Monday, September 11, 2017

Despite the reliability woes we love the Range Rover Sport


2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport (L494 MY16.5) HSE SDV6 wagon (2017-01-22) 01.jpg
The previous Range Rover Sport wasn’t based on the Range Rover Platform and wasn’t sporty in any sense of the word. The new one is all of the above and more.

The two 3-liter supercharged six-cylinders pump out 340hp and 380hp, there’s an optional 3-liter turbo-diesel six-cylinder pumping out 254hp while the top of the range 5-liter supercharged eight-cylinder comes in both 510hp and 550hp. We’ve driven the 3-liter supercharged six-cylinder engines in other Land Rover products, and we adore the turbo-diesel engine. However, with the Range Rover Sport we were only able to get our hands on the 5-liter supercharged eight-cylinder pumping out 510hp. The words sluggish will never exist in your vocabulary when you’re driving this version of the Range Rover Sport. It quite literally leaves a smile on your face and there is never a dull moment when behind the wheel. What we enjoyed the most about the Range Rover Sport is how easy it is to drive around town. The steering feedback is where it should be and it doesn’t wallow about or shimmy over rough surfaces. It’s great that despite being such a heavy crossover, it doesn’t feel as daunting to drive as the Cadillac Escalade we’ve driven. It really doesn’t make much sense that engine stop/start technology is fitted to this vehicle; it doesn’t really make much of a difference in running costs. But the most important aspect of it is that it’s not as annoying as the ones you’ll find in BMW and Mercedes.

The Range Rover Sport becomes a totally different beast when you take it out on the highway. The eight-cylinder engine emits a lovely snarl that’s met with acceleration that’s blisteringly quick and doesn’t feel overpowered or out of its depth. What we enjoy the most about driving the Range Rover Sport is how comfortable and secure it felt, and if you do dare to tackle corners and bends you can do so because the suspension can handle it. We personally didn’t get the chance to do that but we did get to drive on some light off-road trails and the grip is where it should be. It has so much high tech features that you won’t get stuck, and even if you did get a little too adventurous, this Range Rover lives up to the reputation that Land Rover has set for their vehicles. It’s good off-road as it is on road.

The driving position is spot-on good. The seats give you a commanding view out and are all-day comfy. The second row is comfortable as well while the optional third row seat is best left for small children. We wouldn’t even bother opting for it unless you really need it. The Disco and Disco Sport are much better options if you are planning on carrying more than five people.  The boot space is quite generous when you have the second row in place, fold that seat down and you’ve got a nice cavernous crossover that can also handle whatever you throw at it. The infotainment system in this Range Rover we had was much better acting that many of the Land Rovers we’ve tested. It wasn’t as slow but it did take forever to power on after a system reboot and of course the electrical issues did jump right in to ruin our fun. The memory setting for the power steering failed, which resulted in the steering wheel being in the lowest setting possible. It make the drive to the nearest dealership quite awkward, then the easy-exit feature for the driver’s seat failed which left the seat so far back that neither one of us could reach the pedals. The auto high beam headlights kept getting confused with lightly shaded areas and insisted on staying activated. The parking sensors did fail when we were trying to squeeze out of a narrow parking space and overnight the optional alarm system kept ringing off every five minutes when it rained.

Our Range Rover Sport came fitted with 22-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof and red Brembo brake calipers. Adaptive bi-xenon headlamps were fitted as standard as well as premium leather seats and a premium audio system. It’s great that many of the safety features that helped making driving the Range Rover Sport easy were fitted on our tester car, but it still is only optional and does make it quite an expensive proposition, especially if certain features you’ve got to have. We just warn you that you will have to pay the premium for them.

The Range Rover Sport can tarnish off-road trails and on-road pavement with finesse. It quite literally is a jack of all trade. You have an opulent and refined interior with performance that can shame some BMWs and Porsches. It really does live up to the ‘sport’ in its name and is well worth the short-list if the X5 and Cayenne are crossovers that you are considering. However, the electrical issues we experienced with the Range Rover Sport during our 4th of July road trip makes us think twice about spending the money on a product that could potentially spend way more time in the shop than on the road, but damn does it look smashing!

Likes: Strong range of engines with elegance on-road and off-road. The commanding view out and comfortable seats make it light years better than many of its competition.

Dislikes: The electronics decided to take a holiday.

Our pick: We’d stick with one of the 3-liter supercharged engines or the turbo-diesel.

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