Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Excellent diesel engines
- Handles well on the road for a large 4x4
- Still manages to retain Land Rover's off-road capabilities
- Fuel economy isn't good
- The automatic gearbox is hesitant to downshift
Everyone thought that Land Rover had outdone themselves when they built the latest generation of Range Rovers, but that was before the Sport version came along. Unlike most other vehicles made by Land Rover, the Range Rover Sport was built to perform on the road with focus shifting slightly away from the off road traditions of Land Rover. As a result the Sport is slightly smaller than the standard Range Rover. This doesn't detract from it in anyway as there is still ample room inside to seat five people easily in the usual Range Rover comfort and it still comes with off road capabilities, its just that it has been built more towards road travel with its lowered body and suspension.
Exterior and Interior
The only real difference between the Range Rover Sport and the normal Range Rover is that it is slightly smaller and comes with lowered suspension. Land Rover did an excellent job of taking an executive vehicle and making it incredibly sporty. The interior is still pure luxury with all the equipment feeling well made and solid, giving you the feeling that they will never break. Five adults can fit in easily and with the armchair like seats they will be more than comfortable even on the longest of journeys. The large windows also give the impression of even more space making it feel more like a limousine than a 4x4. The boot is extremely large too with 958 litres of space and with the option of folding down the split folding seats you can increase this to in excess of 2000 litres of space, which should be more than ample for anything you may wish to transport.
The equipment levels are high with all cars coming with climate and cruise control, an electric parking break, electric windows all round, CD player, alloy wheels, remote central locking, electric and heated doors mirrors and an electric parking brake. There are a wide range of trim levels to choose from which add all the little extra luxuries you are ever likely to want such as front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats, keyless entry, DVD entertainment system, interior mood lighting, swivel xenon headlights that turn into corners, centre console cooler box, adaptive cruise control which keeps you a fixed distance from the car in front and loads of other accessories. The facelift in 2009 increased the quality even further as well as offering even more options.
Performance and Economy
The only engine in the range that hasn't proven popular was the 4.4-litre petrol engine, which although it offered 295bhp, didn't really offer anything that that the smaller 4.2-litre petrol and 3.6-litre diesel engines didn't, which led to it being phased out after only a short period of time. The supercharged 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine is immensely quick racing from 0-60mph in just over 7 seconds, which for a vehicle of this size is impressive to say the least. The economy level is really poor only managing 17mpg, but then if you are buying a Range Rover Sport you're probably not overly fussed about how often you visit the petrol pump.
The smaller of the two diesel engines is the 2.7-litre TDV6. This sounds small and it isn't the quickest, but it performs remarkably well when it gets going and is the most economical in the range coming in at 28mpg. The larger 3.6-litre TDV8 is by far the best pick of the range with plenty of power and great low down pulling power which enables it to go from a standing start to 60mph in just 8.3 seconds, only 3 splits behind the 4.4-litre petrol engine. It doesn't fare too badly when it comes to the fuel pumps as it manages 25mpg, which is a little less than the 2.7-litre diesel, but at least you won't be on first name terms with the petrol attendants. The diesels also fall into cheaper insurance groups starting at group 14.
Like to Drive
The Sport is great to drive with its handling being more like that of a car than a large 4x4. This is thanks to its strong chassis and stiffened suspension which makes the body roll almost none existent and the steering feels very solid especially through corners. It has large amounts of grip thanks to its permanent four wheel drive system as well as it having the Dynamic Response system that helps to increase body control as it uses the suspension to counteract body roll in the corners. The Sports off road performance is exceptional too thanks to its Terrain Response System, which lets you select what terrain you are travelling over and will automatically adjusts the vehicle to suit the conditions. The high positioning of the drivers seat is extremely comfortable and offers good commanding views of the road with only trucks being able to look down on you. The dashboard in the Sport has also been angled slightly towards the driver adding to the sporty feeling it has compared the standard Range Rover and comes in a logical and easy to use layout.
Faults and Repairs
The Range Rover Sport has already been subjected to three recalls due to potentially faulty brake hoses and pads, the 'park' function on the automatic gearbox and finally the rear belt buckles, which could break during an accident. Other than this there have been very few problems and the aforementioned issues should have all been sorted in the recalls, but it's worth just checking before buying a used version to make sure this work has been carried out. As you would expect from Land Rover repair and service costs are high, but if you're in a position to purchase a Range Rover Sport, you'll probably expect these high maintenance costs.