What's the used Land Rover Range Rover Sport 4x4 like?
The first Range Rover Sport gained a bit of an unfortunate reputation, not only for the type of person who bought it but also for the rather humble Land Rover Discovery chassis that the car rode on. Many thought the moniker ‘Sport’ was sadly misplaced and some of the traditional Range Rover values debased.
This second-generation version is a completely new car, however, and rides on the same up-to-date underpinnings as the latest Range Rover, although the Sport variant is smaller, lighter and lower. Much use is made of aluminium, in both cars, and the Sport, despite not being a lightweight, is at least now competitive with its rivals in this regard, despite its obvious opulence.
The engine range kicks off with an entry-level 236bhp 2.0-litre diesel. This is followed by the 302bhp 3.0-litre SDV6, while completing the diesel range is the venerable 4.4-litre V8. The petrol engine option consists of two supercharged units, a 335bhp 3.0-litre V6 and a 5.0-litre V8 in two power outputs – 503bhp and 542bhp in the mega-swift SVR version.
There are four trims to choose from: HSE, HSE Dynamic, Autobiography Dynamic and the rabid SVR. Entry-level models come with 20in alloy wheels, xenon headlights, keyless entry, front foglights and a reversing camera as standard, while inside there is perforated leather upholstery, heated seats all round, lane departure warning and Jaguar Land Rover's InControl infotainment system complete with sat-nav.
Upgrade to HSE Dynamic and the car gains red Brembo brakes, a twin-speed transfer box, JLR's all-terrain mode, lots of gloss black exterior mouldings and 21in alloy wheels, while Autobiography Dynamic adds a panoramic roof, ventilated seats, a 19-speaker Meridian audio system, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, blindspot monitoring and a 360deg camera system.
Range-topping SVR not only gets the rapid 5.0 V8 motor, but also a quad-exhaust system, darkened headlights, blue Brembo brake calipers and a specially designed rear spoiler.
It’s the diesel engines that are the most popular in the Range Rover Sport, since they provide the best combination of performance and reasonable fuel economy. The 2.0 is refined enough, but not quick. The SDV6 has plenty of low-rev shove, helping to mask the car’s mass. However, rivals such as the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 272 and BMW X5 40d are still that little bit faster. If you can afford it, the 4.4 V8 provides the car with effortless pace and acceptable running costs.
As far as the petrols go, the 3.0 V6 propels the Range Rover Sport down the road fairly swiftly. However, you need to rev it harder than the diesels and it’s too thirsty to recommend. The 503bhp 5.0 supercharged V8 delivers plenty of performance and noise, making the Range Rover Sport something of a super-luxury SUV dragster. Fuel bills are, as you’d expect, scary.
The SVR model is the full-house, go-faster model. It’s thunderously powerful, noisy and exciting, but with sufficiently good manners to soothe the miles away when required.
All Range Rover Sports offer an excellent blend of stability and relative agility. It isn’t the most athletic SUV of its kind, nor is it one that feels smaller than it actually is, and some rivals also offer more grip and tighter body control. However, it’s an easy car to drive along a twisty road – and you can’t say that of all Range Rovers.
There’s good news in the ride department, too; most versions of the Range Rover Sport offer exemplary ride comfort. Particularly impressive suppleness at high speed makes this a superb car to drive on a long journey. The best-riding cars are at the bottom of the range – those on standard 20in wheels.
Inside, there’s an incredibly comfortable driver's seat and an excellent and commanding driving position; visibility is excellent. All Range Rover Sports get a pair of 10.0in touchscreens, one at the top of the dashboard and the other below it, just in front of the gear selector. This second screen is the one that you use to access the air conditioning and off-road modes, but you can also operate the multimedia system through it while the main screen displays the navigation.
The fit and finish of the interior is exceptionally high, with good use of soft-touch materials and plenty of leather, although one or two of the switches seem a little tackier to the touch.
The Range Rover Sport is not short of space, either front or rear. The only person who might complain is the passenger in the middle rear seat, because the two outer ones are quite sculpted. The car also has a third row, with two flip-up seats in the boot, although these are difficult to access and tight for space. They’re best suited to children or small adults.
With these seats folded away, the boot is large, wide and fairly tall, and easy to get things in and out of. Dropping the rear seats can be done electrically.