2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport is here, and though it's not quite as the space-age as the concept it's a pretty attractive SUV with an aggressive price and what looks like solid capability on paper. Also, I'm glad the "Discovery" badge is back in America.

This vehicle will hit US dealerships in early 2015 starting at $37,995, where it will replace the LR2 (Freelander) and be sold alongside the LR4 (Discovery in 170 other markets) presumably until that is phased out.

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

Construction

The Discovery Sport is a unibody vehicle with a shell made of "high-strength steel, ultra high-strength boron steel and lightweight aluminum." A and B pillars are made of hot-stamped boron steel to maximize protective strength in a crash and minimize blockage of the driver's visibility.

Hood, front fenders, roof and tailgate are all aluminum.

While the Discovery Sport is considered a new platform, some front end architecture and components including a magnesium crossbeam "for high torsional rigidity and weight savings" are brought over from the Range Rover Evoque

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

Engine & Transmission

The US market Discovery Sport will ship with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 240hp at 5,500rpm and 250 lb.-ft. of torque from just 1,750 RPM. Fuel economy has not yet been discussed.

The same ZF 9-Speed automatic transmission that's in the Range Rover Evoque is standard, which can be shifted via paddles if the driver desires. A Haldex All-Wheel Drive system puts power to the wheels.

In other markets the Disco Sport will get two diesel engine options, a 2WD option, and three-pedal six-speed manual. Though even the stripped, row-your-own 2WD diesel starts at $50,000 in jolly old England, so I maybe we should stop complaining about new car taxes over here.

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

Tech

A 5-inch screen between gauges provides supplementary vehicle information you won't need but love to look at, optional heads-up display feeds you even more, and an 8-inch 800x480 pixel resolution center touchscreen controls pretty much everything else. Including "mood lighting," which can be cycled through colors.

Lane departure warnings, blind-spot screamers and tech that reads street-signs and reminds you to obey them (yikes) will be optional.

Four 12v outlets and 6 USB charging points are strewn throughout the SUV.

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

Dimensions & Shape

Vehicle has a 107.9" (2,741mm) wheelbase, and an overall length of 180.7" (4.59 mm). Land Rover says that means you're cool to use "compact only" parking spaces, which must mean this thing is a lot smaller than the concept looked at the New York Auto Show last year.

An acoustic laminated windshield helps keep the interior quite, while rear aero splitters are designed to do the same and shed mud easily.

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

Off-Road

The Discovery Sport features an impressive 13.4" (340mm) of wheel articulation and 8.3" (212mm) of ground clearance. Approach, departure and breakover angles of 25º, 31º, and 21º respectively which is reasonable. Water fording depth hasn't been published yet.

Land Rover is claiming the SUV can climb a 45º grade, and that the front bumper "is removable to improve approach angle" but they didn't say anything about "quick-release."

Hydraulic rebound stops in the suspension struts are designed to reduce noise when the shocks rebounds after a big old bump.

Skid plates below protect the undercarriage, and of course Land Rover's Terrain Response manages gears, brake application, and throttle in steep drops and climbs on all kinds of surfaces.

The Discovery Sport will be shipping out with Continental CrossContact LX Sport tires as standard, which are upscale crossover/SUV all-seasons. Meatier rubber will help you out in the mud, at the expense of fuel economy of course.

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

Interior

"Stadium seating" puts second-row passengers sit 2" (50mm) higher than folks up front. That second row has 60/40 split seatbacks, recline, and 6.3" of rearward sliding.

Don't worry, storage and cupholders are reportedly abundant.

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

Cool Options

Besides driver-assisting tech there's a "black badges and trim" option, seven choices of wheels, and optional black or silver accent roofs.

Of course, the panoramic sunroof is pretty much be the best option in the catalogue.

Pricing on options has not yet been released, but I expect the top of the range to land in the mid-$50's.

Colors

Paint options are "Fuji White, Santorini Black, Corris Grey, Indus Silver, Loire Blue, Scotia Grey, Kaikoura Stone, Firenze Red, and a limited edition color, Yulong White." Inside you can have "Ebony, Cirrus, Ivory, Almond or Tan."

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Climbs 45º Hills, Starts Under $40k

Images: Land Rover