by Michael Butler
Range Rovers are a unique subbrand within the Land Rover lineup, equated with luxury and excess, and in the case of the Range Rover Sport, added performance. It's been the enemy of eco-warriors worldwide, but as the world moves towards an electric future, we welcome a new plug-in hybrid version of the Range Rover Sport. The new plug-in hybrid offering features a turbocharged inline-four gas engine and an electric motor that produces a combined power output of 398 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. This augmentation drops fuel consumption, which should stifle the green crowd's grumble for a while, and the all-electric driving range on offer means coming and going from the country club has never been quieter. Other than the new powerplant, the 2020 Range Rover Sport still offers a classy package and stunning ride quality. Land Rover has added a bunch of new driver assistance features, and the overall package is better than ever. The Range Rover Sport Hybrid goes up against the likes of the Lincoln Aviator Hybrid and the Volvo XC90 Hybrid.
Introduced mid-way through 2019, early derivatives may have been badged as 2019 models, but the Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV is as good as all-new for 2020. The P400e is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a compact electric motor. Other additions for 2020 include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, 22-inch gloss-black alloy wheels, and two new paint options, namely Portofino Blue and Eiger Grey.
The exterior of the Range Rover Sport is unmistakable, and the Hybrid model looks no different to the rest of the range: handsome and assured. The HSE features LED headlights, a fixed panoramic roof, a power rear liftgate, and front and rear foglights. Autobiography models add a sliding panoramic roof in black contrast. The base HSE is fitted with 20-inch wheels, while the top-end models roll on 21s.
The overall length of the 2020 Range Rover Sport Hybrid comes in at 192.1 inches, and it rides on a 115.1-inch wheelbase. It stands 71 inches tall and is 87.4 inches wide including wing mirrors. These dimensions are identical to gas-fed variants. When it comes to curb weight, however, the PHEV is much porkier - the Range Rover Sport Hybrid weighs in at 5,430 pounds, substantially heavier than non-hybrid variants that range from 4,755 lbs to just over 5,000 lbs.
With a heritage of off-roading to consider, the Range Rover Sport Hybrid has similar approach, breakover, and departure angles as it's non-PHEV siblings - this includes angles of 26, 21.2, and 26.2 degrees, respectively. Surprisingly, the Hybrid also maintains the 33.5-inch wading depth and 8.4-inch ground clearance.
Under the hood of the 2020 Range Rover Sport Hybrid lies a 2.0-liter turbo inline-four plug-in hybrid power plant. The gas engine is supported by an electric motor to deliver a combined power output of 398 hp and a massive 472 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor is able to work in unison with the gas engine, or can be run individually in the manually selectable EV mode. With both systems working together, throttle response is rapid, and driving around town is an absolute pleasure - Land Rover notes 0-60 mph times of 6.3 seconds, which is not quite as fast as the V8 equipped Range Rovers, but is ahead of the standard six-cylinder-powered SUV. The miles melt away on the highway as well. An eight-speed automatic transmission mated to an active electronic differential with torque vectoring by braking does duty in the hybrid, and works well with the dual personality of this SUV. The PHEV is also rated to tow around 5,511 lbs, which is less than all its siblings but is still sufficient to get your ATV or boat out and about.
Those who have owned or driven Range Rover cars in the past understand how much emphasis Land Rover places on driving comfort. Don't let the Sport label fool you into thinking that the 2020 Range Rover Sport Hybrid is some kind of track-tuned speed weapon - quite the opposite. Drive this thing around the city and feel bumps and undulations melt away. The Sport is a smooth cruising thing and makes for one of the most comfortable daily drivers around. In the bends, you definitely feel the extra weight, but body roll is kept to a minimum, and you never feel as if it will let go, which is confidence-inspiring, to say the least. It's also fairly adept at taking the road less traveled, and does not suffer at all in off-roading, thanks to its hybrid powertrain - in fact, with all that torque available, the Range Rover Sport Hybrid is able to do both urban and actual jungle trails with ease.
