Range Rover Sport Review
Tom Hardy, Idris Elba, Christian Bale. There’s a common thread running through that list of actors - they all combine class with presence.
And that’s a lot like the Range Rover Sport,. With an imposing view of the road, trademark air-suspension, and looks that have made it a genuine style-icon, it’s got movie-star chutzpah. As an aspirational luxury SUV it’s been turning heads since 2005.
And yet it’s also something of a chimera, able to shift-shape to become whatever you want it to be. In base HSE trim, and with prices starting at £65,295, it’s a refined, cultured cushion of state-of-the-art gadgetry.
You can also enjoy it as a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), which not only ensures the Range Rover Sport has moved with the times, it also delivers a 0-60mph time of just 5.9 seconds, as well as a top speed of 137mph. But if brash is what you’re after, then look no further than the ballistic and carbon-fibre laden Range Rover Sport SVR Carbon Edition.
Here the starting price jumps to £114,915 as owners enjoy a 5.0L V8 supercharged petrol engine that’ll see the Sport do the 0-60mph dash in just 4.3 seconds. You also shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that the Range Rover Sport is a Chelsea tractor built for the school run, as it’s a properly capable off-roader with sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems and innovative all-terrain technologies.
Perhaps the biggest indication of the Range Rover Sport’s desirability is the fact that the Range Rover Sport continues to be the most stolen vehicle in the UK, according to the latest data from vehicle recovery firm Tracker.
It’s a coveted car indeed, and one you might want to park in a lockable garage…
Select's rating score* - 3.9 / 5
While Land Rover describes the Range Rover Sport as its ‘most dynamic model ever’, it still occupies a certain niche, sitting a notch above the £45,710 Range Rover Velar but still a rung in the ladder below the fully-fledged Range Rover, which commands a starting price tag of £83,465.
The premium SUV marketplace is a crowded one - but in terms of sheer practicality, the Sport is equipped to take on all comers. For the facelifted model, in came a raft of efficient new in-line six-cylinder ‘Ingenium’ diesel engines with 48V Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) tech.
A new feature-packed special edition - the ‘HSE Dynamic Black’ - was added to the ‘HSE Silver’ and striking ‘SVR Carbon Edition’. There are now fresh exterior colour options and interior choices to make you stand out from the pack.
And perhaps the most important development is the Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV, which offers ‘sustainable luxury’, according to Land Rover, and a range of 25 miles in fully-electric mode. Fuel economy is boosted to 88.3 mpg in normal use, and Land Rover’s ‘Mode 3’ charging cable for faster battery refuelling. Meanwhile technology and connectivity was also improved on the outgoing model, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now standard across the range, as well as 4G Wi-Fi connections for up to eight devices.
The cabin also now enjoys Range Rover Sport’s ‘Cabin Air Ionisation’ system, which purifies the air at the touch of a screen, filtering out fine dust particles and allergens and well as neutralising any odours - a welcome relief for anyone who’s shared a car with a dog on a long journey.
Stylistically, a series of aesthetic touches signpost the fact this is a sporting model adept on the road, compared with others in the Range Rover stable. But it also remains a wholly impressive all-rounder.
There are a host of Range Rover Sports to suit many tastes, and the line-up has a huge variation in price tags, too.
The base model is the ‘HSE’, which starts at £65,295 and can be enjoyed in combination with five different petrol and two diesel engines. The HSE comes as standard with Matrix LED headlights, 20 inch alloys, ambient interior lighting, heated leather seats front and back, rear camera and front and rear parking aids, as well as a new ‘Touch Pro Duo’ dual 10 inch screen infotainment system.
Moving up the range, the ‘HSE Dynamic’ begins at £73,490 and improves on the HSE with the inclusion of 21 inch alloys, illuminated metal treadplates and bright metal pedals.
The Range Rover Sport ‘HST’ will cost you at least £81,820, and features carbon fibre trims on the exterior, a fixed panoramic roof, privacy glass, and a heated steering wheel. The HST also includes both the ‘Drive’ and the ‘Park’ pack optional extras. With the Drive you get blind spot monitor, driver condition monitor, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter, and with Park owners enjoy a 360 degree parking aid with exit monitor and rear traffic monitor.
Then you get the Range Rover Sport ‘Autobiography Dynamic’, which commands a £85,990 price tag and which features additions such as a sliding panoramic roof, 22 inch wheels, configurable ambient lighting, and 22-way heated and cooled memory front seats with winged headrests.
The Autobiography Dynamic can also be fitted with a 525 hp 5.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine, which can accelerate from 0-60mph five seconds flat.
At the summit of the range sits the Range Rover Sport SVR, which commands a premium £101,850. Here you get the colossal 575 hp 5.0 litre supercharged petrol V8, which will see you sprinting from 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds. The SVR also benefits from a black contrast roof, an Active exhaust system with quad tailpipes, a more sporting suspension and steering set-up, a heated SVR leather steering wheel, as well as heated SVR performance seats.
