Best AWD SUV $50,000-$65,000

Australia's Best Cars 2016/17

Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 150 SE – Australia's Best AWD SUV $50,000-$65,000

This is a quality field so all credit to Discovery Sport for taking it out. It received a new power-plant in 2016, with the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel replaced by a 2.0-litre engine which delivers identical power of 110kW. It does drop 40Nm of torque to still a healthy 380Nm. The positives of the new unit are the virtual elimination of turbo lag, considerably improved fuel economy – a meagre 5.3L/100km on the official combined test cycle – and significant noise, vibration and harshness refinements.

On the road the Disco Sport has very communicative steering, little body roll and a firm but compliant ride that’s able to absorb significant potholes.  And its off-road performance is well above anything the other finalists can produce. It has better approach and departure angles, greater wheel articulation and a switchable all-terrain system. Add to that roll-over stability and hill descent control and you have probably more capability than any of the other vehicles here are likely to see.

Discovery Sport also delivers in convenience, connectivity and safety. The safety list includes seven airbags plus a pedestrian airbag in the bonnet, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.