Land Rover Range Rover Sport 4x4 full 9 point review
The entry-level 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is efficient but not that quick, so we’d opt for the stronger 177bhp version. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, but the smooth optional nine-speed automatic offers better performance and a higher 2.2 tonnes towing capacity. Straight-line performance still isn’t sparkling compared with a BMW X3, but there’s enough urge from low revs. All models have active four-wheel drive that, in slippery conditions, sends power to the wheel with the most traction.
Ride & Handling
If you want this Range Rover to live up to its ‘Sport’ badge, you have to specify a model with the Dynamic Pack. This makes it feel very agile for such a tall, heavy car, but most SUV buyers see comfort as more important, and it’s here that lesser Sports are better. Even on 21-inch alloys they do a good job of smothering urban bumps and potholes. Things are even more impressive on the motorway, where the Sport lopes along relaxingly and feels incredibly stable.
The engine is pretty refined, with some vibration through the controls but less diesel clatter than in a BMW X3. The door mirrors whip up some wind noise on the motorway, and there’s some road noise, but only the Audi Q5 is noticeably quieter at speed. The nine-speed automatic gearbox is so smooth that most shifts go unnoticed. It’s a little hesitant when you’re pulling away from a standstill. The manual gearshift is slick, but the auto suits the Sport’s laid-back driving character better.
Buying & Owning
The Discovery Sport has excellent resale values and is priced competitively against premium five-seat rivals such as the Audi Q5, although seven-seat offerings like the Kia Sorento are better value. Real-world economy is slightly disappointing (the 180 auto managed 35.9mpg in our True MPG tests), but the Discovery Sport’s claimed CO2 figures are among the best in the class, so company car tax is relatively low. Servicing costs also stack-up well and competitive PCP finance deals are available.
Quality & Reliability
Cabin quality has long been one of Range Rover’s strongest suits, and the Sport delivers convincingly here. Every surface and switch feels classy, while electronic instrument dials lend a modern twist to an otherwise stately driver environment. Land Rover has traditionally performed poorly in reliability surveys, though.
Safety & Security
Every Range Rover Sport comes with a stability control system that incorporates roll stability and trailer stability control. It’s a little disappointing that there are just six airbags, though, and that the window airbags don’t protect those in the third row. Deadlocks, locking wheel nuts and an alarm are all included.
Behind The Wheel
The driving environment is pretty much perfect. Not only are the seats incredibly comfortable, but the pedals line up nicely with the steering wheel and all-round visibility is excellent. The one disappointment is the touch-screen infotainment system. It looks smart but is frustrating to use, partly because it takes a while to respond to commands, but mainly because the menus are confusingly laid out.
Space & Practicality
The Sport has no more rear leg- or headroom than rivals such as the Porsche Cayenne, but its wider cabin means five people can travel more comfortably. Better still, Land Rover will let you specify a third row of seats, enabling you to carry up to seven people. These fold down into the boot floor electrically when not needed. However, the Sport does miss out on the regular Range Rover’s handy split tailgate.
We'd go for entry-level HSE trim, which comes with electrically adjustable leather seats, sat-nav, keyless entry, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, xenon headlights and a DAB radio. The other versions are sportier and come with even more equipment, but they're not such good value.