Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rover's Discovery Sport was a big success in its original form, with almost 100,000 examples sold in the UK alone. But competitors in the SUV 'D'-segment for 7-seat family Crossovers have caught up. Hence the need for this revised model. It's still the class of the field if you ever need to go off road. But now it pleases more in many other ways too.
This car might look the same but under the skin, it's actually a lot different thanks to the adoption of what Land Rover calls 'Premium Transverse Architecture'. This not only makes the body stronger and safer but has also allowed the brand to fit a sophisticated range of 'MHEV' mild hybrid engines, plus there's now a Plug-in hybrid option too. Basically, the same powerplant options already offered in the Range Rover Evoque. These 48-volt units use energy recouped during braking to reduce load on the powerplant under acceleration, while letting the engine cut out from deceleration below 11mph and give near-instantaneous restarts as needed.
Mind you, the engine that most customers choose, the base D150 diesel, doesn't feature anything electrified, which is a pity. This base model can only be had either in front-driven manual five-seat form. Or in AWD automatic seven-seat guise. Further up the range, all the engines feature the MHEV tech and have to have AWD and an automatic gearbox. There are D180 and D240 diesel options, the figures designating the hp output. And there are two petrol options, the P200 and the P250. You can also talk to your dealer about a Plug-in PHEV variant, which pairs an electric motor with a three cylinder petrol engine. Whatever engine suits, you'll find this car's class-leading towing and off road ability as good as ever. It can tow up to 2.5-tonnes. And 'off piste' prowess is enhanced thanks to an improved 'Terrain Response 2' system that automatically detects the surface you're driving over and adjusts torque delivery to best suit the conditions.
At first glance, this improved Discovery Sport looks little different to the original model. If you take a second look though and you happen to be familiar with this car, the changes will become more obvious. Trademark Discovery design cues, including the clamshell bonnet, rising beltline and tapered roof remain, but the detail features have changed. For instance, there are re-styled signature LED headlamps at the front and rear, alongside an updated front grille and bumpers.
Inside, the standardisation of Land Rover's digital Touch Pro infotainment system and the introduction of more premium materials throughout makes a big difference. All the seats have been completely re-designed for improved comfort and versatility. And the second row bench gets 40:20:40 split fold and slide functionality, enabling a more flexible seating arrangement with up to 24 possible combinations. The brand says there's more luggage space too; with all the seats folded, there's now 1,794-litres of capacity. That's up from 1,698-litres previously. As before, the third row seats are strictly for small children only. But we like the way that the second row bench has been raised 5cms higher than the front chairs to give occupants a better view out.
In theory, there are lots of competitors for this car. But loyal Disco Sport buyers don't tend to consider them. Thant's partly because 'D'-segment SUV 7-seat rivals from Volkswagen, Peugeot, SEAT, Hyundai and Kia don't have Land Rover's brand equity. Partly because they can't tow as effectively. And partly because they can't hold a candle to this car off road.
There were issues with the original version of this car though, primarily in the way that it's fuel and CO2 emissions lagged behind the opposition. So the adoption of mild hybrid 48-volt tech in this revised model is welcome. Rivals are still more frugal, but Land Rover has closed the gap. The cabin improvements and the extra technology features will help this car in the showroom too. If you wanted one of these before, you'll want it even more now. And if you didn't, it might be worth taking another look. 'Above and beyond' was the objective in re-developing this model. In considering the end result, you'd have to say that mission's been accomplished.Click here to find out more about our Land Rover Discovery Sport range
Skoda enters the mid-sized SUV segment with this Kodiaq, a model with class-leading passenger space, plenty of luxurious touches and the option of seven seats. It can tow up to 2.5-tonnes and has the largest boot in the class too. In other words, you'd have to take this contender seriously.
The mainstream Kodiaq engine range is built around three TDI diesel units and a further trio of TSI petrol powerplants. Most will want the 2.0-litre TDI unit, offered with either 115, 150 or 190PS, with the pokier version able to accelerate this large SUV to 62mph in 8.6s on the way to 130mph. The range of petrol engines consists of two 1.4 TSI units, plus a 2.0 TSI powerplant. The entry-level 1.4 TSI generates 125PS and 200Nm of torque, while the pokier 1.4 option manages 150PS and 250Nm of pulling power. The top-of-the-range 2.0 TSI petrol engine develops 180PS with a decent 320Nm of torque. It'll be a rare choice though.
Possibly of more interest than the engines on offer will be the freshly-developed 7-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox, an option to the standard 6-speed manual with some variants. An optional 'Driving Mode Select' system enables the driver to tweak throttle response, steering feel and auto gearshift timings, plus on 4x4 versions there's a 'Snow' setting that optimises things for off road use. Front wheel drive is mandatory on base petrol and diesel Kodiaqs and optional on the 1.4 TSI 150PS or 2.0 TDI 150PS derivatives. Most will want 4WD though and you have to have it on top petrol and diesel units that must also be coupled with the auto transmission.
