2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport first drive: More than a nip and tuck

Both Discovery Sports are available to order with the punchier R-Dynamic treatment (more aggressive bumpers, that kind of thing), which is essentially extra garnish sprinkled over S, SE and HSE trims. Pricing starts from $37,800 for the P250, while the P290 is available only as a HSE, hence it’s a significant step up with a base price of $52,800. Caveat time: we’re testing the P250 mild-hybrid, which isn’t coming to the U.S.
On passive dampers and 20-inch alloys (18s are standard, with 21s now offered for the first time thanks to PTA too), the Discovery Sport is an impressive driver, if more for its comfort and refinement than any true sportiness. It rides with plush compliance, isolates its occupants well from wind and road noise at a 70-mph cruise, and the four-cylinder engine is generally smooth and unobtrusive in typical driving – especially as the stop-start activates so readily at up to 11 mph under braking and helps hide a ticky idle. You might also feel the little torque boost from the mild-hybrid system; it helps compensate for any turbo lag and lends a certain energy when you pull away.
On challenging sweepers high above Barcelona, the Discovery Sport’s chassis is secure and competent, with neutral handling that scrubs safely to understeer, and a little lag between steering input and generous body roll. The 2.0-liter feels underpowered and raspy when gunned hard (no shock given 246 hp is trying to motivate roughly 4,200 pounds (remember, U.S. models with this much power won’t have the extra hybrid weight) and the ZF nine-speed gearbox either struggles to deliver the right ratio on time when left in the sport auto mode, or can thunk when you go manual.