The Range Rover Sport might not actually be very sporty, but it is comfortable, fast in a straight line and quiet at cruise. Petrol models cost a fortune to run, though
The Range Rover Sport’s engine range covers all the bases from an economical four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel right up to an outrageously powerful 550hp 5.0-litre petrol that requires you to be an oil baron (or at least as rich as one) to run it.
You’ll probably find the mid-range 306hp 3.0-litre diesel makes the most sense. Its six cylinders mean it is very smooth and quiet – much more so than the 2.0-litre diesel – so it’s an ideal match for the Sport’s comfortable driving manner. It gets from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds and has plenty of power in reserve for overtaking slow-moving traffic.
Official fuel economy of 44.1mpg doesn’t sound too spectacular, but in a car as big and as heavy as the Range Rover Sport it’s not too bad. In normal driving conditions, however, you can expect it to return less than 30mpg.
The Range Rover Sport drives like a full-sized Range Rover with firmer suspension… and that’s basically what it is
If you want more performance, then it’s best to choose the 4.4-litre SDV8 diesel over the slower 3.0-litre diesel-electric SDV6 plug-in hybrid. The V6 and V8 supercharged petrols are quick but guzzle fuel at an alarming rate.
The Range Rover Sport hybrid may be worth considering if you regularly travel into central London, but it’ll only manage a modest 31 miles on electric-only power before you’ll need to recharge its batteries.
There’s no denying the Range Rover Sport is a huge SUV, but it’s surprisingly easy to drive. Much of this is down to the brilliant view you get out of the car.
Unlike some SUVs, the Range Rover is genuinely tall, so you can see over cars in front and plan your route through busy streets. Even the view rearward is pretty decent thanks to the big windows and thin pillars.
Front and rear parking sensors come as standard across the range, but even if you’re a confident parker it is worth considering the optional Park Pack. It adds a 360-degree view camera that makes it easy to park the car tight against the kerb without damaging your wheels. It’s standard on Autobiography models and a reasonably affordable option on the rest of the range.
Thankfully, the eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard and its creep function makes low-speed manoeuvring a doddle. It’s not as responsive as the automatic gearboxes you get in an Audi Q8 or BMW X6, but it suits the Range Rover Sport‘s relaxed driving nature well.
If you regularly do lots of long journeys, the Range Rover Sport is a brilliant car to do them in. All except the entry-level SD4 diesel models come with air suspension that soaks up large bumps in the road extremely well. It sometimes struggles to iron out smaller imperfections, but at least you get laminated windows to help make the Sport’s cabin extremely quiet – even at high speeds.
The suspension is slightly firmer than you get in a full-sized Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport suffers from less body lean in corners as a result. That being said, if you want a big SUV that is genuinely fun to drive you’ll be much better off going for a Porsche Cayenne.
If you want an SUV that can go off-road though, forget the Porsche and stick with the Range Rover. It comes as standard with Terrain Response or, if you pick a V6 or V8 model, Terrain Response 2.
The former allows you to select from different modes that alter the car’s four-wheel drive system, gearbox and (on models with air suspension) ride height to tackle different terrains – such as sand, rocks and snow. Terrain Response 2, meanwhile, does exactly the same – but automatically switches between modes.
The clever electronics aren’t reserved for off-roading, however. The Range Rover Sport’s also available with a full suite of safety kit as part of the Drive Pro Pack that’s a £2,145 option on all but the Autobiography model. The pack includes active cruise control – that can match the speed of the car in front before returning to a preset cruising speed when the road is clear – and a blind-spot warning system.
It is worth going for because, although the full-sized Range Rover (which the Sport shares many of its parts) scored five stars for safety from Euro NCAP, the test has got much tougher since its 2012 evaluation.