The Kodiaq's styling conforms to the way you'd expect a big Skoda SUV to look, with a clear, precise and clean-cut shape marked out by a distinctive, highly recessed shoulder line. The wide, three-dimensional radiator grille is quite striking and the narrow, raked headlights look distinctive appearance. The Kodiaq is one of the biggest VW Group models to be spun off the conglomerate's MQB platform. It's around 4.7m in length and the long wheelbase and short overhangs point to a large interior.
That's certainly what you get once you take a seat inside. This is a much bigger SUV than the brand's Yeti, which ample room for heads, legs and knees. The boot's huge too, large enough in fact to accommodate the optional fold-out third seating row that rival Volkswagen Tiguan and SEAT Ateca SUVs can't offer. If you stick with the five-seat variant, there's a 720-litre cargo area, extendable to 2,065-litres once you fold the rear bench. If the optional folding passenger seat is chosen, this SUV can transport items up to 2.80m long. An electrically operated tailgate is available, and a Kodiaq fitted with the TDI/DSG/4x4 drivetrain can tow a trailer weighing up to 2.5-tonnes. It's all very practical.
Skoda has taken its time in bringing us a larger family-sized SUV but what's been delivered with this Kodiaq looks to be a very complete package. We think the 7-seat option is going to be popular and that most customers will choose to specify this car in a version that gives them 4WD. You'd certainly have to be quite addicted to badge snobbery to choose a pricier Volkswagen Tiguan over this Czech contender, the Tiguan after all using exactly the same engineering, offering less interior space and able to seat only five.
Otherwise, all the things that have made Skoda's smaller Yeti SUV/Crossover model so appealing also apply here. You get 'Simply Clever' design features, decent levels of efficiency and a car built to stand the test of time. We think the Kodiaq is going to be a familiar sight on our roads.Click here to find out more about our Skoda Kodiaq range
Peugeot returned to the family-orientated seven-seat SUV segment with this second generation 5008 model. It's more targeted at Surbiton than the Serengeti but that's what buyers want these days. These people will love the integrated mobility solutions that can slot into the boot - and the luxurious, spacious cabin. It's also notably efficient and very safety orientated.
Despite this 5008 model's switch to SUV genre, Peugeot won't be offering it with 4WD, which won't really help with the rough and ready market positioning. In compensation, an 'Advanced Grip Control' system is being offered for extra traction on slippery surfaces. And there's 'Hill Assist Descent Control to ease you down slippery slopes. The car is being offered with two petrol engines - a 130hp 1.2-litre three cylinder PureTech unit with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. And a more powerful 180hp 1.6-litre PureTech powerplant, which is offered only with auto transmission.
Most 5008 customers though, will still want a diesel, probably the 130hp 1.5-litre BlueHDi unit, which can be had with an EAT6 auto gearbox. If you want a bit more pulling power - as you might if you'll regularly be using this car to transport seven people - then a 180hp version with a 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel is also available.
Peugeot hopes that this MK2 model 5008 looks every bit the mid-sized family SUV that so many buyers seem to want. Certainly all the hallmarks are there: a long, horizontal bonnet, a vertical front end and a raised body line. At the front, there's a wide grille with chrome fins, while the rear design features the gloss black strip and the signature LED 'claw effect' rear lights that aim to try and set the latest breed of Peugeot SUVs apart. Under the skin, it's all based on a light, stiff 'EMP2' platform.
The 2.84m wheelbase and long 4.64-metre length should certainly make the car very spacious inside and the class-leading 1,060-litre boot capacity figure seems to bear that out. Three matching, separate, folding seats in the second row are provided, each adjustable in length and inclination. Plus there are two removable, separate, folding seats in the third row. There's also a foldable front passenger seat that will enable owners to carry especially long loads up to 3.20m in length. And, as is the current fashion, the option of hands-free motorised tailgate.
At the wheel, the driver gets the newest version of the innovative Peugeot 'i-Cockpit' instrument binnacle design. That means a very compact steering wheel, a large 8" touchscreen dashboard and an eye-catching 12.3" high-resolution digital head-up display.
Peugeot needed to be represented in the family SUV segment with a contender to slot in above their more compact 2008 and 3008 models. This 5008 provides a logical step up for buyers needing more space than is available in those cars and offers this with sophisticated, luxurious packaging that we think many potential buyers will like.
In that regard, it's more of a direct replacement for the old Mitsubishi Outlander-based 4007 model than the first generation 5008 MPV. In contrast to the 4007 though, this MK2 model 5008 is less focused on off road antics and more orientated towards lifestyle motoring. In that respect, options like the integrated electric scooter and powered bicycle will really help it to stand out.Click here to find out more about our Peugeot 5008 range