Lizzie Pope
Digital Editor

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Tow cars’ written by Lizzie Pope
   
Behind the wheel of the least powerful Land Rover Discovery Sport, can it impress as much as its 178bhp sibling? Let's see what tow car potential it has!

It’s not often that our expert takes a tow car, hitches it to a caravan, puts it through our tough test regime and awards it a glittering five-star rating. But that’s exactly what happened when we tested the new Land Rover Discovery Sport in September.

This puts it in rarefied company. It’s hard to impress our experienced Tow Car Editor David Motton enough to earn a five-star verdict. So when you see it, you know this is one cracking tug.

The car in question was the 2.0-litre, 178bhp model, with 317lb ft torque. So when I was dispatched to drive its lesser-powered sibling, I was excited at the day ahead.

The baby of the bunch

Of course, ‘lesser-powered’ is all relative. The entry-point into the Land Rover Discovery Sport range gets you 148bhp and 280lb ft torque, again from a 2.0-litre engine.

It also means prices start at under £30,000. That’s for the Pure Spec Edition TD4 E-Capability 150PS 4WD model, which is £28,995 OTR.

The car we reviewed was from a few rungs up the trim ladder, an HSE E-Capability-spec example, which costs from £35,795 OTR, £45,165 as tested.

Even on a dull, wintery day, it certainly looked the part in its Scotia Grey paint and 18-inch alloy wheels. It would look very smart parked alongside your pride and joy on site.

And the good news is whatever you’re proud to call your home-from-home is likely to be a legal match for the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

This model may be 109kg down on the variant we tested before. But its 1775kg kerbweight gives a very healthy 85% match figure of 1508kg.

And, again, the maximum towing limit for this version might undercut that of its more powerful sibling, but 2000kg should still be sufficient for most people’s needs.

Out on the road

Superb stability and composure are traits you hope to discover when finding out what tow car ability a car has. And as in our earlier test, I must conclude that it feels ‘unshakeable’.

Of course, this was driving solo, not hitched to a caravan (although the £1140 electrically deployable tow pack option was fitted).

Four-wheel drive meant there were no concerns even on rural roads during our wet and murky test route, and will help provide traction if towing off a muddy pitch. There really is bags of grip, even when cornering at speed.

Down on power? Yes, of course there was less than in the car we tested before, and no thwack-in-the-back of torque to aid overtaking, either, but never did it feel lacking or strained.

That 148bhp peaks at a useful 3500rpm, while the full 280lb ft of torque is on board at just 1750rpm, right where you need it. It feels sprightly and pulls very well.

The six-speed manual transmission helps you get the best from this powerplant. It’s a lovely-to-use gearbox with a neat gate and a light, positive action.

Which means that because this is the kind of engine that encourages you to rev it, you can do so and hold it in gear as long as you want. It’s quick and eager to respond, encouraging you to make the most of it, despite the lack of any compelling soundtrack.

Everything where you need it

So, in performance terms, you’re not short-changed with this entry-level power unit, and from the driver’s seat there’s little to grumble about, too.

There’s nothing to add to Motty’s comprehensive rundown of the car’s spec. But writing as a driver far shorter and more feeble than our esteemed expert, it is worth noting that I had no trouble finding a comfy driving position, and that front and rear visibility were excellent.

The large dashboard dials were easy-to-read, the sat-nav was set at a usable height and the head-up display was a helpful feature (available on HSE-trimmed cars and above). The powered gesture tailgate (standard on all model specifications apart from SE) was great, too – and pulling the boot closed didn’t require Herculean strength, either.

Of course, you can buy more powerful tow cars for less. It’s as simple as that.

But few will be as secure on the road as a Land Rover Discovery Sport. That you also get to drive a car bearing this prestigious badge from less than £30,000 (be careful when ticking those options boxes!) is sure to give many food for thought.

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