- - Sunday, January 3, 2016

No better way to begin the new year than with the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport. The Land Rover is not only stylish, but offers pure comfort and it’s not so bad on the muddy roads during these winter months or even in the snow. Considered a luxury mid-size SUV with a capital “L” on the luxury part, the Land Rover Discovery Sport was all new in 2015, so for 2016, there have only been minor tweaks added.

For competition, there is the Acura RDX, Volvo XC60 and the BMW X3. And while these are tried and true brands that feel and look good inside, don’t doubt the Land Rover won’t take top honors when you get it in off-road mode.

With five-person seating, there is a third row and you can choose from three trim levels: SE, HSE and HSE Lux. On the SE, the base model, you get 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, heated power-folding outside mirrors and rear parking sensors as well as rearview camera, rear fog light, eight-way power front seats with 60/40-split second-row seating that folds, slides and reclines and a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. There is also a push-button keyless ignition and the audio connect with Bluetooth phone touchscreen and 10 speakers with four USB ports.

For this trim, you can add the Vision Assist package and that will give you xenon headlights, LED running lights and front fog lamps. There is a Convenience package adding a power liftgate and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, upgraded stereo and satellite and HD radio. On the Black Design package, there is a unique exterior trim and black roof.

For the HSE trim, you get the SE with the Vision Assist and Convenience packages standard as well as a different type of 18-inch wheels, panoramic glass roof, full leather upholstery and 10-way power front seats. For options, you can add the Driver Plus package a variety of safety features likes autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning and the Black Design package will give you 19-inch wheels if you choose. For stand-alone items on this trim, there are automatic high beams and an app suite.

On the top-of-the-line HSE Lux trim, you get 19-inch wheels, upgraded leather and carpeting as well as 11 speakers and an app suite with mood lighting. If you opt for the Black Design package, you can choose unique 19 or 20-inch wheels.

Under the hood on the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport, it’s a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque and a nine-speed automatic transmission. When this Discovery Sport is equipped properly, it can also tow up to 4,409 pounds and the powertrain includes the Land Rover driver-adjustable Terrain Response system with four settings; General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand. These settings help with proper steering, gears, stability and differential engagement depending on the terrain.

For safety, it’s antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side, driver knee and side curtain airbags, as well a rearview camera and parking sensors and hill descent control and hill start assist.

A nice looking vehicle on and off road, the 2016 Discovery Sport offers high quality inside and the exterior is traditional offering a strong conventional look and feel. Inside, all the knobs and controls are easily placed for convenience and easy to navigate with no second guessing. On the screen that sits next to the speedometer, you get a variety of displays that offer information as needed. For example, how much fuel is left in the tank is always a good feature.

Passengers will be happy in the back seat of the 2016 Land Rover since there is legroom and the seats back there are movable and recline. Another nice selling point is that the seats in the second row are two inches higher than the front seats so the passengers back there have a view. For the third row, it’s small so younger passengers will have to take that option if you need to fit more than five inside. When you fold down all the seats, you get 60 cubic feet for hauling.

An enjoyable drive, it’s much like the Range Rover Evoque behind the wheel and you can count on a stable and strong ride that will give you a feeling of being connected to the road whether it’s on the highway, city streets or off road where this 2016 Land Rover Discovery really shines.

Should You Need to Know: The Discovery can do zero to 60 in about 7.6 seconds and take note of the Black Design package, which can even be added to the base model.

Miles Per Gallon: The 2016 Discovery Sport HSE LUX I drove got 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The price tag on the 2016 Discovery Sport HSE LUX came in at $52,443.

For more auto tips and information, follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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