Saturday, December 29, 2012

Devon test drives a sporty Land Rover


File:Range Rover Sport SDV6 SE (Facelift) – Frontansicht, 5. September 2012, Wuppertal.jpg
Photo provided by M93

The Range Rover Sport isn’t your typical Land Rover. Of course there is the legendary off-road capability and the unmistaken Land Rover looks. What makes the Range Rover Sport so different is the fact that it adds a splash of sport to your typical Range Rover, but is this a good thing?

Performance: There are two engines to choose from, a 5-liter V8 producing 375hp and a supercharged version of the 5-liter V8 producing 510hp. Picking between the two depends on the depths of your wallet. The non-supercharged V8 does a well enough job of propelling the Range Rover Sport around with no difficulty, while the supercharged form offers effortless acceleration.

Ride & Handling: The Range Rover Sport isn’t a sports machine and the hefty curb weight will suggest that. However, driving the Range Rover Sport on twisty narrow roads, you’ll instantly forget that this is a large heavy sport utility vehicle. Handling is good while ride comfort is also very posh and comfortable.

Refinement: There’s virtually no wind and road noise to complain of with the Range Rover Sport. The eight-cylinder engines emit a lovely snarl that sounds contagious when pushed hard on an open highway. The supercharged version sounds almost like a jet plane which is a welcome add to the overall driving experience.

Practicality & Space: If you want a sport utility vehicle that makes you feel like king of the road. The Range Rover Sport will do just that and will do it very well. The driver’s seat feels more like a throne, with oodles of support and adjustments to allow drivers of all sizes to get comfortable with ease. The instrumental panel is fuss free and is very easy to navigate. Rear passengers will enjoy plenty of legroom and headroom. The boot is also very spacious and roomy.

Equipment: The Range Rover Sport comes well equipped no matter what trim you choose. However, the higher the trim levels you climb the more expensive your Range Rover Sport gets. The HSE trim comes with Xenon headlamps, navigation system, 20-inch alloy wheels and full leather interior. Supercharged version offers high performance brakes, sporty exterior trim and of course the silky smooth supercharged engine.

Buying & Running cost: Buying a Range Rover Sport isn’t a cheap proposition. The base trim starts at $60,000 which will be good enough for most buyers; the mid-range adds $5,000 more with a luxury package. Top of the range adds the supercharged engine and few extras for a higher price tag of $76,000. You’ll need deep pockets for running costs, as the eight-cylinders both are gas guzzlers. The supercharged version guzzles gas as fast as it accelerates.

Reliability: The Range Rover Sport interior has many soft touch materials that feel high quality. They look and feel long lasting. However, the biggest question that still remains is reliability. Land Rover’s reliability record is very spotty, long term reliability of the mechanicals and electronics is still rather iffy.

The Range Rover Sport really is a great sport utility vehicle to own. The interior is very well crafted, the seats are very comfortable and the overall driving experience is very rewarding. The supercharged version offers effortless acceleration, all while offering light weight moves in a heavy weight package. However, the downside is you’ll pay a pretty penny to buy one and you’ll need deep pockets for running costs. There is still some concern for reliability and of course the ‘high baller’ image that the Range Rover Sport carries.

Devon's Pick: HSE trim offers a strong eight-cylinder engine and enough equipment to satisfy most buyers. Plus it's the cheapest of the Range Rover Sport range. 


Likes: Strong engines, luxurious interior with comfortable front seats. Handles well for weight and size; king of the road feeling when driving.

Dislikes: High running costs, iffy reliability record, not the vehicle for those who want to be discrete with their wealth.

Devon M

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