And on top of this there are also three distinct special editions, too. The ‘HSE Silver’ costs £71,535 and boasts a panoramic glass roof, 21 inch alloys and improvements to the interior while the £79,090 ‘HSE Dynamic Black’ has, as you might be able to guess, a black coloured exterior pack, 22 inch alloys and an eye-catching ebony interior.
Meanwhile the SVR Carbon Edition is placed at the very top of the Range Rover Sport collection. It costs from £114,915 and boasts an exposed carbon fibre bonnet, carbon fibre engine cover, carbon fibre trim in the cabin, as well as SVR performance heated seats.
The SVR Carbon Edition is also equipped with a supercharged V8, that’s been a feature of the Range Rover Sport since 2009.
Depending on which model you choose, you’ve essentially got a choice between two diesel engines and five petrol mills. The two diesel mills are both 3.0 litre units and both boast mild-hybrid technology, coming with a power output of either 300 PS or 350 PS.
The base level petrol engine is a straightforward 300 PS, 2.0 litre four-cylinder with 400Nm of torque at 1,500rpm to 4,000rpm. And that can only be had with the standard spec HSE.
But by adding a 105kW electric motor to that mill, Range Rover has created the P400e plug-in hybrid - which has power of 404 PS and gives decent performance. The PHEV powertrain accelerates the Range Rover Sport from 0-60mph in 5.9-seconds while returning up to 88.3mpg in WLTP tests.
Meanwhile you can also opt for the ‘P400’ - a 400 PS, 3.0 litre petrol engine with mild-hybrid technology to maintain good fuel economy. The show-stopping powertrains are, of course, the 5.0 V8 supercharged units.
The 525 PS version has 625Nm of torque at 2,500rpm to 5,500rpm and hits 60 mph in five seconds. The 575 PS incarnation can generate 700Nm of torque at 3,500rpm to 5,000rpm and hits the 60mph mark in just 4.3 seconds. That’s quicker than both the rapid Jaguar I-Pace and the Porsche Cayenne GTS.
All engines are bolted to a super-smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox for minimal fuss and maximum thrust.
The all-wheel-drive system and air suspension are both able to adapt and respond to road conditions. The ‘Adaptive Dynamics’ system monitors vehicle movements up to 500 times a second, responding to the driver’s inputs and the road conditions, as it makes subtle adjustments to maintain a comfortable cruise.
Meanwhile it’s all customisable, too, thanks to the ‘Configurable Dynamics’ programme, which allows you to select the vehicle’s throttle mapping, gearbox shift points, steering settings and suspension to suit your driving needs.
The introduction of both 48V mild-hybrid and 105 kW plug-in hybrid tech means the Range Rover Sport is becoming less and less of a ‘guilty pleasure’, with fuel economy figures on the rise.
All engines are also equipped with Stop/Start technology and smart regeneration systems to capture wasted kinetic energy when the vehicle is decelerating and reduce fuel consumption, especially during urban driving. But that’s not to say you have to opt for frugality, as stats for the supercharged V8 will show…
At one end of the scale you’ve got the super-economical P400e plug-in hybrid, which can hit a claimed mile to the gallon figure of 85 while generating 75g/km of CO2 emissions. The PHEV can fully charge from a domestic electricity supply in as little as 7.5 hours.
Sitting somewhere in the middle of the range is the D300 3.0 litre diesel mill, which will return up to 34 mpg while generating 220g/km of CO2 emissions.
The bog-standard 2.0 litre petrol engine is thirsty, with fuel economy of just 25 miles to the gallon and CO2 emission of 250g/km. That’s perhaps not surprising when you consider the Range Rover Sport weighs a mighty 3,100 kg.
But you couldn’t accuse the 5.0 V8 of being efficient. In 575 hp guise fuel economy shrinks to 19.3 mpg while generating 331g/km of CO2. While the 525 hp V8 is only slightly more stingy, returning 20.4 mpg and 312 g/km of CO2
Land Rover describes the interior of the Range Rover Sport as ‘supremely comfortable’ and ‘exceptionally functional’ - and you can’t really argue with that.
The cockpit itself has been extensively reimagined for 2020, with an uncluttered yet luxurious feel. A ‘SportShift Selector’ gear lever gives you the option of using it like a manual, while there are touch-sensitive, hidden-until-lit steering wheel buttons that are flush to the wheel itself. And there are other serious upgrades in tech.
The Sport also now features ‘Touch Pro Duo’ infotainment system, which incorporates two 10 inch touch screens as standard. It means you can, for example, still you can use the navigation system in the upper screen whilst adjusting multimedia settings on the lower.
Meanwhile Land Rover’s ‘InControl’ system connects the Sport to the outside world via selection of apps. You can use your smartphone to remotely check current range levels, the status of door and window position and locks, and also to see the last parked location of the vehicle - as well as how to find it on with on-foot directions.
