Land Rover’s best-selling model and replacement for the long-running Freelander, the Discovery Sport, is already getting a substantial refresh ahead of an expected reveal early in 2019. And from what’s being reported by the UK’s Auto-car publication, it appears to be quite an update for a model that’s only been with us in its current form for a relatively short time.
From the sound of what Land Rover is planning for the refreshed Discovery Sport that’s now being seen out and about undergoing testing in its black and white camouflage, some manufacturers have done less work on their models and called them a new generation.
As well as some relatively minor cosmetic changes that don’t exactly jump out from under the camouflage, the 2019 Discovery Sport will be built on a heavily updated platform. The idea behind the move to a revised platform is to bring about considerably improved levels of ride comfort, to provide extra trunk space, and to deliver extra room to accommodate underbody lithium-ion batteries that will be needed for models with a new hybrid powertrain. The new platform underpinning the 2019 Discovery Sport is called the Premium Transverse Architecture (PTA), and it’s said to be considerably stiffer than the current vehicle’s current D8 platform.
Of course, the addition of hybrid powertrains to the Discovery Sport lineup is the really big news, and it’s a key development for the future of what is currently Land Rover’s most affordable and best-selling model. Naturally, the hybrids are likely to be the top-of-the-range variants, and they’ll feature a new three-cylinder Ingenium combustion engine coupled to an electric motor/transmission.
And if the full-blown hybrid is out of your price range, there are also going to be mild-hybrid versions too, although it’s not yet known if these will make use of electrified turbochargers or a belt-assist starter/generator. Either way, the hybrid, and mild-hybrid models will be essential additions to the range as diesel engines, which have long been the preferred option with Land Rover buyers, continue to come under ever-increasing scrutiny from the authorities for their emissions.
Such significant change so early in the model’s lifespan could be due in part to sales in the first four months of this year falling by 18 percent, compared to the same period the year before. In March of this year the Volvo XC60 sold more than 1,500 units more than the Land Rover, and by June the gap between sales of the two had widened further. As the more sophisticated Volvo is so much in the ascendency, it’s no wonder Land Rover is set to improve the Discovery Sport so significantly this early in its lifecycle.