Picture this: A pandemic is spreading and chaos is everywhere. People are panic-buying in supermarkets and groceries to hoard basic goods, including… dear God… toilet paper! Traffic is heavy after some people lined their vehicles up to the middle of the road just to run to the stores. The highway out of the city is packed. You can hear police sirens in the distance. The radio reports are all about the rapid spread of the Corona virus and the mounting death toll around the world. There’s talk that the government is about to declare martial law and that other countries are closing their borders.
The general mood was apocalyptic. The plague was released upon mankind and there was confusion and panic in the streets! But we were cool, calm, and comfortable inside our vehicle. No, we were not playing deaf-and-dumb to the realities outside. We just opted to stay calm because we knew that panic will only add to the chaos. Besides, we felt secure inside the very comfortable cocoon of an upper-class British all-wheel drive sport utility vehicle (SUV).
Aborted Video Shoot
It was nearly evening on a Thursday, the 12th of March, and we just collected the 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport R-Dynamic S from the Jaguar Land Rover showroom along EDSA in Greenhills, San Juan City. (For brevity’s sake, let’s just call it the “Disco Sport“.) We were going to take it off-road the next day with three other vehicles for an episode of our upcoming Power Wheels TV motoring show, Cruise Control, and we were about to buy some food and refreshments for the shoot. But as we approached the grocery, we saw the panic in people’s faces.
Over our Disco Sport’s radio, we heard different versions of when the impending citywide lock down will start and how severe it will be. We guessed that some people developed a case of selective hearing, immediately panicked, and then went out to panic-buy. My wife thought that it would be a good idea to buy some supplies, just in case. After all, we were driving a sporty 5-door SUV with a good amount of cargo space at the back. So instead of buying just some refreshments for our video crew, we ended up falling in line to get two weeks’ supply of basic commodities for our family.
At the grocery, we were guided to park at a premium slot and we were given the VIP treatment as we were going into the store. My wife and I were confused at first, and then we realized that it must’ve been “our” vehicle that afforded us the special treatment. People won’t mistake our Eiger Grey Metallic Discovery Sport for anything other than an upper-class Land Rover with its handsome and clean Evoque-like styling, slim headlights and grill, high belt line, large glass, and LED tail lights. Moreover, its distinctive R-Dynamic package makes our Disco Sport look more exclusive and expensive. No wonder, the security guard was extra courteous and generous with his addressing us as “Sir and Ma’am”.
After we got what we needed from the grocery and had several boxes loaded into our Disco Sport, we drove off into evening rush hour traffic that has become heavier with the chaos around supermarkets, shopping malls, groceries, and even ATMs. We’ve developed the patience for traffic so we calmly drove our Disco Sport towards the direction of our home. After all, its interior is a delightful way to while away the time with comfortable grained leather sports seat with sporty red piping, inviting driver’s cockpit, ergonomic interior, modern touch screen controls, and slim but effective A/C vents. Just sitting inside the Disco Sport makes you feel like a million bucks.
Diesel Power and Economy
Stepping on the “gas” in our Disco Sport is a misnomer. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine feels so smooth and quiet that we mistakenly thought that it was a gasoline engine at first. Land Rover claims that our Disco Sport’s Ingenium turbodiesel makes “just” 150 PS (around 148 hp) but it feels more than that. We can feel 380 Nm of torque shuttling through the first three gears of the 9-speed automatic transmission and providing a smooth and sprightly acceleration that is uncommon among diesel-powered 4WD SUVs.
With the heavy pre-Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) traffic, we got a fuel mileage of 8.7 kilometers per liter, which is quite impressive for a sport luxury SUV crawling through chaotic city streets. When we got to drive our Disco Sport on open roads and fewer vehicles during the ECQ, our fuel mileage jumped to 14 to 16 km/l. We just wondered what it could do when we get to drive it on the highways and the transmission can shift up to its 9th overdrive gear but unfortunately, the Luzon-wide lock down prohibited us from taking the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the ECQ confined us to limited short trips around the city.
Back To Reality
Despite the short trips, we got a bit spoiled with our Disco Sport’s quiet and supple ride. As with most Land Rover 4WD SUVs, the suspension can be electronically adjusted to adapt to the terrain but with the nice gloss black 20-inch 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheels and 235/50R20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season tires, we’d rather stay on tarmac than go on dirt. And boy, can our Disco Sport take on corners! It always feels stable and planted like a sport sedan while its light steering provides some feedback and makes it easy to dart around in our tight metropolis.
True, our Disco Sport has a few quirks that we need to adjust to, such as those power window, power mirror and power door lock switches near the windows on top of the door cards, but it is definitely one of our top choices for “the vehicle we’d most likely drive during the apocalypse” because, frankly, we drove it on a week that felt like it was on the verge of the apocalypse.
But alas, we don’t have the P4.89 Million needed to park one in our garage permanently, so on the 19th of March (a gloomy ECQ Thursday), we reluctantly returned “our” Disco Sport to the locked-down ANG dealership complex and bid it goodbye, but not without taking another glance at it as we were walking away. It’s such a nice, sporty, comfortable and economical ride but then again, we have to face the reality of a possible 2-month-long ECQ (or longer) and the projected economic hardships after the pandemic.
We had a sinking feeling that, after this COVID-19 pandemic, it will be a whole new world. We somehow feel that we could navigate the new world much more confidently with a Land Rover Discovery Sport R-Dynamic.
Suggested Retail Price: P4,890,000.00
Classification: 5-door luxury SUV
Engine type: Liquid-cooled inline-4 turbocharged diesel
Capacity: 1999 cc
Maximum power: 150 PS (148 hp) @ 4000 rpm
Maximum torque: 380 Nm @ 1750 – 2500 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed Automatic
Length: 4597 mm
Width: 2173 mm
Height: 1727 mm
Wheelbase: 2741 mm
Curb weight: 1948 kg
Ground clearance: 212 mm
Approach angle: 25.0°
Departure angle: 30.2°
Ramp Angle: 20.6°
Turning radius: 11.8 m
Maximum wading depth: 600 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 65 liters
Acceleration: 11.4 secs
Maximum speed: 190 km/h
Jaguar Land Rover Philippines
ALL British Cars, Inc.
1008 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA),
Greenhills, San Juan City, 1502 Metro Manila
Phone: (+632) 8784 5000