What Car? says...
The Range Rover Sport has all the credentials of a flagship SUV – from a desirable image to undeniable comfort and refinement. But despite its impressive spec, it isn’t actually Land Rover’s top model.
The Sport is far from overshadowed by the larger and more expensive Range Rover, though, and in many ways it ticks more boxes than its full-fat stablemate. For starters, you can have it with seven seats, which makes it a solid rival for the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE.
If we whet your appetite for a new SUV, be sure to visit the free What Car? New Car Buying pages to find out how much you could save without the hassle of haggling and check out all the Range Rover Sport deals.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The plug-in hybrid P400e Range Rover Sport combines a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor for a healthy 0-62mph time of 6.3sec (after a bit of hesitation). The BMW X5 45e and Volvo XC90 T8 are faster, but the P400e is more than punchy enough on the road. It’ll run on electricity alone for up to a claimed 25 miles (less than 20 miles in the real world), some way off the X5 45e and Mercedes GLE 300de.
Confusingly, there’s also a P400 (without the ‘e’). It’s a 3.0-litre, straight-six petrol engine with mild-hybrid assistance, and it’s quick but needs working hard to feel it. Our preferred engine is the D300 six-cylinder diesel, which has far more low-end oomph and is a wise choice if you plan to tow a heavy trailer. Rivals such as the Audi Q7 50 TDI and BMW X5 xDrive40d are a little faster, although the D300’s 0-62mph time of 7.3sec is ample. We wouldn’t bother paying the extra for the slightly quicker D350 diesel, and the entry-level D250 is only available with lowly trim levels.
Suspension and ride comfort
Most versions of the Range Rover Sport offer exemplary ride comfort, with high speed suppleness a particular virtue. That makes this a superb car to spend a long journey in. Unlike in some luxury SUVs, you don’t have to fiddle with lots of system preferences to get the car into a comfortable mode. We would say, though, that the Audi Q7 has the edge on it for overall smoothness.
The best-riding Range Rover Sports are those at the bottom of the range, which have smaller wheels. The entry-level HSE comes with 20in wheels with deeper tyre sidewalls that absorb road surface imperfections better. Higher-spec versions with 21in and 22in wheels are still comfortable, but are less supple over bumps. The hybrid P400e feels firmer than conventionally powered models.
The SVR model – the only Range Rover Sport offered with performance road tyres on its optional 22in wheels – has the stiffest ride. It's more comfortable on a motorway than at lower speeds and tends to thump over broken road surfaces in town.
Every Range Rover Sport feels stable and relatively agile, certainly compared with the full-size Range Rover. It's not the most athletic luxury SUV nor is it one that feels smaller than it actually is, and rivals including the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne offer more grip and tighter body control. However, the Range Rover Sport is an easy car to drive along a twisty road, mostly thanks to the consistency of its controls.
Every model apart from the SVR uses the same height-adjustable air suspension set-up, but entry-level HSE versions don’t have all the high-tech handling and off-road aids you get in more expensive variants. They can, though, be added at extra cost and are worth having if off-road prowess or on-road handling poise are high on your list of priorities.
Unsurprisingly, the sharpest Range Rover Sport in the line-up is the range-topping SVR variant. It's no Porsche Cayenne Turbo, but thanks to its mischievously tail-happy nature, enthusiastic drivers will find there’s plenty of fun to be had behind the wheel. In contrast, the P400e hybrid has the least impressive handling. With its massive battery pack under the boot floor, it feels much more ponderous through corners.
The D300 and D350 diesels are delightfully silken and quiet, remaining smooth even when pushed hard. That should bode well for the less powerful D250 too. Nothing in the range beats the plug-in hybrid P400e in electric-only mode for refinement, but its 2.0-litre petrol engine only stays quiet at lower revs. It can also be a little clunky when switching between petrol and electric power.
Despite its six cylinders, the 3.0-litre P400 doesn’t offer any real sonic excitement. It gives off a faint murmur when you’re accelerating gently, but otherwise it’s quiet at a cruise and the engine only sounds gruff at high revs. If you want proper aural excitement, you need the thunderous SVR with its aggressive, bellowing V8 engine.
- The Range Rover Sport is not very reliable by modern car standards. It is one of the three least dependable luxury SUVs in our 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey – and the others were built by Land Rover too (the Land Rover Discovery and the Range Rover). Not surprisingly, the manufacturer did poorly in the survey, finishing 29th out of 30 brands (Fiat came bottom).Read more here
- The Range Rover Sport is available with mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) engines but there is no electric car version yet, although all-electric Land Rover models are on the way. The PHEV P400e combines a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor and can officially travel up to 25 miles using electricity alone. The D250, D300, D350 and P400 engines have mild-hybrid tech to improve efficiency and performance. Read more here.
- The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Range Rover Sport P400e is a good option if you can charge your car regularly to make the most of its potential fuel savings, or are a company car driver. Otherwise, we recommend the smooth and quick D300 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine (0-62mph takes 7.3sec officially). We advise going for the entry-level HSE trim, which includes air suspension, electrically adjustable leather seats, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and an electrically operated tailgate. Read more here.
- The Range Rover Sport HSE Dynamic trim includes all the features you get with HSE and adds 21in alloy wheels (rather than 20in) and extra styling features, including chrome gearshift paddles and illuminated aluminium treadplates with Range Rover script. We don’t think it’s worth the extra money, and while the ride in all Sports is very good, it is better in versions with smaller wheels.Read more here.
- The Range Rover Sport has two 10.0in touchscreens on the dashboard, one sitting below the other. They both have sharp graphics and a clear menu system, and usually respond quickly when you prod them. We would prefer more physical buttons and dials to make it less distracting to operate functions when you’re driving, though. You get built-in sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard.Read more here
- The Range Rover Sport boot is wide and quite tall, offering 780 litres of storage space in most versions. The PHEV model has just over 700 litres because the battery packs take up some room. The Sport has a hands-free electric tailgate as standard and you can drop the back seats to create a very big load bay. There is also some underfloor storage, although this is lost if you choose to have a third row of seats fitted.Read more here
|RRP price range||£79,125 - £114,990|
|Number of trims (see all)||4|
|Number of engines (see all)||6|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||hybrid, petrol, diesel|
|MPG range across all versions||24.9 - 37.7|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£666 / £8,330|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£1,332 / £16,660|