2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

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The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Brian León Brian León Contributing Writer
July 6, 2020

Buying tip

Be prepared to spend more for the Discovery Sport you want, as active safety features and more aren’t available until higher trim levels.

features & specs

HSE R-Dynamic 4WD
S R-Dynamic 4WD
19 city / 24 hwy
19 city / 24 hwy
19 city / 24 hwy

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is practical and plenty capable off-road, but less comfortable and less efficient than other luxury crossovers.

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport attempts to be all things to all SUV buyers: spacious, comfortable, practical, capable, and even affordable. While it nails some traits, others are less of a success. We give it a TCC Rating of 6.4 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, the Disco Sport gets a thorough mid-cycle refresh that includes styling updates, powertrain changes, option shuffling, and additional standard features. A mild-hybrid version is now available, and expanded tech is standard or optional, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Discovery Sport sticks modern Land Rover design details on a conventional crossover SUV shape with mixed results. New headlights echo those of the larger and more capable Discovery, but there are Range Rover-esque bits like the wheels and optional black accents. Gone are the days when the Disco wore blocky styling and featured a tall rear end with “Alpine Light” windows. The interior is similarly conventional, emphasizing function over form with pretty conventional results.

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An updated 2.0-liter turbo-4 motivates most Discovery Sport models, this year with 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Coupled with a 9-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, the Disco Sport is plenty punchy right out of the box. New for 2020 is a mild-hybrid powertrain that adds a bit of electric wizardry to (attempt to) improve the stop/start system and cut down on fuel consumption. It’s only available on the top-tier R-Dynamic HSE model but returns 286 hp and 295 lb-ft and apparently no benefit to fuel economy. No low-range gearbox is available, but Land Rover’s advanced traction management system is improved and now standard, giving this family crossover more off-road capability than most. Ride and handling are about on par with the rest of the segment, though the ride is somewhat firm.

The Discovery Sport has an optional third row seat, but it’s short on everything: head room, leg room, and cushioning. We’d stick to the front five chairs, which are still flat and somewhat hard, and use the rear for its ample cargo space.

Though well-equipped from the start, the Discovery Sport climbs quickly up the price ladder. A budget Land Rover, this is not. Top-tier HSE R-Dynamic models fetch well over $53,000 with options, making many more compact luxury SUVs seem very competitive.

Though crash test data is nowhere to be found and fuel economy is average at best, the list of crossovers that offer the level of off-road capability and cargo room the Discovery Sport does is very short, making it an ideal vehicle for a very specific buyer.


2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport


The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is handsome, but it’s also forgettable, like a daytime soap opera star.

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is sleek and handsome, but that’s the norm for crossover SUVs these days. Styling updates for 2020 help things along to a style rating of 7 out of 10. 

If you squint really hard, the updated Discovery Sport could easily be mistaken for a Range Rover model or its larger Discovery sibling. That’s exactly what Land Rover’s designers want, but it’s not quite enough to pique our interest. Old LR4, LR3, and previous Discovery models had a boxy but unique shape, and this model, despite being distilled to a cheaper SUV, lacks a lot of the character of its namesakes.

Still, the new headlights and taillights, sculpted front bumper, and neat touches like badges on the C-pillar are enough to make it look handsome, if somewhat anonymous.

The interior is similarly reserved, if not more so. Neat details like brushed metal pillars that hold up the center stack give a more premium feel, but there’s not much at all to get excited about here.

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2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport


The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is for those who want a little extra helping of off-road ability to go with their crossover SUV.

Land Rover has spent decades developing its reputation for off-road performance, and the 2020 Discovery Sport, despite its humble underpinnings, delivers on that reputation. We give it 7 out of 10 here for its chops both on- and off-road. 

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 that powers all Disco Sports gets some extra grunt this year, with 246 hp and 269 pound-feet of torque on tap, an increase of 9 hp and 18 lb-ft over last year. A mild-hybrid system is also new, and exclusive to the top-tier HSE R-Dynamic model. Bumping power to 286 hp and 295 lb-ft, it’s certainly got some extra grunt to go with an improved start/stop system, but the fuel economy benefit isn’t really there (more on that later).

