case for long. Land Rover apparently has big changes in store for its lowest-rung model.
According to Autocar, the Discovery Sport undergoes a significant revamp for 2020, and should make its public debut early next year. More than just a refresh, the model is expected to ditch its D8 platform in favor of heavily revised underpinnings. Land Rover’s Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), also bound for the next-gen Evoque, is stiffer than its compact predecessor, and should return improved ride quality.
A new engine mount design and transmission is said to improve throttle response by 40 percent, while minor changes to the body yield a drag reduction of 10 percent. That’s not the only fuel-saving trick Land Rover has planned. A hybrid version of the model will appear (though whether it will be available at launch isn’t known), combining a new three-cylinder Ingenium engine with an electric motor. A plug-in hybrid variant is also on the horizon, as are mild hybrid models.
Just how far a Discovery Sport PHEV might drive on electric power alone remains to be seen. However, with three rows of seating on tap, the model would serve as a suitable upscale rival to Volvo’s XC90.
Multiple green powertrain offerings are essential in Europe, where newfound government pressure makes diesel power an increasingly unpopular option. In the U.S., Land Rover might not feel the need to offer the same level of environmental stewardship. We’ll see.
Currently, Discovery Sports can be had with two turbocharged 2.0-liters — one offering 237 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, the other boasting 286 hp and 295 lb-ft. Over the first half of 2018, sales of the Discovery Sport fell 18.8 percent in the U.S.
[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]
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