Land Rover Range Rover Sport 4x4 full 9 point review
Even the least-powerful engine (the 3.0-litre V6 diesel) is strong enough, but it still doesn’t have the outright performance of similarly priced rivals, such as the Porsche Cayenne S diesel and BMW X5 M50d. V8 petrol and diesel versions are also available, and these are genuinely fast.
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 Range Rover Sport is a hushed cruiser that’s brilliant at shutting out wind and road noise. You rarely have to work the SDV6 engine hard, but it remains hushed even when you do. The V8 diesel, by contrast, makes a lovely burbling noise that wouldn’t be out of place in a V8 petrol car. The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox is generally smooth, although it can get caught out when you need a sudden burst of acceleration.
Buying & Owning
The Range Rover Sport sits at the more expensive end of the SUV market, but it should hold its value well and running costs are comparable with rivals’. Our True MPG test shows that the SDV6 should average 31.5mpg in real-world driving – almost exactly the same as the V8 diesel version of the Porsche Cayenne.
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 – borrowed from the regular Range Rover – lend a modern twist to an otherwise stately driver environment. Land Rover has traditionally performed poorly in reliability surveys, though, and some of the Sports we’ve tested have had problems.
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 even better equipped, but they're not such good value.