A 9-speed automatic is standard, as is an all-wheel-drive system with several traction management modes. While the transmission operates smoothly most of the time, it gets easily confused and indecisive if pushed, and no low-range gearbox for off-roading is available.

We’re impressed with the Discovery Sport’s ability off the beaten path despite its conventional crossover SUV architecture and dimensions. The selectable terrain modes really make a difference based on what you choose, and while we wouldn’t take it rock climbing, there’s hardly a dirt road this SUV won’t go down.

On-road manners are fine enough, though not as plush as a Range Rover or as dynamic as a Range Rover Sport. The suspension is somewhat firm too, though if you ever aim to take your crossover off-road, we’re sure you won’t be cursing it.

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2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is spacious and practical, but only if you stick to five occupants at the maximum.

Though it technically seats up to seven, five passengers should be more than comfortable in the 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport, though not for too long. We give it 7 out of 10 here.

Front seats are supportive if slightly flat and hard, but eight-way adjustment is standard as is leather upholstery, so most behinds won’t mind. Outward vision is good out of the front, and the first and second rows sit high for a commanding view.

The rear bench slides six inches fore and aft, meaning rear seat riders can have much more leg room without affecting the front seats. A third-row bench is available, but it’s flat, hard, and barely suitable even for children. If you can, save your cash and make use of the massive cargo hold, which sports 34.6 cubic feet of space, jumping to 62.8 cubic feet with the second row folded flat.

Though not a Range Rover by any means, the Disco Sport has a modicum of luxury about it, including standard leather, soft-touch plastics, and real metal accents. Costs had to be cut somewhere though, so there are more than enough hard plastic surfaces to find without looking too hard.

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2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport


The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport hasn’t been tested for crashworthiness.

A relatively low sales volume keeps the 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport from any crash test results, so we’re unable to give it a score here. 

Unfortunately, Land Rover hasn’t seen fit to give the Discovery Sport active safety tech as standard, though a variety of features are at least available on every model. Adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system are all optional through various packages and stand-alone options, or standard on higher-trim models.


2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport


The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is reasonably well-equipped, but is missing some key features as standard.

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is well-equipped as standard, but some key features are extra that we’d like to see included. For that and its quickly climbing price, we give it 7 out of 10 here, mostly due to a decent infotainment system and options list.

The base Discovery Sport comes with all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, and a 10-inch touchscreen navigation system with Bluetooth for $38,795 (including $995 destination charge). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are optional as part of a $300 package, as are most active safety features, unfortunately.

The S trim starts at $42,495 and includes 12-way power front seats, satellite navigation with traffic updates, and a few more features, while the SE model gets 19-inch wheels, a fully digital 12.3-inch driver information display and additional safety features for $45,595. We’d ante up for this model, just to gain that critical safety gear.

R-Dynamic models start with the S trim and include sportier styling on the fender flares, wheels, and more. The R-Dynamic S includes unique 18-inch wheels, and the same features as the regular S model, but this time for $44,095, while the R-Dynamic SE adds dark 19-inch wheels, premium LED headlights, and the same equipment as the SE model for $47,145.

Finally, the R-Dynamic HSE that sits at the top of the range gets the mild-hybrid engine for a horsepower bump, 20-inch wheels, 14-way seats with red stitching, a rear mirror camera, Meridian audio, and all the active safety features available for $53,795.

That’s exactly a $15,000 difference between the top and bottom of the range, and as you might imagine, the sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle. We say skip the R-Dynamic treatment to save a bit, no matter how cool it looks.

While Jaguars get an extended warranty with free maintenance, Land Rover offers 4-year/50,000-mile coverage.

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2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport is not very efficient for its class at 21 mpg combined.

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport doesn’t fare well at all in terms of fuel economy, not even with the help of a new mild-hybrid engine. We give it 4 out of 10 here.

Additional power this year drops the Disco Sport’s fuel economy numbers to 19 mpg city, 24 highway, 21 combined, barely better than some SUVs much larger than it. The mild-hybrid system doesn’t help things either, as it gets the same rating as the model without it, but at $15,000 more than base. We’re not sure why the hybrid system is there at all to be honest, save a modest bump in power and torque.

Premium fuel is required, and the EPA estimates the average fuel cost at $2,300 per year.

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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 4
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