There’s also a whole host of options when it comes to the interior finishes, from wood and aluminium trim to duo-tone leather and massage seats with 22-way movements. And you can even specify to have a fridge built in the centre console, should you wish, to keep your drinks cool.
The Range Rover Sport has a class-leading 780 litres of available loadspace - or up to 1,686 litres when the rear seats are stored flat. That’s enormous compared to the Audi Q8, which has a 605 litre boot capacity.
All models come with a 60:40 split second row seat as standard, with an optional load-through feature to accommodate your skis or big golf bags. And you can specify a Sport with 7 seats, too, with the third row magically springing-up from the rear luggage space.
Land Rover says it recognises the importance of factoring in business users. And with that in mind, there’s one optional mains voltage outlet and five USB ports located throughout the cabin, making sure that multiple electronic devices can be charged on the go.
The latest updated Sport also features an increase in stowage space, with a recess specifically designed for smartphones on the upper glovebox as well as deeper compartments.
When it comes to legroom, owners get 1,004mm in the front, 940mm in the rear, which is again generous, and roomier than the BMW X6.
The Range Rover Sport is yet to be crash-tested by Euro NCAP. But the larger Range Rover, and the Range Rover Velar, have both been awarded a five-star rating and you’d expect the Sport to score well, too. One thing’s for sure, it’s not lacking when it comes to driver assistance and safety measures.
As standard you get Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Low traction launch, Roll Stability Control (RSC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Gradient Acceleration Control (GAC), Gradient Release Control (GRC), Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking and Hill Launch Assist.
On top of that, and as standard, the Sport is also equipped with Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Cruise Control and Speed Limiter, Rear View Camera, Front and Rear Parking Aid.
To keep the family safe, there’s two ISOFIX points for baby seats on each side of the rear seats and additional protection is offered by seat belt pretensioners.
The options available for the Sport are seemingly endless, as are the huge list of accessories available.
There are a choice of 25 different paint schemes for the HSE model alone - which extends all the way up to ‘Icy White’, and which will cost you an extra £6,240. Pixel laser LED headlights will set you back an extra £1,700. While for the exterior you’ve got the optional ‘Black’ or ‘Carbon Fibre’ packs to add a touch of bling.
For the interior you’ve got a choice between more than 15 different trims, with colours extending across a range of greys, blacks, tans and reds.
And then you’ve got an absolutely bumper list of accessories, from deployable side steps, a ramp for your dog, and even innovative seating that attaches to your tailgate so you can enjoy a Pimms picnic with your hobnobbing friends.
When it comes to that winning mix of both on and off-road performance, there are few cars that can hold a candle to the Range Rover Sport.
But there are some key rivals. The BMW X5, priced from £59,135, is roomy and luxurious, and also comes with sophisticated plug-in hybrid technology. There’s also a sporty version to rival the Range Rover Sport SVR - with the BMW X5 M50i, priced from £76,760, delivering 530hp and a 0-62mph time of just 4.3 seconds.
The Porsche Cayenne, like the Range Rover Sport, is also available in a clutch of different guises, from the £57,000 base model to the blisteringly-fast 680 PS Cayenne Turbo SE Hybrid, which will set you back a cool £125,946.
In terms of pure like-for-like comparisons, the Audi Q8 gives the Range Rover Sport a run for its money. For a start, they’re similarly priced, with the Q8 beginning at £67,495 and running all the way up to £104,750 for the RS Q8.
Importantly, however, there’s no plug-in hybrid option with the Q8 and even in standard form the best fuel economy figure you’ll get is 33.2 mpg.
Finally, there’s the impressive Mercedes-Benz GLS, priced from £75,610.
Like the Sport, the GLS has air suspension, an interior that’s minimalist and yet brimming with tech, and a sporting model in the form of the £128,285 AMG GLS63 4MATIC. Yet it doesn’t have the off-road pedigree of the Range Rover.
What strikes you most about the Range Rover Sport is that Land Rover is refusing to rest on its laurels with it, as they keep striving to ensure it stays modern and up to date.
As Prof Gerry McGovern OBE, Land Rover Chief Creative Officer, recently pointed out: “The Range Rover Sport is a unique statement of performance with an assertive and powerful design. Its refined appearance speaks to the modernity of the Range Rover family, while a series of unique aesthetic touches mark out its sporting nature.”
What you’re buying into is sophistication and luxury underpinned by a sort of rugged determination that’s driven by decades of agricultural graft.
The new efficient engines mean the Range Rover Sport moves away from being seen as something excessive and showy, and ventures into sustainable new waters.
Serious improvements in tech also bring it up to speed with its German rivals.
And with a list of options and extra packages as long as your arm, it’s configurable to almost all tastes.
Lease price: from £293.29**
*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top six leading independent car website reviews of the Focus.
**Correct as of 17/09/2020. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £2,639.63 . Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.