2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Land Rover Discovery Sport doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The XC40’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Land Rover Discovery Sport doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The XC40 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the XC40 and the Discovery Sport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Discovery Sport has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The XC40’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Discovery Sport’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Land Rover only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Discovery Sport.

There are over 72 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Land Rover dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the XC40’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the XC40’s reliability 20 points higher than the Discovery Sport.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volvo vehicles are better in initial quality than Land Rover vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volvo 28th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 32nd.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volvo vehicles are more reliable than Land Rover vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volvo 29th in reliability. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 30th.

Engine

The XC40 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 11 more horsepower (248 vs. 237) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 251) than the Discovery Sport’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC40 gets better fuel mileage than the Discovery Sport:

MPG

XC40

FWD

T4 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Discovery Sport

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl. (237 HP)

21 city/25 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl. (286 HP)

20 city/25 hwy

The XC40 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC40’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Discovery Sport:

XC40

Discovery Sport

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.8 inches

Tires and Wheels

The XC40’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Discovery Sport SE’s standard 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The XC40 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC40’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better maneuverability, the XC40’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the Discovery Sport’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.3 feet).

Chassis

The Volvo XC40 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

The XC40 is 6.8 inches shorter than the Discovery Sport, making the XC40 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The XC40 is 8.2 inches narrower than the Discovery Sport, making the XC40 easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

The design of the Volvo XC40 amounts to more than styling. The XC40 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .34 Cd. That is lower than the Discovery Sport (.36). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the XC40 get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC40. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Land Rover Discovery Sport is limited to 4409 pounds. The XC40 offers up to a 4630 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC40 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Model Availability

The XC40 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Discovery Sport doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

The Volvo XC40 outsold the Land Rover Discovery Sport by 392 units during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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