In the luxury sport utility segment, there are many contenders vying for consumer dollars. Our comparison today takes two of those and pits them together. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a new offering from Rover that isn’t as trail ready as some of its bigger siblings. Meanwhile, the Lexus GX 460 is a step away from the crossovers in the Lexus lineup that builds on the Land Cruiser line with emphasis on capability off the track. These two represent a divergence for their respective makers and are thus an interesting matchup, even if they aren’t exactly equals in the marketplace.

Fast VS Facts

Contenders: 2015 Discovery Sport 2015 GX 460
City/Hwy MPG:  20/26  15/20
Base Price: $37,070 $49,485
Strong Point:  Cargo Space  Towing
Weakness: Less Versatile Poor Fuel Economy
Showdown Score:  17  16

Daily Use Ergonomics

Discovery Sport: 4 | GX 460: 3

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport - 8 - AOA1200pxOur first comparison is with interiors and daily use. The 2015 Discovery Sport offers a well-fitted, old world interior that is no-nonsense in its approach. Seating is good, a third row is optional (and only for kids), and its cargo area is phenomenally easy to access.

The Lexus GX 460, for its part, is more Americanized in its layout and appeal, but does far more to emphasize comfort than does the lower-cost Rover. Its third row is child-friendly and its cargo space is more accessible than it might be thanks to a throwback swinging door design.

Comparing them together, though, the Land Rover clearly wins out for everyday use thanks to its lower step-in height, more usable cargo area, etc. It is a close call, though, and those with the money to spend will not be disappointed with the Lexus as a choice.

Offroad Dynamics

Discovery Sport: 4 | GX 460: 5

2015 Lexus GX 460 - Stocktons 1 - AOA1200pxThe Land Rover has the advantage of a storied reputation for off the path capability, but the Discovery Sport is one of the brand’s departures from hardcore, trail-ready offerings. The Lexus, on the other hand, comes from a brand whose emphasis is usually luxury, not utility, and surprises with its emphasis on muscular capability.

For most people, both machines will be equal, but for those who truly go off the track and deep into the hinterlands, the Lexus is definitely the more capable of these two.

Ride Comfort

Discovery Sport: 5 | GX 460: 4

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport - interior 1 - AOA1200pxHere, again, we have a close call. The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport is an excellent on-road drive with a surprisingly smooth track. It’s especially astute in town and holds superior maneuverability. The Lexus GX 460, by comparison, is a good on-road drive despite its bulky suspension, but it is less maneuverable in town and has a thicker feel to its steering.

Powertrain Options

Discovery Sport: 4 | GX 460: 4

2015 Lexus GX 460 - Stocktons 2 - AOA1200pxHere is where things get very different for the two machines, resulting in a tie score. The Discovery Sport is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that outputs 240 horsepower. The GX 460, on the other hand, is powered by a huge eight-cylinder block that outputs 301 horsepower. Both are equally capable in most respects (highway feel, on-road dynamics, etc) despite their huge disparity in displacement and outputs. The choice comes down to consumer need. The Land Rover offers far better fuel economy whereas the Lexus offers about two thousand pounds more towing capacity. Because the choice between them is largely about consumer need rather than the vehicles’ abilities, we’re calling this a draw.

Final Assessments

In a very close contest, we’re giving the win to the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport. Technically, these two sport utilities are not really competitors, with the Lexus being firmly in the luxury market and the Rover being a more entry-level luxury offering. They are, however, similar in capability and need and often compare in shoppers’ minds.

To read the individual reviews of the Showdown contenders, links are below for your convenience.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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