Auto Review: 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE

WHO doesn’t love a good disco? We’re not talking about the swing your hips to 80s dance hits kind of disco either, more the mid-sized off road kind of Disco – the 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE in fact.

In a pinch it even looks like it might like a good party, not the backyard booze up mind you, more the sophisticated country club lawn, with suits and cocktail dresses, and flowing champagne kind.

The Discovery Sport HSE looks refined and premium on the outside, and so it should. It’s sort of the top of the line, but not. Yes we know that doesn’t make any sense. HSE stands for luxury in the Land Rover world, but in this case, there’s a HSE Luxury variant too.

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It sits above this model, but only adds more premium bits to the beefy medium SUV. That said the list of standard features is pretty impressive and sets the scene if you will, for what’s a pretty luxurious offering.

Aside from climate controlled 12-way electric adjustable front seats with memory function, in grained leather, configurable mood lighting and three USB charging sockets, there’s a host of other cool items on board.

These include the impressive trailer stability assist system, xenon headlights with LED signature, key-less entry, a full-sized spare, a powered gesture tailgate and a 380-watt 11-speaker Meridian sound system.

Inside, the dash is pretty plain-Jane, and the floors have rubber mats, which kind of unwinds the luxury feel you got when you looked from the outside. The infotainment system is easy to use and has SatNav and Bluetooth as you might expect.

There’s no visit from our friends Apple CarPlay and Android Auto though but that aside, the software is pretty damned impressive behind the system, with everything from seat climate controls to the mood lighting controls available with a single click.

Now for some pluses; the door bins are great, there’s a large glove box and console box, and hidden storage below the two cup holders in the front, all of which means there’s plenty of places to put stuff, or hide stuff.

The rear seats are where it’s at though for the Discovery Sport, with fantastic leg room and pretty damn good head room too. Oh and the rear seats not only slide but recline as well, and there’s a whopping 981-litres of boot space.

On the road, the SD4 is fitted with the best of the best 4-cylinder turbo diesel option, a 177kW 2.0-litre Ingenium power plant that has 500Nm of torque on tap; paired with a 9-speed auto transmission and AWD. It’s a little noisy but has a tonne of go when pressed.

It’s got the full gamut of Land Rover’s driving aids and pre-programmed off road settings, and manages 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds. Claimed fuel economy is 6.4-litres/100km but the best we managed was an 8.1-litres/100km; still good of course.

For those already going how much is this going to cost me if I want one, the HSE range starts at $71,000 plus on-roads, but with all the add-ons we had, you can hand over around $84,000.

For example, our test vehicle had dynamic exterior and interior add-ons, adaptive cruise control with intelligent emergency braking, blind spot monitor and reverse traffic detection, lane-keep assist, and a 360 degree camera system.

Just those add-ons have racked around $12,000, but we also had the connect pack, with apps and a WiFi hot spot among other little tweaks. It’s the optional extras that kill here and things that should be standard for the price are simply not.

It makes the Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE an expensive option against its rivals, including the 2018 Lexus RX L, the 2018 Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design and for off road, the 2018 Toyota Prado Kakadu.

The only genuine off roader among those is the Kakadu, which has all the off-road capabilities (and then some) that the Discovery has, but lacks on road prowess or the luxury that the SD4 HSE can deliver.

The other area it falls over in though is the auto stop start function. It’s average to say the least. It’s super laggy and you could make a coffee in the time it takes to find itself and get you going again. Switch it off, and never use it again. Like ever.

It comes in a range of colours including Fuji White, Narvik Black, Indus Silver, Corris Grey, Santorini Black, Byron Blue, Firenze Red, Scotia Grey, Yulong White, Namib Orange, Silicon Silver and Carpathian Grey.

You can choose to have your roof in the body colour, or in black or grey, and all roof choices can have a fixed panoramic glass panel inserted. Inside there are some six interior trim choices.

These include Almond, Cirrus or Ebony perforated grained leather with 12-way adjustable seats as what you might call the standard options, or if you take the dynamic pack we mentioned earlier, then there’s three extra interior choices.

The pack includes a switch to Windsor leather, in two tone perforated finish, including Ebony/Cirrus, Ebony/Pimento and Cirrus/Ebony. The 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE has a 3-year 100,000km warranty and a 2200kg braked towing capacity.

Our test car was provided by Land Rover Australia. To find out more about the 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE, contact your local Land Rover dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness


Pros - super roomy; plenty of load space; great looking car.
Cons - cabin lacks premium feel; expensive; too many good bits are paid options.
Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> super roomy; plenty of load space; great looking car.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> cabin lacks premium feel; expensive; too many good bits are paid options.Auto Review: 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 HSE