Is the Land Rover Discovery Sport a good option as a short term car lease?

We’ve had the Land Rover Discovery Sport available as a flexirent and fixed short term car lease for a while now, but its only been over the last 2 weeks that I have managed to drive one.

Land Rover Discovery Sport at Cocoon Vehicles
Credit: Cocoon Vehicles

I previously worked for Sunwin Motor Group and had access to many of the Land Rover products through our franchise Albert Farnell Land Rover, I even manage to persuade a boss to let me have a Land Rover Discovery and a Range Rover Sport as a company car at one point.

The LandRover Discovery Sport, replaced the ever popular Freelander, renamed to coincide with the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and now producing the Discovery, and the Discovery Sport.

Both the Discovery and the Discovery Sport have the feeling of being very sturdy, utilitarian and well built, both internally and externally. The buttons inside the cabin feel firm and well build, whereas the Range Rover has the luxury feel.

With Land Rover dumping some of its older engines, I got to drive the 2.0 TDi 180 in HSE Luxury Guise, whilst I know the 2019 model is just around the corner, as a short term car leas provider, we tend to get quite a few run out models.

So my drive! It wasn’t a short one! 1,300 miles across motorways, country roads, mountain roads and hairpins, crossing Spain, Andorra and France until I reached the UK. Glamorous you may thing, but this was done in less than 48 hours.

My day started as usual in the Cocoon Vehicles office, by 10am the phones had picked up and everyone was busy processing short term car lease orders and applications.

By 10.30am, I had a one way flight booked to Alicante from East Midlands Airport for a 2.15pm departure.

At 5pm I was stood by the Land Rover Discovery Sport outside Alicante airport, it had not loving been cleaned and was ready for some fuel to take her home.

The car was in ****** Blue and had an Ivory interior, not to my taste but the combination of the two colours did go well. Just looking at the dashboard and ICE I could see this had quite a bit of kit; Climate Control, Air Cooled Seats, Panoramic Roof and Memory Seats.

I adjusted my seat and saved its position in M1, I then headed to the ICE to plan my journey home. I did find the Sat Nav extremely slow to respond, just entering my destination the system seemed like it had to do a lot of thinking.

No Apple CarPlay was visible, so I double checked the route with Google Maps and Apple Maps. All three solutions gave me different routes, my main goal was to avoid Paris at any costs.

The Air Con quickly kicked in, whilst the sun was warm in Alicante, the strong wind really made it feel cold. Also I was 3 hours from sunset, so I needed to make sure that I got off quickly so I could burn some miles.

With the engine turned on, the gear stick rose from its housing and the Sat Nav told me that I may estimated time of arrival was 5.50am. However, I wasn’t to sure what day of the week this meant or how many miles I had got left, as I didn’t know how to switch it over.

The digital display between the Speedo and the Rev Counter, was already displaying me the speed in Kilometers so I set off on my way, North towards Valencia.

I’m not sure if its just this car or if its all Land Rovers, but when accelerating, the car sounded more like a Petrol than a diesel, pretty quiet on the road with the big alloys rolling on the Spanish tarmac.

The weather soon changes and entering a tunnel with sunshine, exits with a lot of rain with thunder and lightning over the mountains, the car didn’t mind one bit.

One thing I did notice was the fuel gauge, whilst showing as half a tank, I’d got less than 100 miles left in the tank, on top of this I had an error message showing up every no and then which I was slight concerned about: “Diesel Exhaust Fluid dosing malfunction. No engine restarts possible in 573 miles.”

I’d still got a fair way until the engine stopped restarting, however, a quick Google told me that this may be an AdBlue issue and was common on Land Rover’s, especially the Discovery Sport.

I pulled over for some Diesel and at the same time I bought 10 litres of the useless liquid that is AdBlue. Filling it up was another matter, and with the help of YouTube I eventually found the awkward point at where to top the AdBlue tank up and a nozzle to guide it in.

The car took about half the AdBlue, so at least I knew it wasn’t totally depleted. The error was clear off my screen, my tank full albeit saying I only had 350 miles worth of Diesel and I headed North yet again.

