The latest Range Rover Sport represents a fusion of ideas, possessing the technology and nimble handling of newer models without sacrificing the comfort and off-road excellence long associated with the brand.
Everyone has heard of the Range Rover Sport, but this is so much more the all-year round car than any of its predecessors have been – where they were built on heavy steel frames, the latest version gets a light aluminium chassis, adaptive dampers and anti-roll bar technology which makes it unbelievably dynamic. Despite these changes, its sheer size and stature still make that characteristic impression and it loses absolutely nothing when it comes to style.
The features inspired by the Evoque – bar mesh grille, slender headlights and deep front bumper – are clear for everyone to see and the car is nothing short of imposing; it’s certainly longer and wider than most of its rivals in this sector. The black window frames are interesting, while the clamshell bonnet and small light clusters let you know it’s still a Range Rover at heart.
The interior is first-class, leather and metal as far as the eye can see and a sleek finish. Parents will certainly enjoy the large screens and open layout of the dashboard, although the low-resolution display on the Sat-Nav may be a bit of a let-down.
You would expect the Sport, which weighs two-tonne at the curb, to handle like a caravan in the corners but thanks to its lightweight construction, it’s actually surprisingly agile during the drive.
On the road, there is very little in this category that can touch it. With the 3.0L SDV6 Diesel barely audible in the front, the Sport is an imperious cruiser and the eight-speed automatic transmission and astonishing refinement mean long-distance is no longer an obstacle – instead something you will find yourself looking forward to. There’s no doubt this vehicle has the unique ability to be both a performer and a luxury cruiser; something epitomised by the diesel SDV6 model which offers 288bhp and 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds.
Off-road, the Sport has settings for mud, gravel, snow, rocks or sand, courtesy of the familiar Terrain Response System and the only way to describe its performance on all of them is outstanding. With a number of specialist modes, the option to raise the car’s height and screens showing you everything that’s going on, tech-lovers will feel like they’re in the gadget equivalent of a sweet-shop.
When looking at reliability, Land Rover’s most recent models including the Freelander, Discovery and Evoque have all drastically improved on a reputation that hasn’t always been great. With Xenon lights, advanced stability control, eight airbags and roll control, the Sport definitely has safety covered and should be fairly reliable. Plus, the latest incarnation of the car also shares its running gear and electronic systems with the bigger Range Rover, a sharing solution which Land Rover say will improve their technology in the long-term.
It’s probably not a surprise that the Sport is also pretty practical, when you consider it takes inspiration from the huge original Range Rover. Parents will love the 784-litre boot as standard and there’s plenty of foot-space throughout the car; the fact the air-suspension can be lowered by 50mm to improve access is also a nice touch.
There’s simply no cheap way of running a powerful and luxurious four-wheel drive car such as the Range Rover Sport, but this is yet another area where the introduction of the aluminium chassis is reaping its benefits. The SDV6 diesel models offers 37.7mpg and C02 emissions of 199g/km – not economical figures that will leave you awestruck but still very reasonable.
The Range Rover Sport ultimately offers a dynamic drive; Land Rover’s famed off-road comfort and a versatility that very few models in this category can match.
|Family Appeal||Value for Money||Verdict|
|Practical, comfortable, spacious in cabin and boot.||£61,250 is good value when you get great performance in the city, off-road or cruising; running costs to consider.||Incredibly versatile, more dynamic and reliable than previous models.|
Car tested: Range Rover Sport 3 litre SDV6 diesel.
Model: Mariana Black with Ebony Leather Seats, Ebony and Lunar Interior with Sports Tex Aluminium Veneer. HSE Dynamic Spec with Sliding Panoramic Roof. 22″ Alloy Sparkle Silver Wheels.