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Facelifted Land Rover Discovery Sport gets hybrid tech

The Land Rover Discovery Sport has been facelifted for 2019, with major changes made to the car’s underpinnings and engines. Mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions both debut to make the company’s best-selling model more fuel-efficient. Counting the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Volvo XC60 among its closest rivals, the facelifted Discovery Sport is available to order now. Prices start from £31,575.

All but the cheapest diesel engine (a 148bhp 2.0-litre engine badged eD4) get the new mild-hybrid technology. As with the Range Rover Evoque, a 48V system allows the engine to completely shut down when you don’t have your foot on the accelerator. This happens below 11mph, and the engine restarts instantly when it’s needed.

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Land Rover’s other 2.0-litre ‘Ingenium’ engines all feature the technology, so you’ll have a choice of three diesels and two petrols. The most economical of these is the cheapest all-wheel-drive diesel, the 148bhp TD4, which manages up to 48.7mpg. If you’re more concerned with performance, there is a 250bhp petrol engine that gets the car from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds.

Lower powered diesel engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the mid-range diesel comes with a choice of an updated nine-speed automatic. This gearbox is the only choice for high-power engines and more expensive trim levels.

From the end of the year, you’ll be able to buy a plug-in hybrid Discovery Sport. It uses the same powertrain as the upcoming Range Rover Evoque PHEV, consisting of a three-cylinder petrol engine, a battery and an electric motor. We’ll have performance and economy figures for this engine nearer its release, but expect an electric range of around 30 miles.

An overhauled platform enables the Discovery Sport to go hybrid. Another component shared with the new Evoque, the company’s Premium Transverse Architecture, has been thoroughly updated over the outgoing car. It’s 13% stiffer and frees up space for a larger fuel tank and the 48V system. Massive 21-inch alloy wheels can be fitted on top-spec models for the first time, too.

The new Discovery Sport is actually shorter than before (albeit by just 2mm), but Land Rover says interior space has also been improved. A height increase of 3mm helps, while the other dimensions remain the same as the current model.

There’s a suite of new technology available, and you can guess where it’s come from; the Discovery Sport is available with the Evoque’s ClearSight rear-view mirror, which turns the mirror into a digital display that maximises the rear view. A camera on the roof gives a wide-angle view of what’s behind the car. With the right option box ticked, you can also see where the wheels are to help avoid off-road obstacles and high kerbs.

The interior has been treated to a fresh look courtesy of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a new 10.25-inch central touchscreen, which sits flush with the soft-touch dashboard. If you don’t want to use Land Rover’s infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available for the first time. Other features include wi-fi connectivity, wireless phone charging, a reversing camera, auto emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.

The facelift has seen a slight increase in the price of the Discovery Sport. The entry-level non-hybrid model starts at £31,575, an increase of around £1,000 over the previous car.

Read our Land Rover Discovery Sport review, and see why it’s a great car for winter here.