When you hear the name Range Rover, what is the first thing to pop into your mind? It's probably "classy" or "expensive." Notice how the term "fuel-efficient" doesn't even make it into the top ten list? Larger Range Rover cars are notoriously heavy on the juice, but the Sport Hybrid is here to kick that stereotype squarely between the legs. The EPA rates that on gas alone, the turbocharged motor will return a combined figure of 19 mpg, but when combined with the hybrid system, that number jumps to 42 MPGe. That's impressive for a weighty SUV, although the diesel-powered non-hybrid proves more efficient still. The Range Rover Sport Hybrid is fitted with a 24.1-gallon fuel tank, which should give it enough range for some serious road-tripping - around 460 miles. The SUV can travel up to 19 miles on a single charge, and can be fully charged in 14 hours. Using a wall box can reduce charging times to only 2.75 hours.
This Midsize luxury SUV offers enough space to comfortably seat five adults, and we found the interior to be roomy; it seems even more spacious thanks to the standard panoramic roof. Headroom comes in at 38.7 inches in the front and 39 inches in the rear. These numbers drop somewhat with the panoramic roof installed, however. Legroom in the front is 39.5 inches, with 37 inches available in the rear. Ingress and egress are aided by a moderate step-in height.
Fox hunting might not be massively popular anymore, but Land Rover still covers enough space in the back of the Range Rover Sport to fit a bunch of them, with room to spare for a set of shotguns and horse saddles. Trunk and cargo space might not be class-leading, but it is still ample: behind the rear seats, you get 24.8 cubic feet of space, growing to 56.8 cubic feet with the 60:40 split second-row seats folded down. Small items can be stored in a lockable glovebox, center console storage bin, or door pockets found in the front and back, while cupholders are present throughout.
The Range Rover Sport is first and foremost a luxury car designed and built to cart around well-to-do people in class-leading comfort, so a long list of standard features should naturally be included in the package, right? Well, the answer is both yes and no. The HSE offers basic luxuries such as an electrically adjustable steering column, two-zone automatic climate control, and ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, and a leather steering wheel, but you have to look at the Autobiography for more luxurious features such as heated and cooled front seats with heated rear seats, soft close doors, and three-zone climate control. Land Rover has bestowed the Range Rover Sport with a large number of driver assistance features, which includes traffic sign recognition, a 360-degree parking aid, rear traffic monitor, blind spot monitor, and lane keep assist. Autobiography cars also get auto high beam assist and a surround-view camera.
Gone are the days when Range Rover vehicles were the sole domain of tweed-wearing aristocrats: these days, every person with a big enough bank balance and a sense of vanity drives one of these cars, and the younger generation is hopping on the bandwagon with blinding eagerness. What does this all mean? A serious infotainment system is an absolute necessity. The 2020 Range Rover Sport Hybrid offers two screens - two ten-inch Touch Pro display screens. The top screen includes a smartphone services pack, Bluetooth streaming with voice recognition, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The interactive driver display also features integrated navigation, while the bottom screen is reserved for climate controls, the all-terrain info center which shows the current drive mode, and other drivetrain settings, too. On the audio side, you get standard SiriusXM satellite radio, as well as a premium Meridian Surround Sound System with 13 speakers. We found this system to be rather unresponsive, which is bad news, considering the Volvo XC90 Hybrid comes with one that is simply brilliant.
There have been no recalls issued for the 2020 Range Rover Sport Hybrid, so a sigh of relief is in order. Still, with two recalls for 2019, J.D. Power issued a rather dismal 70 out of 100 overall consumer rating for the Range Rover Sport lineup.
On the plus side, Land Rover will cover the Sport Hybrid with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, including drivetrain and roadside assistance cover. Hybrid components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles.
