By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
Lexington, KY — Land Rover invited us to join them at the annual Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event in Lexington and it turned out to be one of the most interesting and fun programs we’ve been to in our 24 years in the automotive journalism business.
Here are the details on Jumping event, the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event winners and our review of the 2015 Land Rover Discover Sport that we drove while in Lexington.
If you missed the first part go to http://ourautoexpert.com/land-rover-at-rolex-kentucky-3-day-event-part-1/ .
The Jumping Test
The Jumping Test is not an ordinary show jumping competition, explained our new friend and Rolex 3-Day competitor, Gina Miles from San Luis Obispo, Calif. She said it is designed to prove that after the Cross Country, a day or jumping solid obstacles at speed, the horse still have the obedience and stamina to jump, at a controlled pace over obstacles that will easily fall down.
The 2015 Rolex 3-Day was Gina’s return to the challenging four-star competition after retiring her horse McKinlaigh. The pair logged an individual Silver Medal win in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Unfortunately, she was eliminated early in this competition.
Like the Cross Country, the horses get no practice on the course, so the riders must walk and memorized the winding course in the Rolex Area. This Four Star event designed by Richard Jeffery of Dorset, England, is 600 meters (656 yards) and includes 13 numbered obstacles with 16 jumps required. The speed is set for about 14 miles per hour. Riders completing the course in less than the optimal time get no reward, but times longer than the optimal are penalized one point per second. Other penalty points are assessed for knocking down an obstacle or if the horse refuses a jump.
After a sunny Sunday of jumping the Rolex 3-Day ended after four days of tests. Michael Jung from Germany had won first and third overall on two different horses. Tim Price from New Zealand was second. William Fox-Pitt, an early favorite and the three time winner of the Rolex 3-Day and four-time Olympian, placed fourth.
William Coleman riding OBOS O’Reilly, was presented with a two-year lease on a 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport for having the Land Rover Best Ride of the Day on the Saturday Cross Country Test.
We enjoyed this event so much we are now planning to go to what many of the contestants say is the second best equestrian eventing competition in the United States. It’s called The Event at Rebecca Farms. It’s held just outside of Kalispell, Montana, July 23 – 26, 2015.
The Land Rover Discover Sport
Our transportation for most of our time in Lexington was the 2015 Land Rover Discover Sport HSE. The Discovery Sport starts with the same mechanical architecture used on the sporty Range Rover Evoque, except the Discovery offers a seating option for seven in three rows of seating in a 5+2 configuration with the second row elevated by two inches to allow for better forward visibility. Cargo space with the third row folded is 16.9 cubic feet and it can be expanded to 67 cubic feet when the second and third row seatbacks are folded.
The styling is crisp and muscular with a distinctive new “C” pillar design that distinguishes the Discovery Sport from the other more boxy-looking models. To maintain its trim athletic character engineers have used aluminum for the roof, hood, tailgate and suspension.
The Discovery Sport interior, while not quite at the same level as the upscale Range Rover models, is attractive, well designed and comfortable easily making it one of the best in the upscale premium compact SUV grouping. We thought it was exceptionally comfortable on our drives in the Lexington area.
The upper trim levels of the Discovery sport feature extra touches like twin-needle stitched leather on the instrument panel and door surfaces along with accents of real metal, not merely simulated metal. All the models come with standard leather seating surfaces with the top levels getting more luxurious treatments.
Land Rover offers an extensive list of wheel choices and various personalization options for an owner to customize the Discovery.
The standard drivetrain is a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a nine-speed ZF automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The shifter is a large dial on the center console and it can be manually shifted using steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
The combination four-cylinder engine and nine-speed automatic transmission produces a very good SUV fuel economy level of 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Land Rover says the Discovery Sport accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds and has a top speed of 124 mph. We understand that a diesel option is planned for later this year.
Unlike some premium compact SUVs that look good but are best suited for urban exploration, the 2015 Discovery Sport is a full-fledged Land Rover with a full range of capabilities both on and off-road. We experienced it on the Land Rover Off-Road Course at the Rolex event and Bill drove it in Iceland earlier this year at the introduction. The Land Rover signature Terrain Response® system allows the driver to select from five different terrain conditions: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud and Ruts; Sand and optionally a Dynamic mode which heightens on-road performance and driver feedback.
The list of all terrain technologies includes Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control®, Wade Sensing TM, Roll Stability Control; Dynamic Stability Control, Electronic Traction Control and Engine Drag torque Control. Each of these features helps the driver to maintain optimum control over the vehicle through a broad range of driving conditions. What all this means to the Discovery Sport driver is excellent control on nearly any type of surface or terrain and in many cases it will keep the driver out of trouble.
Part of the appeal of the Discovery Sport is the advanced safety technologies available including innovations like a pedestrian airbag which is mounted between the front bumper cover and bumper beam. It deploys in 60 milliseconds when it detects an impact at 15 to 30 mph to help reduce the risk of serious injury to a pedestrian. One other innovation is the Autonomous Emergency Braking which helps avoid or mitigate collisions below 50 mph.
Combined with features like Park Assist, Automatic High-Beam Assist, Lane departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Trailer Stability Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and Close Vehicle Sensing the Discovery Sport has nearly all the same features at the top level Range Rovers.
For more information on the 2015 Land Rover Discover Sport go online to http://www.landrover.com/vehicles/new-discovery-sport/index.html .
The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport comes in three trim levels. The SE starts at $37,995, including the destination charge. The HSE and HSE Lux are $42,495 and $46,495 respectively. With all the available options the Discovery Sport price can climb over $50,000; making it a no compromise vehicle but still at an affordable price.