Disco never died, it just hid out until Land Rover sought to bring it, and the Disco Sport, back to life. Now, a couple of years later, the latter is staring down some quality upgrades for the 2020 model year.
Land Rover on Tuesday unveiled the 2020 Discovery Sport. On the spectrum of refreshes, this one is right about in the middle, making some slight visual changes while also updating the more important underlying bits. Two new powertrains have been introduced: One is a 246-horsepower I4 from the modular Ingenium engine family, while the other one slaps a 48-volt mild hybrid system into the equation, boosting its output to 286 horsepower.
That new mild hybrid system comes alongside a new underlying platform. Now riding on Land Rover's Premium Transverse Architecture platform, not only does it allow the Discovery Sport to pick up this kind of electrification, it makes the body some 13 percent stiffer. It's also quieter, thanks to some improved sound deadening measures.
As for style, it's a little different, but not too much. The front and rear bumpers are new, and to my eyes, a little sportier-lookin' than before. The grille is different, but I didn't notice that until I read it in the press release. There are also some new LED lights to further differentiate the refreshed Disco Sport from its forebear.
Inside, the center console has been redesigned, eschewing the rotary dial in favor of the sticklike gear lever seen on other Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. This rejiggering also makes enough space for wireless device charging, a first for the Disco Sport. Six USB ports are scattered throughout, as well. A new rearview mirror can display what the rearview camera sees, while additional cameras beneath the front end allow off-roaders to see "through" the hood on the infotainment display.
The interior is further gussied up with more premium materials, including a new optional non-leather seat material made from recycled polyester microfiber. You can even spec massaging seats, if you feel like really going for broke. Behind the first row, there are new cup holders and redesigned storage spaces, in addition to extra seat configurability, bringing the total number of available seat configurations to 24.
On the infotainment front, the Discovery Sport now rocks Land Rover's InControl Touch Pro system, with its 10-inch touchscreen replacing the outgoing setup. It's not Touch Pro Duo, though -- the climate controls aren't relegated to their own screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, as is a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Safety systems are available, but not standard, and they include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist.
The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport hits dealerships in the summer, and pricing will be announced closer to the car's on-sale date.
Originally posted May 21.
Update, June 10: Reduced mild hybrid output by 10 horsepower due to an error in Land Rover's press release.