The big Brit has not been tested by either the NHTSA or IIHS. Standard safety gear includes a full complement of airbags comprised of front, thorax, and side curtain airbags, emergency forward braking, rear traffic monitor, blind spot monitor, cruise control and speed limiter, a rearview camera, LED headlights, with auto high beam assist on Autobiography cars, and a driver condition monitor. A 360-degree parking aid is also standard, as is traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter, and a clear exit monitor. Pro Park assist can be added on, as can various other assists by means of the comprehensively specified Driver Assist Pack (at a whopping $4,000).
SUVs have transcended their rudimentary title of sports utility vehicles; they have become sports cars, long-distance GT cruisers, and luxury limousines, and now they are also eco-friendly hybrids that can travel on electricity alone (albeit for very short distances). The Range Rover Sport Hybrid is one of these cars that offers all things; it's fast, comfortable and provides enough tech to keep most people happy. Oh, and it can go offroad too. For 2020 the Range Rover Sport line also gets new standard safety features to make the deal even sweeter. We love the general look of the Sport Hybrid, and we can't complain about its strong torque delivery and refined cruising capability. Its trunk might be smaller than the competition, and its infotainment system isn't as responsive as some, but it's still a beautiful thing to look at and drive, and we believe it to be worth every penny.
It should come as no surprise that the Range Rover Sport Hybrid comes with a serious price tag - it is a style icon after all. The HSE trim car will set you back $79,000, which does not include registration, tax, or a destination fee of $1,295. For the top of the range Autobiography, Land Rover asks that you for out a hefty $88,990. Adding optional extras should see that number climb closer to the $100k mark.
It is impossible to buy a bare-bones Range Rover Sport Hybrid: even if you put in a special request to the factory to strip everything, you'd still get leather seats and LED headlights at a bare minimum. What we're trying to say is that the 2020 Sport Hybrid is a luxurious thing in any form, and your choice will solely depend on how much cash you have, and how much stuff you want. We'd personally go with the HSE, which shares most of its features with the Autobiography, but at a significantly reduced price. You still get the same engine, infotainment system and overall capability, but lose out on stuff like soft closing doors and a tilting panoramic sunroof. That's more than enough luxury to tide us over.
The Aviator in standard form has always been a beautiful thing, and reasonably competitive in the midsize SUV market, but Lincoln has realized that to keep its share of the market, and appeal to younger buyers, it had to go the plug-in hybrid route. This isn't a bad thing, not by a long shot; the Aviator Hybrid blends class, performance, and economy in a stylish and proudly American package. Under the hood of the Lincoln lies a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 augmented with electrical assistance with a total power output of 494 hp and a monumental 630 lb-ft of torque. Naturally, the less powerful Range Rover Sport Hybrid offers better gas mileage, as a result. On the road, the Lincoln gives the Range Rover a good run for its money in terms of comfort, but its extra weight shows, although we enjoyed its quiet cabin. Trunk space behind the first row is limited but seeing as the Aviator offers third-row seating, overall cargo space is more. What makes the Aviator Hybrid more attractive is its asking price starting from only $68,800. We'd still have the Range Rover Sport Hybrid, though - it's a proper luxury SUV in our eyes.
Volvo builds excellent SUVs, and the XC90 is the king daddy of the lot. But how can you improve on a car that many consider being one of the best all-round family cars on the market? By giving it hybrid power, of course. The 2020 XC90 Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter twincharged inline-four hybrid powertrain producing 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all fours via an eight-speed transmission. Not only is the XC90 a looker, but it offers class-leading cargo space and one of the best interiors around. Power delivery borders on really fast, and throttle response is beautifully consistent. Typical of Volvo is the long list of standard safety features. What bugs us is the bland driving experience, and its ride quality on larger wheels. We like its understated class, however, and would pick one over the Range Rover Sport Hybrid, given the chance.
Check out some informative Land Rover Range Rover Sport Hybrid video reviews below.