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First Drive

First Drive: Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV

The story: Land Rover’s moves to electrify its range take another step with the Discovery Sport offering an EV-only range of up to 34 miles.
Key rival:BMW X3 PHEV
On sale:Now

Jaguar Land Rover’s PHEV brigade has swelled significantly in recent weeks, with the Jaguar E-Pace and F-Pace (see p34-35) and the Range Rover Evoque plug-in hybrids joining the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, and this Land Rover Discovery Sport just pipping the imminent Defender to become the first Land Rover-branded PHEV.

First Drive - May 2021 - Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV - Image 7It combines a 200hp 1.5-litre petrol engine and 80kW electric motor for a total of 309hp, as well as the important fleet figures of 44g/km and an EV-only range of up to 34 miles.

The PHEV is certainly brisk (0-62mph in 6.6 seconds) when both petrol and electric are on song, although there can be some frustrating periods where, when set on Hybrid mode, the engine kicks in and takes longer than expected off-throttle to revert to battery power. In Electric mode, there’s an adequate level of performance.

The PHEV is only offered in Land Rover’s higher trim levels of R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE and R-Dynamic HSE, which means it kicks off from £46,945, although the BiK advantage recoups a lot of the up-front cost. All bar the entry-level ICE Discovery Sports are in the top 37% BiK band, but the PHEV is in the 11% band, which also means £10 first-year VED versus the £895-£1345 road tax for the majority of the line-up.

First Drive - May 2021 - Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV - Image 1Unlike some other PHEVs, the Land Rover plug-in’s boot space is the same as the other five-seat Discovery Sport models; the compromise next to regular petrol or diesel models lies in the fact that you can’t have the third row of seats in the plug-in, although they are rather tight for all bar the smallest of passengers anyway.

Away from all of the new plug-in bits, the Discovery Sport remains a deeply comfortable and classy piece of kit, and also benefits from the infotainment upgrade that’s making its way across various Jaguar Land Rover cars for the new model year. So, the smart new Pivi Pro system sits front and centre in the Disco Sport’s dashboard. New 163hp and 204hp diesels will join the range soon, too.

paul barker

The verdict

The sensible Discovery Sport for company drivers, despite the high P11D price, once whole-life costs are factored in. It’s practical, comfortable, high-quality and classy, although running costs on some premium German rivals are better.