“The new Range Rover Sport is comfortable, luxurious, and great to drive, but running costs are high.”
The new Range Rover Sport is between the Evoque and the standard Range Rover in the range, costing about £20,000 less than the bigger and more lavish Range Rover. As the Sport name implies, the car is designed to have good handling as well as a smooth ride, and it balances these aspects very well - it's not as good to drive as its rival the Porsche Cayenne but it's certainly more comfortable. It comes with a choice of powerful diesel engines and a 5.0-litre petrol V8 - all are expensive to run, but Land Rover is promising more efficient options in early 2014.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
Being a big, four-wheel drive car the Range Rover Sport is not particularly efficient, no matter which engine you choose. The SDV6 diesel model can get 37.7mpg and 199g/km in emissions, which is 15 per cent better than the old car but slightly worse than the Porsche Cayenne's 38.2mpg. A diesel-electric hybrid is coming in early 2014, with emissions of 169g/km, along with a slightly more efficient, less powerful TDV6 model.
Interior & comfort
The suspension on the Range Rover Sport is noticeably firmer than the standard Range Rover, but it's more comfortable than rivals such as the Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5. The interior is superb, with comfortable seats and lots of thick carpets and luxurious leather. It's very quiet inside, with barely any wind or road noise on the motorway, and there is enough room in the back for most adults to sit comfortably. There are half as many buttons as the old Range Rover Sport, which helps to make the interior feel as upmarket and stylish as the more expensive Range Rover.
Practicality & boot space
Although the car is not as spacious as the Range Rover, tall adults can fit in the back seats - but may scrape their knees on the seats in front if there's a tall driver. There is a seven seater option but the manufacturer describes it as 5+2 because the rearmost seats, which lift electrically from the boot floor, are very small and only really suitable for children on short journeys. If you go for this £1500 option you don’t get a spare wheel, however. The boot is large, at 784 litres, and it's possible to extend this to 1761 litres thanks to folding rear seats, but the old Range Rover Sport had a much bigger boot.
Reliability & safety
The Range Rover Sport hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP yet but should get five stars, just like the standard Range Rover, which scored an impressive 91 per cent for adult occupant protection. Land Rover finished 25th out of 30 in the 2013 Driver Power survey, so owners haven't been happy with them over the past year. Particularly, the electrics have been known to go wrong on Land Rovers in the past, but the brand assures that it has improved reliability in their new range. The new Range Rover and the Range Rover Evoque have both proved reliable so far, and the Sport should be equally dependable.
Engines, drive & performance
Compared with the old Range Rover Sport, this new model is much lighter because of a new aluminium body and chassis. As a result it feels a lot more responsive and quicker in a straight line. The SDV6 model is the best, with 288bhp and a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds – two seconds than the previous equivalent model. The SDV8 is smoother, quieter and quicker but costs much more, and the supercharged petrol V8 is very fast but also very expensive to run. There's an anti-roll system, which keeps the car level through the corners and is impressive in a big SUV as they usually lean into bends. The Range Rover Sport is still a heavy car, though, and with fast cornering can lose grip sooner than you think. Off-road the Sport is just as capable as the Range Rover thanks to its high grouund clearance and special computer settings that adapt the car to its environment.
Price, value for money & options
The Range Rover Sport is priced competitively with its rivals such as the Porsche Cayenne, but more importantly it's about £20,000 less than the standard Range Rover. The Sport does much the same job as the standard model, and is nearly as comfy inside, so it represents great value. Entry-level HSE models come with automatic lights and wipers, a computer controlled off-road system, air suspension, cruise control, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, and an 8-inch touchscreen. The interior quality is excellent, with leather seats standard on all models, and the Sport should hold on to its value fairly well.