Getting to grips with the Land Rover Discovery Sport's kit
Rebecca Chaplin has been getting accustomed to the Discovery Sport's on-board tech.
Connected driving is becoming integrated further into our automotive experiences and Land Rover is creating ways to make journeys easier. That's what I'm finding most of the time in my Discovery Sport anyway.
On a recent journey to London I was able to take full advantage of its internet-connected satellite navigation, which allows you to search for specific businesses. I was driving to a hotel I'd never been to before but could search for its name rather than an address.
Inputting anything into the infotainment system is definitely faster than I've found in older models, but this feature makes the process even more painless. I can't really fault the voice commands either, which I've found myself using more frequently of late.
On this day in London, I needed to call ahead and the latest version of InControl infotainment in my Discovery Sport also gives you contact details for the destination. That meant I could easily do all this without needing to pull over.
It also allows you to add your favourite contacts. Once there, you can send your estimated time of arrival to these select few and text them with whether you've been delayed.
Jaguar Land Rover announced 'Sayer' earlier this month – a steering wheel that you own rather than the car which can plan your journeys on and more. It all seems a little far-fetched, but sit behind the wheel of a new JLR product and you'll see how close we might actually be to that.
You see, my Discovery Sport pairs to an app on my phone called Land Rover Apps. That means I can sit in my kitchen and plan my journey for the day on my phone and it'll automatically load into the sat-nav.
This is like JLR's very own version of Apple CarPlay, and if you've used that before you'll know how handy it is. Unlike the iPhone app, JLR offers a range of applications that might come in handy but you'll need to download them to your phone.
There are three inbuilt apps: Contacts, Calendar and Music, which do pretty much what they say on the tin. Then you have apps you'll probably recognise, such as Spotify and Parkopeadia, and others you might not.
It might seem like a bit of a cheat to integrate other apps, but a lot of these are quite useful. Things such as Parkopedia, which will find parking spaces and the Shell app, that can find nearby fuel stations and allows you to use ApplePay rather than set foot in the shop, are handy and work well.
In particular though, the JustDrive app is great if like me you find it easier to use voice controls on the move. Whether you want to ask for a different track on Spotify, text or call a friend, or input a destination, you can do it easily just by asking.
This all works by simply plugging your device into the car via USB. That is, when it works at least. Although this is great when it works, I've found so many times that it just doesn't.
This seems to be a running theme throughout the tech on the Disco Sport. While it will work faultlessly for a while, annoying blips such as the parking cameras cutting out, sensors turning off or the navigation failing to load are frequent.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH: Making the most of the onboard tech.
MODEL: Land Rover Discovery Sport
ENGINE: 2.0-litre TD4 Diesel
MAX SPEED: 117mph
0-60MPH: 8.4 seconds
MPG (COMBINED): 53.3mpg
MILEAGE (TO DATE): 830