Land Rover Discovery Sport vs BMW X3 & Hyundai Santa Fe
New Freelander-replacing Discovery Sport takes on BMW and Hyundai
The newcomer is bigger than its predecessor, there are now seven seats, and it takes its styling cues from the Range Rover, both inside and out. To find out if the new Brit has what it takes to succeed, we’ve lined up two rivals that will test all its abilities.
The seven-seat Hyundai Santa Fe is our current large SUV champion, and the Premium SE model is well equipped, yet undercuts the Discovery Sport on price. Then there’s the BMW X3. While it’s not a seven-seater, this SUV will test the Land Rover’s premium credentials, as well as its fuel efficiency.
Can the Discovery Sport deliver a winning combination of practicality and luxury, while still maintaining Land Rover’s tradition for building great off-road machines?
There are two seats in the boots of the Land Rover and Hyundai, but they’re quite small – so unless you’re carrying children, they’re only really for occasional use. Go for a lower-spec Santa Fe, and you can save £1,200 by opting for five seats, and get a bigger boot in the process. The Discovery Sport is only sold in the UK as a seven-seater, although if there’s sufficient customer demand, it may be offered as a five-seater later in the year.
As it emits 166g/km, the Discovery Sport sits three road tax bands higher than the 138g/km X3, and will cost company buyers more. The Santa Fe lags well behind its rivals here, thanks to the lack of stop/start. Go for the manual, and emissions of 159g/km are still some way short of the X3’s.
These three cars are perfect for towing. The Santa Fe and X3 are capable of pulling two tonnes, but the Discovery Sport edges ahead with a 2.2-tonne maximum. Land Rover offers a detachable tow bar for £675, while BMW’s £765 version hooks up to the ESP to add trailer stability control.
Car group tests
- Land Rover Discovery Sport vs BMW X3 vs Volvo XC60
- Skoda Kodiaq vs Land Rover Discovery Sport vs Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery Sport D180: long-term test review
- Long-term test review: Land Rover Discovery Sport
1st place: Land Rover Discovery Sport
It’s first blood to the new Discovery Sport. Land Rover has taken the Freelander formula and brought it up to date with stylish design, a premium interior and refined road manners. It’s spacious and practical, well equipped for the price, while excellent off-road ability is a cheeky bonus. The seven-seat layout isn’t the roomiest around, but it doesn’t harm overall practicality in any way.
2nd place: BMW X3
The X3 is still a strong contender in the compact SUV class, thanks to its excellent combination of efficiency, performance and sharp handling. It’s also well equipped and roomy, but an overly firm ride and the noisy diesel take the edge off driving comfort. The lack of seven seats isn’t really an issue, though, as it’s still a practical five-seat family car.
3rd place Hyundai Santa Fe
There’s no disgrace in the Santa Fe finishing third here. Only a few years ago, you wouldn’t have considered a Hyundai over its premium rivals, but while the SUV is roomy and well equipped, it’s thirsty, has ponderous handling and doesn’t quite have the premium feel of its rivals. We’d save some cash and go for the excellent Premium manual model instead.
|Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.2 SD4 HSE auto||BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport auto||Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium SE auto|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£39,395/£40,815||£37,940/£37,940||£37,105/£37,690|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£21,116/53.6%||£19,691/51.9%||£15,844/42.7%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£2,265/£4,530||£1,737/£3,474||£2,276/£4,551|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,803/£3,006||£1,715/£2,859||£2,029/£3,382|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||31/£389/H/£205||31/£389/E/£130||20/£402/I/£225|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£499 (5yrs/50k)||£425 (5yrs/50k)||£799 (5yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/2,179cc||4cyl in-line/1,995cc||4cyl in-line/2,199cc|
|Peak power/revs||187/3,500 bhp/rpm||187/4,000 bhp/rpm||194/3,800 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||420/1,750 Nm/rpm||400/1,750 Nm/rpm||436/1,800 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||9-spd auto/4WD||8-spd auto/4WD||6-spd auto/4WD|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||65 litres/£150||67 litres/run flats||64 litres/full size|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||981/1,698 litres||550/1,600 litres||516/1,615 litres|
|Turning circle||11.6 metres||11.9 metres||10.9 metres|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs||3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs||5yrs (unlimited)/5yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||16k miles (1yr)/130||Variable (1yr)/153||20k miles (1yr)/162|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||20th/28th||10th/22nd||18th/13th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||93/83/69/5 (2014)||88/83/53/5 (2011)||96/89/71/5 (2012)|
|0-60/30-70mph||9.0 (wet)/9.2 secs||8.3/8.2 secs||8.7/8.7 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.3/3.6 secs||3.4/3.8 secs||3.4 secs (kickdown)|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th/9th||5.5/7.1/8.6/11.0s/N/A||7.5/9.1 secs/N/A||5.3 secs (kickdown)|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||117mph/1,600rpm||130mph/1,750rpm||118mph/1,950rpm|
|Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph||63.1/45.3/12.8m (wet)||46.7/33.3/9.0m||58.2/41.7/11.6m*|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||35.0/7.7/500 miles||36.8/8.1/542 miles||31.1/6.8/438 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||216/166g/km/29%||206/138g/km/23%||243/178g/km/31%|
|Auto box/adaptive cruise/tow bar||Yes/no/£675||Yes/£1,400/£765||Yes/no/£510 (DFO)|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|
|Met paint/xenons/panoramic roof||£600/£375/yes||£645/£610/£1,190||£585/yes/yes|
|Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth||Yes/yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes/yes||Y/y/£175 (DFO)/y|