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Before the Test Drive: Range Rover Sport

With a pending test drive of the Range Rover Sport, here are some thoughts on the car before getting behind the wheel.

What is the Range Rover Sport all about?

Range Rover Sport

Back in the early days, Land Rover found out that their rugged 4×4 Land Rovers were vastly outselling luxury cars, then they decided, why not mix them both? That resulted in a whole new segment; cue the luxury off-road vehicles, and the Range Rover.

It was a Land Rover that is more civilised and optimised for a larger crowd. The series has been going strong since 1970 to now, although receiving an overhaul at 1994, with the Range Rover we know today succeeding the now Range Rover Classic.

Range Rover Sport

However, even now, with the introduction of the Range Rover Sport being over 10 years ago, people still think that the Range Rover Sport is a bit of a contradiction in itself. They think that the badge combination of ‘Range Rover’ and ‘Sport’ is a bit ironic.

In the beginning, with the first model, I definitely agreed; the Sport was big, wallowy and to be honest, more like a posh Sloane Street cruiser, with Top Gear going as far as mocking it as the ‘Wayne Rover’, a car for footballers.

Range Rover Sport

After that, Range Rover decided to step up the game. By matching the top model along with some really clever suspension engineering, out-performing the Mini Coopers JCW GP on a track, and following the design language of the Evoque, it looked way sleeker and sportier than it did before.

Even without all that suspension work, it is 400lb lighter than the previous model, providing a much more responsive driving experience overall. Especially when paired with the option of a bonkers 5.0-litre supercharged V8, it’s not hard to imagine why people started to like the car again.

Range Rover Sport

There’s an array of engine options available on the Range Rover depending on your spec. There is a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel with a hybrid option available, a 4.4-litre V8, and the crowned 5.0-litre supercharged V8 for those that want a proper Range Rover. All of those engine options are mated to an 8-speed automatic.

The Sport that we’re testing is the SDV6, which has the first option in it, the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, putting out a decent 306hp and, get this, 700Nm of torque. While achieving that, it reports a combined MPG of 40.4.  Yay for the combination of diesel and turbo.

Expectations

Range Rover Sport

First of all, to make it extremely clear, this car should be able to shrug off rough terrain like it’s nothing, with an array of incredibly useful modern off-road equipment and full-time 4WD. Otherwise, it just can’t bear the Range Rover badge, that is a fact. Anything bearing a Range Rover badge needs to be able to navigate rough terrain.

Even Top Gear has proven that fact as well, showing off the Range Rover’s Wade Sensing technology, basically, a wing mirror mounted sonar that can accurately depict depths of water to make sure that you don’t exceed the maximum possible depth of 850mm.

Range Rover Sport

Other than that, I also expect the Sport to be able to gain speed relatively rapidly. With Land Rover themselves stating that our Sport can go from 0-60 mph in just 6.8 seconds, which is actually rapid for a car that weighs a little over 2 tonnes, and with that torque, the Sport should be able to pull its own weight well.

However, the real party piece for the Range Rover Sport is the interior, it’s a fully-fledged off-road vehicle with interior quality rivalling Mercedes S-Classes and BMW 7-series. I expect the inside of the Range Rover Sport to feel special, since most people are going to use the Sport purely for urban driving, it is a requirement as well.

Range Rover Sport

Don’t let the ‘Sport’ badge mislead you as well, as the Sport is actually incredibly practical. It can seat 7 people, tow 3,500kg gross, and clear up to 278 mm tall obstacles. Also, it has torque vectoring and 4WD so you can use it in the extreme weather. This is one hell of a car.

Overall, I think the Range Rover Sport provides a very potent package. In fact, I expect myself to actually want to drive the Range Rover Sport again even after the initial review. It has everything you’ll ever need, plus it looks stylish and brutish, just as a Range Rover should.

Range Rover Sport

We will test the Range Rover Sport and write a full review after spending some time with the car. Keep an eye on our features for the review.

Supplied by: Land Rover

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