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Range Rover Sport Test Drive Review

Range Rover Sport Test Drive Review

By 17-01-2019

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​Range Rover Sport SD4 is luxurious, but doesn't quite live up to its 'Sport' name tag.

What is it?

The Range Rover Sport isn’t exactly a new car. It was unveiled to the world back in 2013, with Daniel Craig – AKA James Bond – putting in an appearance at the launch party in Manhattan. All very exciting stuff. So, why are we testing the Range Rover Sport out in 2017? Well, that’ll be because of its engine.

Jaguar Land Rover offers the Range Rover Sport with its 2.0-litre, four-cylinder SD4 diesel engine. It’s the new entry-level model, and is available solely in HSE trim. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a cheap car, however, as the Range Rover Sport SD4 will still set you back at least £60,015. If you were to specify all of the options that were fitted to our test car, you’d be looking at an eye-watering £83,705.

What’s new?

Aside from that four-cylinder diesel engine, the changes to the 2017 model year Range Rover Sport are fairly minimal. There are some very subtle exterior tweaks, as well as a bit more tech in the cabin – including a larger 10-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment system.

For those wanting a bit more poke from their Range Rover Sport, Jaguar Land Rover now offers the premium SUV with its 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine, which joins the model range below the petrol V8. It develops 335bhp and 450Nm of torque for a 0-60mph time of seven seconds and a top speed of 130mph.

What’s under the bonnet?

The Range Rover Sport SD4 makes use of Jaguar Land Rover’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine. In this model, it produces 237bhp and 500Nm of torque, which means the Rangie can sprint – or lumber, given its size – from a standstill to 60mph in 8.1 seconds before topping out at 128mph.

So, it’s certainly not the quickest Range Rover Sport in the world, but what it lacks in performance it (sort of) makes up for at the pumps. Land Rover claims the SD4 will manage 45.6mpg on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions stand at 172g/km. Although these figures aren’t exactly amazing, next to the Range Rover Sport SVR’s 22.1mpg and 298g/km you can see where the appeal lies.

What’s it like to drive?

You shouldn’t let that ‘Sport’ badging fool you into thinking that the Range Rover Sport SD4 is a sporty car to drive. While the more potent V6 and V8 models do come with a fair amount of poke, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is woefully slow. There’s enough low-down power to help you pull away from a standstill in a brisk fashion, but when you try to accelerate from about 50mph to 70mph, there just isn’t really anything there. While the SD4 might boast a respectable 0-60mph time of 8.3 seconds, it does not feel anything like a quick car.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox also raised a few eyebrows. It’s not the quickest unit in the world, and it has a tendency to spend a good deal of time deciding which gear it wants to engage. The consequences of this hesitation make themselves especially known when pulling away from a junction. You depress the throttle, crawl away incredibly slowly and then find a surge of acceleration as the gearbox finds a gear and throws you down the road. Not ideal.

Don’t think, though, that we didn’t enjoy our time with the Range Rover Sport SD4. In fact, the reality was quite the opposite. Yes, it’s not particularly quick, and the transmission can sometimes be irritating, but the sense of occasion and comfort that come with driving a car like the Sport is hard to top. It might roll a bit through the bends, but out on the open road it’s brilliant.

 

​How does it look?

In our opinion at least, the Range Rover Sport is by far one of the best-looking cars in its class. It manages to walk the fine line between looking like an upmarket SUV and being flat-out ostentatious incredibly well – if you option it correctly, that is.

Our test model was finished in Yulong White Metallic paint with a contrasting Santorini Black roof, and sat on top of 21-inch alloys. While this particular colour certainly looked the part, it did have the unfortunate effect of leaving whoever was driving the Range Rover looking like they’d just driven off the set of Made in Chelsea. If it were our money, a subtle grey or dark green would be the colour to go for.

What’s it like inside?

As you would expect from a car that starts at £60,015, the interior of the Range Rover Sport is immaculate. There’s leather everywhere – on the seats, the dashboard and on the steering wheel. The dashboard and centre console are pleasingly minimal in their layouts, and are tastefully finished in a dark wood.

The glass panoramic sunroof fitted to our test car, a £2,075 option, really lit up the cabin, and made it feel even more spacious – which is certainly no bad thing. As far as room in the back is concerned, a couple of six-foot passengers will be able to fit without any trouble. Head- and legroom is abundant and taller adults will find they still have roughly two inches between their knees and the seats in front. The Range Rover Sport features a sizeable 498-litre boot, which can be increased to 1,761 litres with the rear seats folded down.

What’s the spec like?

Prices for the Range Rover Sport SD4 start at £60,015 – meaning it isn’t exactly a cheap car. There is only one trim level available with this engine, HSE, but standard equipment is fairly impressive. There’s a rear-view camera, Land Rover’s excellent Terrain Response system, leather upholstery, satellite navigation, two-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers – the list goes on.

However, our particular test car was also fitted with an extensive amount of optional extras. In fact, there were so many options specified on our test car that the price had been inflated to a staggering £83,705. That’s more than £20,000 worth of options – equal to a down payment on a house in some parts of the UK. Options included a £5,180 Meridian sound system (which was excellent), a £1,035 head-up display, and two entertainment screens in the back of the car – a £2,590 option.​

Interior of Range Rover Sport

There’s a lot to love about the Range Rover Sport SD4. The looks, the sense of presence, the supreme comfort it offers as a cruiser – it’s an incredibly desirable car. Expensive, yes, but for those who can afford it, it’s unlikely they’ll be disappointed. However, while there is a lot to commend the SD4 on, if it were our money, it’s not the Range Rover Sport we’d buy. That’d be the V6 diesel. Yes, it costs more, but that additional power means it actually deserves the ‘Sport’ badge plastered on the back of the car.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

  • Model as tested: Range Rover Sport SD4 HSE
  • Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel
  • Power (bhp): 237
  • Torque (Nm): 500
  • Max speed (mph): 128
  • 0-60mph: 8.1 seconds
  • MPG: 45.6
  • Emissions (g/km): 172
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