- Offers the luxury of a Range Rover but more fun to drive
- Generously-equipped with all the mod cons and more
- Brilliant off-road ability
- Expensive to buy and not cheap to run either
- Some rivals feel more dynamic to drive
- The company has had some reliability issues
The Range Rover Sport boasts all the luxury and glamour of the Range Rover but is cheaper to buy and ultimately more fun to drive with a sportier edge – as its name suggests.
It’s a five-door family SUV that possesses all the off-road know-how associated with the Land Rover name, although in reality, very few owners will venture far from the Tarmac in their £100k-plus vehicle.
There is a wide selection of trim levels called SE, Dynamic SE, Autobiography and a limited-run First Edition model. In addition, customers have a choice of powertrains with the Range Rover Sport available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid versions. All models have an automatic transmission and are all-wheel drive.
We opted for the Range Rover Sport in Autobiography trim powered by a 3.0-litre diesel engine with eight-speed automatic gearbox.
If you’re looking for a car with a strong road presence and you have the suitable budget to play with, then the Range Rover Sport should definitely be on your list of possibilities.
Our test car really looked the business featuring striking Firenze Red paintwork with a black contrast roof, black brake calipers, a sliding panoramic roof, soft close doors with flush deployable door handles, privacy glass, digital LED headlights with signature daytime running lights and 22-inch alloys wheels.
Moving inside and the cabin is beautifully refined with the finest upholstery throughout. There are 22-way heated and ventilated seats with a memory setting and massaging function, along with a power-adjustable steering wheel so it’s simple to find the perfect driving position.
The main focal point is a 13.1-inch infotainment screen offering access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connection, along with Bluetooth, a DAB radio, sat nav, 360-degree camera and lots more besides. There is a wireless charging pad, voice control, plus a head-up display to keep a watchful eye on the speed.
In addition, the 13.7-inch driver information display offers all the vital data in a clear, crisp fashion.
Comfort levels for all occupants are truly sublime and the Range Rover Sport designers have considered all eventualities on this car as it also features double sun visors, so the side and windscreen can be shaded from the sun at the same time. Clever stuff.
On The Road
Handling & Performance
Our Range Rover Sport was powered by an Ingenium 3.0-litre, six-cylinder twin turbocharged diesel mild-hybrid engine, delivering 350hp and 700Nm of torque. It could sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds and topped out at 145mph.
Despite its high-sided, full-sized SUV styling, the Range Rover Sport is deceptively agile and sprightly as it powers through the twisting country lanes with body sway kept to a minimum.
It’s beautifully balanced and the grip is outstanding even when pushed hard on the tighter B roads where the elevated driving position offers a great view across the top of the hedgerows.
On motorways, you can sit back and relax because the Range Rover Sport is the ultimate cruiser, sitting comfortably at 70mph and the impressive cruise control set-up is simple to work and will keep you planted centrally in your lane and a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
There are drive modes called Eco, Comfort and Dynamic that alter the characteristics of the car and you can take extra control of the automatic gearbox with paddles for manual changes.
It feels quite a large car to drive around town, but is quite nimble and easy to manoeuvre. And there is all manner of cameras, sensors and a Park Assist system to help with parking.
The additional dynamic air suspension on our test car meant any bumps and dips in the road were perfectly smoothed out and the vehicle seemed to almost glide without being wallowy in the process.
Space & Practicality
Despite being the slightly smaller sibling of the flagship Range Rover model, the Sport still boasts a very strong road presence with larger-than-life dimensions.
It stretches 4,946mm in length, is 2,209mm wide with mirrors out, 1,820mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,997mm. The vehicle weighs in at 2.4 tonnes and can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.
Space within the cabin is very generous with ample leg, head and shoulder room for a trio of adults to sit comfortably in the back. And storage options also impress with a boot, accessed via a powered tailgate, that can accommodate 835 litres of kit, increasing to 1,860 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. There is a pull-up divider section along with straps to stop items rolling around. And for added convenience, the rear seats can be automatically lowered and raised via switches inside the boot.
Elsewhere there are a number of practical storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, including a double glovebox, front and rear door bins, a central cubby, front cup holders that slide away to reveal another deep compartment, rear cup holders, plus pull-out pockets in the seat backs.
Of course, being a Land Rover, the Range Rover Sport is equipped to cope with the most demanding off-road terrain. If any owner is brave enough to put their £100k vehicle to the test, it can wade through water up to 900mm deep, has an off-road approach angle of 29.7 degrees, departure angle of 30.0 degrees and ramp angle of 26.9 degrees.
With confident 4x4 capability, the Terrain Response settings of Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud-ruts, Sand and Wade makes this Range Rover Sport virtually unstoppable.
The Range Rover Sport line-up is priced from £80,325 for the D300 3.0-litre 300hp diesel version in entry-level SE trim and rises to £112,040 for the P510e 3.0-litre 510hp petrol PHEV model in First Edition specification.
Our test car, the D350 3.0-litre 350hp diesel model in Autobiography grade cost £99,770, although like most premium car makes there are all manner of packs and options available to fully personalise your vehicle.
Optional extras on our test car included a Stormer Handling Pack, costing £5,330 and this introduced an electronic active differential with torque vectoring by braking, dynamic air suspension with dynamic response pro, all-wheel steering and configurable programs. With a few more add-ons, the final price-tag on the car was £106,120.
So, not exactly cheap then, but it’s worth remembering this is a premium car of the highest quality. Day-to-day running costs are a little more encouraging with WLTP-tested combined fuel efficiency of 36.7mpg and carbon emissions of 202g/km.
But this CO2 figure will result in a hefty first year road tax bill of £1,420 or £1,565 (2023/2024 rates) which would drop down to the standard annual fee of £165 or £180 (if taxed after April 1 this year).
However as the Range Rover Sport costs in excess of £40k owners are hit with a government premium car levy which adds a further £365 for five years after the first 12 months. Once again, this will be increased to £390 if the car is purchased after April 1.
The Range Rover Sport test car has a Benefit in Kind tax rating of 37 per cent and it sits in insurance group 50.
The Range Rover Sport is a powerhouse of a car that is packed to the roof with high-end fixtures and fittings. It is a beautifully refined vehicle to drive, has a wealth of safety tech, covers all the practical bases and can certainly take on any challenge Mother Nature throws in its path. Yes, it is expensive, but you do get a great deal for the outlay.