- Full Range Rover styling with a sporty twist
- Beautiful design with a modern and luxurious interior
- Superb driving dynamics with full off-road and towing capabilities
- Quite expensive to buy and run
- It’s a heavyweight at 2.2 tonnes
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Land Rover has always set its premium benchmark very high and the Range Rover Sport takes all the opulence and lavish know-how from the larger Range Rover, but adds some true sporting flair to the mix.
Available in a choice of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engines along with four generously-equipped trim levels, the Range Rover Sport is priced at £64,085 for the entry level HSE model rising to £101,145 for the mighty 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged SVR. Customers can also select between five or seven seats.
All models are very capable off road and can easily tow a caravan for a break in the sun. They also offer excellent comfort levels and are a very practical SUV option, albeit for the premium sector.
On The Road
The Range Rover Sport has always been a great car to drive, offering far more agility and dynamism than its bigger sibling – the Range Rover. But when the latest generation model was launched in 2013, it had shed the pounds. In fact, it was 420kgs lighter and that resulted in even better performance capabilities, along with improved running costs.
There have been tweaks and upgrades since and we tested out the very latest Range Rover Sport five-seater in HSE Dynamic guise powered by a SDV6 3.0-litre Turbodiesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This car can complete the 0-60mph dash in a very respectable 6.8 seconds and maxes out at 140mph.
But it’s the manner in which it behaves that really impresses. With 306hp and 700Nm of torque at your disposal, this is a car that offers instant responses. Despite its 2.2-tonne weight and large body size, it handles with sports car reactions.
On the open road, it grips the Tarmac with confidence and long sweeping bends can be attacked with ease. The mid-range acceleration is superb and the power keeps on coming.
Then on fast-moving motorways, it easily reaches and maintains national speed limits, but keep a watchful eye on the speedo, because this car is willing to give so much more.
Ride comfort levels within the Range Rover Sport are exceptionally good. Despite its SUV-styling it coasts through bends with next-to-no body movement whatsoever. Our car was sitting on 21-inch alloys which perfectly suited the vehicle – it was balanced, poised and composed at all times.
The acceleration through the eight-speed automatic gearbox can be as smooth or rapid as you want and there are steering wheel-mounted paddles to take extra control of the gear changes.
I was surprised at just how agile the Range Rover Sport was and the precise steering is another feature worth noting. It makes very light work of weaving through congested town centre traffic and also feels very responsive out on faster B roads. Parking is made simple thanks to sensors and a rearview camera.
Of course, there are all manner of settings and adjustments to alter the characteristics of the car and the all-wheel drive set-up will keep you firmly planted even when driving in more adverse weather conditions. It’s certainly worth switching to the Sport setting to liven up the car’s reactions even further.
Although we stuck firmly to the Tarmac on this test, the Range Rover Sport is very capable off the beaten track too where it can wade through water up to 850mm deep, clear obstacles of 213mm and lean at nerve-racking angles.
Refinement is an area where Land Rover always excels and the Range Rover Sport is another perfect example of that expertise. Step into the car and it’s impossible not to be wowed by the beautifully styled interior fitted with the finest cream and black Windsor leather upholstery. There are piano black trimmings and soft-touch surfaces along with a fabulous array of infotainment systems. Noticeable by their absence though are the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity although we are reliably informed these are to be introduced in 2019. The system has already been launched in the new Jaguar I-PACE.
But the Range Rover Sport is not without its own very impressive set-up. There is Touch Pro Duo that combines two 10-inch touchscreens offering the likes of a premium sat nav system, a pitch perfect Meridian sound system and plenty more besides.
Back seat passengers are treated to their own individual TV screens along with heated seats, two USB outlets and two HDMI ports.
The car’s highly efficient suspension system smooths out all but the harshest of bumps and dips plus the car boasts adaptive dynamics which monitor vehicle movements up to 500 times a second, responding to driver input and the road conditions, to deliver a comfortable and composed ride.
