2010 Range Rover Sport: driven

* Posher, smoother, quicker * Fuel-efficient engines * Costs from £44,895...

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What Car? Staff
13 August 2009

2010 Range Rover Sport: driven

We took the revamped Range Rover Sport for a test drive and found it's so much more than just a footballers' fashion accessory.

The latest revisions include a more jewel-like nose and lights, a more upmarket cabin, and some serious engineering alterations in line with what's been done to the Range Rover and Discovery.

Performance and ride

The Sport gets a 242bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel in place of the former 2.7, and a 505bhp 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8 to take over from the 4.2.

The improved torque has allowed Land Rover to revise the ZF six-speed automatic gearbox so that it is now smoother in operation.

There's a new predictive damping system, too. Sensors read the road and adjust the suspension at each corner, in line with how the car is being driven, while the Terrain Response system the knob between the seats that lets you set-up the car for whatever kind of environment you're crossing now has a Dynamic programme to give a tauter, crisper on-road drive.

The brakes and stability control system have been honed, and there are even revisions to reduce wheel slip on sand.

A surround-view camera system makes it easier to manoeuvre out of tight spots and lets you keep an eye on the position of the front wheels in difficult off-road conditions.

Fuel-efficient engines

The two new engines (the 3.6 V8 diesel continues unchanged) are anything up to 9% more fuel-efficient than the ones they replace. They also make the Sport much quicker.

The supercharged V8 will grab most of the attention, because of how dramatically it can shift a car of this size, but overall the V6 diesel is the more impressive: smooth, refined, really punchy and capable of 30mpg if you're steady.

That's still not the best bit. What really gets you, as you sit in the near total calm of your luxurious leather cocoon, is how you can keep pace with a Subaru Impreza WRX on a demanding country road one minute, then crawl down a muddy mountain into a water-filled ravine the next. Try that in your BMW X6M, Mr Footballer.

Our verdict

So much better than the car it replaces.