Range Rover Sport long-term test: report 1

This luxury SUV aims to blend the opulence of the latest Range Rover with a sharper drive, but does it succeed? We're living with a nearly new example to find out...

Range Rover Sport LT with person standing in front of it

The car Used Range Rover Sport D350 Autobiography Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it’s here To see if the full-sized Range Rover's sportier sister feels as special as it should during everyday use

Needs to Offer the comfort, refinement and general wow factor that you'd expect from a £100k luxury SUV, while mixing in the driving fun you wouldn't

Mileage on arrival 6200 Mileage now 6600 List price when new (2022) £99,245 Price new with options £100,790 Value on arrival £100,186 Test economy 29.8mpg Official economy 36.7mpg Options fitted Firenze Red metallic paint (£895), privacy glass (£475), front fog lights (£175), 22in diamond turned alloy wheels with satin contrast (nco), black brake callipers (nco), black contrast roof (nco), Ebony perforated Semi-Aniline leather seats (nco) SV Bespoke full extended leather upgrade (nco), SV Bespoke Ebony Suedecloth headlining (nco) and Natural Black veneer finishers (nco)

22 August 2023 - Getting a head start

It’s estimated that the average person in the UK spends about five years of their lives queuing, including six months waiting at traffic lights (hopefully not all in one go, but sometimes it feels like it). And that’s probably why many of us reserve a special place in hell for queue jumpers (I know I do).

Unfortunately, due to huge demand you can currently add up to two years to your personal queuing total if you order a new Range Rover Sport; Land Rover is refreshingly transparent about delivery times, showing these for each of its models within its online configurator – right down to how your wait varies depending on the engine and trim you choose.

Range Rover Sport LT rear cornering

However, there are two ways to get your hands on the latest Range Rover Sport earlier without turning into someone you despise: order one of the less popular variants (entry-level SE models, for example, can be delivered in as little as three months) or opt for a nearly new car. And it’s the latter route that I’ve gone down.

Specifically, my Sport is a 10-month-old D350 diesel in high-end Autobiography trim. It had covered just 6200 miles before I took delivery so, aside from a small scratch on one of the climate control dials, it looks and feels like it’s just left the factory. And, being an Autobiography, it has pretty much every luxury you can imagine.

Highlights include soft-close doors, an opening panoramic glass roof, a surround sound stereo and four-zone climate control. What’s more, the seats are heated and ventilated in both the front and rear, with the fronts also offering 22-way electric adjustment and a massage function; I’ve actually never been a fan of in-car massage systems, because it just feels to me like the seat is digging you in the back, but maybe the Sport’s will convert me.

Range Rover Sport LT over the shoulder driving shot

The list of driver assistance features is similarly comprehensive, encompassing adaptive cruise control with steering assist,  lane-departure and rear cross-traffic alert systems, blindspot monitoring and automatic emergency braking (AEB). And with four-wheel drive, height-adjustable air suspension and Land Rover's latest Terrain Response system, the Sport should have off-road ability worthy of the brand.

I was tempted by the idea of combining all of this with plug-in hybrid power, given that the P440e version of the Sport is officially capable of travelling for up to 70 miles at a time purely on electric power. However, so far at least, I’m not regretting choosing the slightly cheaper D350 instead; diesel engines might me about as fashionable as mullet haircuts, but this 345bhp unit makes the Sport feel effortlessly fast and is delightfully smooth and quiet.

Add in the view that you get from the hugely elevated driving position, and the way the suspension is almost as supple as that of the full size Range Rover, and you’ve got a car that’s wonderfully relaxing. In fact, I personally prefer the way the Sport rides; yes, it thumps a bit more over bumps in the road as they pass beneath the wheels (22in on my car), but they still don’t cause any real discomfort, and the tighter control means less body float over undulations.

Range Rover Sport LT side

As the second owner of my car, I obviously didn’t get to spec it to my exact tastes, but I reckon the Firenze Red metallic paint, black contrasting roof and dark interior all suit it. And, as with many high-end models these days, you can can change the colour of the ambient interior lighting to suit your preference – or in this case, my six-year-old daughter’s, with her opting for a violent shade of pink that works surprisingly well (or could that be my parental bias?).

Right now, then, I’m enjoying life with the Range Rover Sport. But it remains to be seen whether the months will start to feel like years during extended everyday use, or if I continue to be glad that I decided to live for today rather than tomorrow.

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