I’d reached the outskirts of Barcelona before I realised that the Land Rover Sat Nav was taking me Left of Barcelona instead of the Google Map suggested route of up the coast, I normally defy what a Sat Nav tells me but as I was miles from home and wanted to get back, I followed it onto what would be classed as single carriageway A and B roads in the UK.

The roads started winding up and down hills and the towns and villages started to look a little like film sets. It was close to 10.30pm and up to this point I had just had some lemon juice and a packet of Doritos.

A phone call to my wife, who had been following my progress on Google Maps raised concerns about the car’s choice of route. Taking me right up the middle of the Divide that is France and Spain, through a new country (for me), Andorra.

I crossed into Andorra at 1am, crossing the border with ease, even with a British Passport. The roads were simple, with just one route across the country going through modern towns then through a skiing resort area that made me feel like I was in the Swiss Alps.

An hour had passed and so had many cheap Petrol Stations, until I hit the French border and headed through the snow capped mountains towards Toulouse.

As I headed north along some amazing hairpin roads, through tunnels and through southern France, Deer and Fox looked on to the Land Rover Discovery Sports headlights as I made my way through eventually hitting a sign for Toulouse with the iconic Airbus photos.

I eventually started to feel weary, so a rest area was needed so that I could get my head down. It was roughly 5.30am when I pulled over North of Toulouse. I wanted somewhere populated but dark, so snook the car in behind a HGV.

Outside it was cold, so I left the engine running for a few minutes to warm my heated seats on, found my Simon Wilson Skint Hoodie from my backpack and had some shut eye for a few hours.

My wife woke me at 7.30, concerned that I hadn’t moved for a bit. With in an instant I was wide awake and starting the engine to carry on towards Calais as per the Sat Nav’s instructions.

Over the time, I had previously become really frustrated with the entertainment system in the Land Rover, it is really awful and whilst the sound coming out of the Meridian system was excellent, trying to use the controls to play a Podcast or internet radio became difficult.

On top of this the AdBlue error had decided to stay on permanently, with miles continually counting down. A stop of 30 miles north of the rest area rewarded me with a toilet stop and a Starbucks cafe.

Up to this point, apart from a pack of Doritos, I hadn’t eaten so I needed to find something to keep up my energy levels. After a few junctions on the motorway, I finally found one! Egg McMuffin and a Cafe Latte.

The Latte was enough to keep me awake for days, it was like rocket fuel. At the stop I decided to see if I could add some more AdBlue, it took the rest so I assumed that it was just losing some liquid.

I carried on North, unfortunately towards Paris, with only 90 miles left until no restart was possible it was time to call Land Rover breakdown assistance. Apparently, Land Rover use the RAC and unlike many other car manufacturers, they provide European Breakdown Assistance.

I wasn’t on hold long before a French lady answered the phone and took the vehicle details, having explained the issue she quickly told me that I needed to top up the AdBlue.

Despite a few crossed words, this lady at Land Rover assistance wasn’t having any of it. More or less explaining that I had let the AdBlue go down, causing the issue to come on, not very helpful.

Ringing back to try and speak to someone else did not help, as the same lady answered! She told me that it needed to go into a dealer. Desperate to get home, I googled Land Rover and a dealership with a service department in Orleans came up.

Within minutes, my phone, not the Land Rover Satellite Navigation was directing me towards some help, only to turn up to a showroom with lights off.

Luckily, the French close for lunch, I’d got just over and hour to wait until the 2pm so I got comfortable and Carrie don with my David Tennant podcasts.

At 2pm, I entered the Dealership and in Pidgeon French asked if they spoke English. The lady on the service reception replied with a stern Non and put her head down and carried on working, the guy who had over heard said that he spoke a little and how could he help.

Credit: Short Term Car Lease on Land Rovers

I showed photos of the error messages and taking a copy of the vehicles documents, the car was soon in a service bay with a mechanic having a look. Coffee in one hand and magazine in the other, I waited for the work to be carried out.

4pm came and the guy was so happy that he had managed to fix the issue. Through broken English he explained something to do with a sensor and rest, for me the error had gone and I could make my way home.

As I wrote above, I wanted to avoid the Paris traffic. I’m not a huge fan of the place and every time I have driven to it or within it, I have sat in traffic for hours. Today was no exception, mopeds weaving in and out of the cars, resting of the LR mirrors, cars doing the same always trying to get ahead.

