The Land Rover Range Rover Sport can’t help but turn heads. It offers road-going manners and can carve corners like a sport sedan, but the vehicle traces its roots back to more humble beginnings.
The Range Rover has been around since the 1970s. Though it was offered as a more urbane alternative to the rugged Series III Land Rover, it was not originally considered a luxury car. It eventually became more luxurious to match the style of its well-heeled clientele.In 2004, Land Rover further refined the Range Rover franchise by splitting off the Range Rover Sport. It has a more streamlined look, and it’s more road-oriented compared with the original while maintaining the footprint and off-road equipment that lives up to the Range Rover name. That name, of course, is emblazoned across the front of the hood.
The Sport has nearly the same length, width, and wheelbase as the standard Range Rover. The Sport is certainly shorter, but still provides ample head and shoulder room for all five occupants. An optional third row increases seating capacity to seven, but these seats are only large enough for kids and small adults.
The cabin features a wonderfully clean layout with simple, easy-to-use controls. The climate and heated-seat controls are found in the center console while most of the vehicle systems are operated via the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system. The 10.2-inch touchscreen is set against the clean, khaki-colored upholstery, and it dominates the interior.
This infotainment system has a home screen with four large icons that control the stereo, phone, navigation, and climate/seat controls. You can also engage the heated/cooled seats simply by tapping on your zone’s temperature dial.
The infotainment system is aided by the massive 12.3-inch fully digital instrument panel. It is customizable and even allows for the whole screen to operate as the navigation system so your eyes can face forward while driving.
Our test model featured a supercharged V6 engine making 340 horsepower, which provided plenty of grunt. It was paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, sending power to full-time four-wheel drive.
You engage drive with the pistol-grip shifter, which can be a bit confusing at times. This is similar to the shifters offered by the Jeep Grand Cherokee and BMW X5, which are being phased out because of their unnecessary complexity. You can easily find yourself in neutral when you want to be in drive or reverse.
You can customize your ride with the terrain response dial. It has presets for snow, sand, gravel, and rock, as well as hill-descent control and low range for serious off-roading.
On the highways and back roads, the Range Rover Sport handles quite well. Braking is strong, and cornering is composed, even for a vehicle that clocks in at more than 4,700 pounds. Fuel economy is listed at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway. Combined driving erred closer to city mileage during our test.
The Range Rover Sport offers quite more than just the gas V6 engine, too. In fact, there are multiple flavors of V8 engine, including the supercharged V8 that makes 510 horsepower and an SVR-level supercharged V8 that puts out 550 horsepower. Range Rover also offers a diesel V6 that has 440 pound-feet of torque and as much as 28 miles per gallon on the highway.
Our test model also came with a rearview camera with 360-degree function and the ability to focus on individual cameras on each side of the vehicle. The Range Rover Sport can also come with forward collision avoidance, a blind-spot detection system, and a lane departure warning system.
Base MSRP for the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport with the supercharged V6 starts at $65,650. Our HSE V6 model came in at $70,650.