I would like to know the driving feel in terms of size compared to Audi Q5. The internet specification says both Audi q5 and dsport are 185 inch in length. Is discovery sport feeling bigger to drive than Audi q5 or the same???
If the journey home was a tonic, the journey back is a quadruple espresso. With a clear path, the 175bhp 2.0-litre TDI Quattro absolutely flies - its 43kg leaner mass and the superbly responsive, seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox making short shrift of the Discovery's additional power, the Q5's remarkable chassis doing the rest. You quickly learn exactly how to manipulate the kick-down programming to prepare for overtakes, it has the best brakes, the best steering and is most definitely the best of the bunch when you discover you've carried just a little too much speed into that tightening corner. I arrive not only much earlier than the others, but with a massive grin and a fearsome desire to hand it victory immediately.
Yet, as Ben - smitten with the Disco - points out, does the Q5 properly count as an SUV in this company? It's got the Sport part down pat, but is it really a Utility Vehicle, or merely a tall car? It's spacious, yes, but the sheer familiarity of Audi's indoctrinal design philosophy sublimates that you could be driving almost anything with four rings on the front. Anthony rejects the relevance of this argument; it doesn't make the Q5 any less good. Still, the Discovery Sport, and by extension the Evoque, remain firmly rooted in their off-roader origins, even as on-road sophistication increases. It's a difference that makes them feel special, and the contrast colours the rest of the test.
In the end the Jeep is nowhere - it lacks the style, the substance and the desirability to stand its ground. It's not even that much cheaper than the others, given the manual gearbox and the less powerful engine; the equivalent 168bhp four-wheel drive auto starts at £37,195. The Evoque, for all its visual brilliance and sheer desirability, is also out-gunned. Maybe a newer example would have fared better but the Discovery Sport is the nicer drive. It's also more practical, similarly luxurious and slightly less pretentious.
At £42,995 before options, the Disco is the most expensive candidate here, yet the majority of its strengths - the seating for seven, the 187bhp engine, the neat handling - apply to the entry-level £32,395 SE as well. And despite Anthony's eloquent protests, the feeling that you're driving something that's both different to a regular car and largely uncompromised is surely going to appeal to buyers. If cornering dynamics are your priority, the choice is clear: buy the Audi. But if you want a more versatile, more Country Life kind of experience, the Discovery Sport is a fantastically well-rounded solution.
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