Depending on which engine is specified, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport can vary from a frugal long-distance cruiser to a vehicle that’s far brisker than any SUV has any right to be. Base models come with a 340-hp supercharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine, with an identical-capacity diesel, a more powerful six-cylinder gasoline unit and two 5.0-liter supercharged eight-cylinder gasoline engines available at a premium. All versions come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Prices for even base models are steep – but the plush cabin goes some way to making up for the financial outlay.
The regular Land Rover Range Rover has long upheld a reputation of being an extremely capably high-end SUV, so it’s unsurprising that the smaller Range Rover Sport is equally as impressive. Whilst it’s not without fault (for instance, cargo space is lacking and the price tag is pretty steep by class standards), the Range Rover Sport compensates with its plush interior, excellent refinement and strong range of powertrain options. If you can afford it, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport should be strongly considered as your next high-end SUV.
As with all Range Rover variants, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport has a well-trimmed interior, with the quality of the materials and construction going someway to justifying the higher list price the Land Rover has over its main rivals. Cabin space is also pretty good, with lots of leg and head-room on five-seater models (the optional two rear seats are on the small side, however), and the storage spaces are as plentiful as they are sizeable.
‘The quality and fit-and-finish is there, but the trunk space is lacking somewhat’
Ergonomics impress on the Land Rover Range Rover Sport too, with the touchscreen interface and large controls being easy to operate when driving. Sadly, cargo space isn’t as impressive: whilst the trunk opening is large and the flat floor eases the task of loading heavier items in, the 27.7 cubic feet and 62.2 cubic feet capacities with the rear seats folded up and down respectively are amongst the smallest you’ll find in this segment.
‘Despite the ‘Sport’ branding, the more compact Range Rover is more adept as a cruiser’
Being the ‘sportier’ member of the Range Rover family, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport is unsurprisingly more dynamic to drive than its bigger brother. Body lean when cornering is well suppressed for an SUV, and the blend of light steering and good visibility makes it straightforward to place the car accurately on the road. It’s in comfort, though, where the Range Rover Sport impresses the most, with the ride quality and noise deadening being very good by segment standards. Plus, being a Land Rover, the Range Rover Sport is unsurprisingly very adept as an off-roader.
‘All engine options are great all-rounders – with the diesel in particular being very efficient’
For most buyers, the base 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine should be more than enough for their needs. With 340-hp on tap, it has plenty of pulling power and – whilst economy figures aren’t class-leading – the 17mpg city/23mpg highway figures are fine for a car this size. Those after better efficiency, however, will want the 254-hp diesel engine, which can return 22mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway. Even performance buyers are catered to, courtesy of three gasoline engines: a 380-hp six-cylinder, a 510-hp eight-cylinder and a 550-hp range-topper in the flagship ‘SVR’ model. A slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission is available across all engines.
‘Good equipment levels as standard – though options can increase the already steep list price substantially’
As standard, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport comes with a decent array of features as standard. Every variant gets adjustable air suspension, climate control, navigation, permanent all-wheel drive lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking, with all but the base car getting heated seats and premium stereos added to the spec sheet. Most safety packages are relatively inexpensive options too, but other add-ons are considerably pricier. No crash test results are available for the Land Rover Range Rover Sport at time of writing, but the array of safety features should ensure the car will fare well in an accident.
With its high-end interior, great range of engines and excellent on-road ability, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a very impressive overall package. Admittedly, it’s also the most expensive car in this class by some margin – but, if your budget stretches far enough, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a luxury SUV you should definitely consider.