And the Range Rover Sport is beautifully insulated against any outside noise, be it engine, road surface or wind sounds.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Getting comfy inside the Range Rover Sport is easily accomplished with seats that are 16-way power adjustable and a power adjusted steering wheel. The driver benefits from an elevated seating position and that results in superb all-round visibility at all times.
The cockpit is beautifully laid out with all controls at your fingertips. The two touchscreens look modern and the top section is where all the infotainment systems such as the navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, audio settings, rearview camera and WiFi settings are located. The lower screen is responsible for the climate control along with seat heaters etc.
Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch driver interactive display which shows a vast amount of driver information and active safety data. You can view full navigation maps as well as access your phone contacts and control other media.
With all the luxurious materials and state-of-the-art technology, the inside of the Range Rover Sport is a great place to be. Factor in the sunroof with light flooding into the cabin and it’s a modern, sophisticated and very pleasant setting. Ambient lighting completes the look.
Space & Practicality
No matter how much luxury and performance capabilities you throw at a car, an SUV still needs to be practical and the Range Rover Sport is just that. There is oodles of space for the tallest of drivers and front seat passengers who can stretch out in sublime comfort.
Those in the back are also treated to ample room and a pair of adults have plenty of head, leg and shoulder space on long journeys. Add a third person and it gets a little too cosy, but there is enough room should the need arise. The rear seats can be heated and there are USB and HDMI connection points along with eight-inch screens in the back of the front headrests to watch a movie on the go. The Range Rover Sport is also available with seven seats if required.
The boot of the Range Rover Sport HSE Dynamic has a powered gesture tailgate and a capacity of 522 litres, but with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat, that limit rises to 1,686 litres. Land Rover has made clever use of all the available space with a number of other storage options throughout the car. There is a lockable double glovebox, a centre console with armrest, a rear centre armrest, front and rear cup holders, door pockets and a few trays. There are also lashing points in the boot if a larger item needs securing.
As well as all the off-road know-how, the vehicle can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.
As is the case with any premium brands, you can expect a premium price to match and the Range Rover Sport is not a cheap option. Our test car started life at £70,445 but a number of optional extras saw the cost rise to £78,095. There are cheaper models available with the line-up starting from £64,085 and there are more expensive versions with the top-of-the range 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged SVR costing a whopping £101,145 before any extras are added.
Running costs depend on the model you choose. There is a plug-in hybrid model which would be ideal for city dwellers who can charge up overnight. There are also diesel models that can deliver combined mileage figures in the high-40s – this would be a great option for anyone clocking up high motorway mileage. Our petrol version had a combined mpg of 40.4 with carbon emissions of 185g/km. This would mean owners would face a Vehicle Excise Duty cost of £830 for the first tax year and £140 after that.
However there is more expense to factor in because cars with a list price above £40,000 pay a £310 supplement for five years.
The Range Rover Sport SDV6 falls into insurance group rating 43.
Quality & Reliability
The Range Rover Sport has been designed as a go-anywhere vehicle and it can conquer the toughest of terrains. With that in mind the build quality should be excellent and it certainly feels sturdy enough. The doors close with a reassuring thud and all the materials and controls look like they will survive the test of time.
The Land Rover company as a whole has upped its game regarding reliability and has scored highly in more recent customer satisfaction surveys.
The Range Rover Sport comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
Safety & Security
The Range Rover Sport has not been tested for a Euro NCAP rating, but shares many of the structural underpinnings and on-board safety kit with its bigger sibling - the Range Rover - which secured a maximum five-star rating.
Our car was bursting with safety specifications to protect occupants and pedestrians alike as well as numerous driver aids. Features included anti-lock brakes, emergency brake assist, dynamic stability control, electronic traction control, roll stability control, hill descent control, cornering brake control, lane departure warning, trailer stability assist, cruise control with speed limiter, ISOFIX fittings on outer rear seats and a full complement of airbags.