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Range Rover Sport Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The newly-launched third-generation Range Rover Sport is here, offering a journey through the world of luxury and performance, says Tim Barnes-Clay.

Owning something from the Land Rover brand has always been a statement, but that’s even truer nowadays, given JLR has decided to make its cars even more upmarket.

The new Range Rover Sport is a testament to JLR’s commitment to creating a vehicle that’s as luxurious as it is capable – although its increased levels of seduction also bring with it a hefty jump in price tag.

The vehicle is a sight to behold, with muscular lines giving it a robust appearance – and smoother than you’ve ever known, with flush door handles completing the look.

The Fuji White paint job comes as standard, but there’s a choice of 24 others, including the very standout-ish Firenze Red and Velocity Blue colours.

Even the entry-level SE trim is the epitome of luxury, offering a treasure trove of features that make it a standout performer.

The model tested has the D350 Ingenium engine, though, which is only available in the Autobiography edition – and that’s the range-topper (if you exclude the super-powered SV version, of course).

It comes with 22-inch alloy wheels, digital LED headlights as well as signature daytime running lights and a fixed panoramic roof.

If describing the seats could ever be a mouthful, this is it: it has 22-way heated and ventilated massage electric memory front seats. I didn’t even realise there were that many ways to move your chair about.

A Meridian 3D surround sound system comes factory-fitted, along with metal pedals, four-zone climate control, a DAB radio, a wireless charger, a head-up display, keyless entry, and a tracker with a 12-month subscription included.

Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder 350PS twin-turbocharged Diesel MHEV lump, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission, offering a smooth and efficient driving experience.

Behind the wheel, the Range Rover Sport performs well for a big-ish SUV, offering precise handling and a nice blend of softness and sportiness in terms of ride comfort.

Some rivals have it licked for overall agility, but the engine performance is more than adequate for most driving situations. The eight-speed automatic gearbox, however, can feel a bit slow to react if you floor it, but, in truth, it’s a minor gripe.

JLR’s Terrain Response 2 optimises the powerplant, transmission, and other systems to improve traction and performance on different surfaces, further increasing its adeptness off-road.

If you want even more handling prowess, then for the princely sum of £5,330 (including VAT), you can have the Stormer Handling Pack, which adds Dynamic Response Pro, all-wheel steering, and electronic active differential with torque vectoring. This bundle also enables you to customise driving modes so you can set the vehicle up as you wish.

Inside, the Range Rover Sport is a blend of rugged charm and everyday practicality.

The Ebony perforated semi-aniline leather seats give the cabin a premium feel, while the high-quality materials and attention to detail are evident throughout.

The infotainment system is a 13.1-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen, offering an intuitive-to-use layout and, of course, offers Apple CarPlay/Android Auto along with a host of other features, including voice control.

Unsurprisingly, practicality is a strong suit of the Range Rover Sport, offering seating for five, with ample headroom and legroom for all passengers.

The boot space is generous, offering 450 litres with the rear seats up, expanding to 1,860 litres with them folded down.

The Range Rover Sport won’t save you much in terms of fuel or tax, returning 36.7mpg and emitting 202g/km of CO2.

Nevertheless, those figures aren’t bad for a reasonably sizeable all-wheel vehicle with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit. And it’s an improvement on the old Sport, with the new model offering about 5mpg more and around 40g/km less.

Safety is a priority for Land Rover, and the Range Rover Sport is no exception, earning a five-star rating from Euro NCAP when tested late last year, scoring 85% for adults and children, plus 82% for safety assists.

It comes with a seemingly endless list of safety features, which includes a blind spot monitor, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control with steering assist, driver condition monitor, lane keep assist, blind spot assist and a 3D surround camera.

All things considered, the Range Rover Sport is a joy to behold, offering a masterclass in balancing luxury and capability.

It is an SUV that can tackle a muddy trail and then comfortably ferry your family around in splendour and wonderment.

If you’ve got the money, nothing (other than possibly its full-size Range Rover sibling) is likely to match it in terms of external ostentatiousness and internal sumptuousness.

The downside? Well, prior to the launch of this new model, you could buy the thunderous Range Rover Sport SVR for less than this Autobiography car costs.

As I said at the start, the Range Rover name is going even more upmarket, which means more exclusivity and significant price increases across the board.

But if opulence is your thing, and it will be if you’re reading this – then you know you need to have the latest Range Rover Sport on your ‘new luxury SUVs to consider’ shopping list.

Fast Facts – Range Rover Sport [D350 Ingenium Autobiography] as tested:

  • Max speed:            145 mph
  • 0-62 mph:               5.9 secs
  • Fuel economy:       36.7 mpg (WLTP)
  • Engine layout:       3.0-litre six-cylinder twin-turbocharged diesel
  • Max. power (PS):   350
  • CO2:                       202g/km
  • Price:                     £102,540

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