Eventually, Paris was in my mirror and I managed to stop to get some fuel at a service area. It was extremely close and the Land Rover had already had a few gallons coming up from Spain, on top of all of the toll charges I had to pay.

That’s it though, 375 miles now and enough to get me home without stopping again! A quick Google helped me decide between a Ferry and the Eurotunnel. I hate ferries but the break for a sit down and a cuppa was very inviting, no sod it, the Eurotunnel!

Rolling up to the booths at the Eurotunnel was a welcome delight, but I noticed that I didn’t ache in any areas, which was really down to the comfort of the Discovery Sport, I did adjust the seats a few times to change position, but not because I was hurting, more for something to do.

50 minutes later Blighty was under the rubber of my tyres and it really was only a few hours until I was home. The M25 was down to 1 lane but with the slower speed my fuel range was rising.

Hitting the M1 seemed like the home straight! I very rarely use Cruise Control, but the Speed Limiter came in extremely handy for all the over head speed cameras on the gantry’s, I had to turn off the sign recognition as it had been reading and relaying the wrong speeds to the limiter, so it was down to me to make sure I was driving within the law.

Pulling up at home at 1.30am made Spain feel like a lifetime away, but overall I was impressed how smoothly the trip had gone, even with the technical fault on the AdBlue system.

The car was very comfortable and with the added addition of heated and cooled seats, along with a heated steering wheel, the ever changing outside conditions catered to my needs.

The one area that the car really did let itself down on, is the entertainment system. On top of this, when using Bluetooth with both my iPhone and my work Google Pixel, I could hardly hear what the other person was saying to me, they also relayed to me that I sounded like I was underwater at some points.

Google Map from Andorra to Orleans in France
Google Map from Andorra to Orleans in France

So is the Land Rover Discovery Sport any good on a Short Term Car Lease?

There aren’t many options on a Medium SUV with 7 seats, all be it that the 6th and 7th seat are only really suitable for children. But the option is there to take, should you need it.

Cars that sit in this category include the BMW X3, Audi Q5, VW Tiguan and the Mercedes GLC SUV. The Tiguan in these options, is the only other that has the option of 7 seats by opting for the AllSpace version.

Comfort wise this is on par with the Mercedes GLC, which in my eyes is the clear winner out of my comparison choices. The Audi Q5 is excellent but stricter return conditions on Audi Short Term Car leases, means that this isn’t a car I would recommend.

For the current price of £799 plus VAT, it would be difficult to recommend a different Medium SUV with such a prestigious badge, so yes, its definitely one for the short list when considering a short term car lease.

Should you buy a Land Rover Discovery Sport?

The new 2019 model is just around the corner, and rumour has it that Land Rover has gone back to the drawing board and completely re-invented the Discovery Sport utilising parts from the new Evoque.

With upgrades to the entertainment system and engines coming with a Mild Hybrid system, I’d skip the older models and get the newer ones.

With regards to buying a LR Discovery Sport, this is down to you. Land Rover don’t do much discounts and the residual values are strong. Making this a worth while contender for a PCP or even a traditional 2 or 3 year car lease.

My Honest Review of the Discovery Sport

I would give this car a 3 out of 5, its not may favourite but I still rate in on the same levels as the current BMW X3. Though the X3 has a superior entertainment and navigation system.

I found the car very comfortable to drive but I was really disappointed with the fuel economy at 34.9 mpg and small fuel tank and the ICE. If you need the 7 seats, it should be top of the list.

If you don’t, I’d opt for either the Mercedes GLC or the VW Tiguan, if long term, even the Audi Q5.

About Me

I run a small business offering short term car leases in Belper, Derbyshire. Called Cocoon Vehicles, I wanted to set it up differently to the way a traditional dealership operated. It had to be an honest approach!

I write these articles for the love of writing and because I love what I do, I allow these articles to be used elsewhere with a credit on the basis I’d like a back link to my website.

Other Interesting Reads…

I live in a beautiful town called Belper on the edge of the Peak District with my wife Rebecca. I enjoy writing, photography and gadgets.