Range Rover Sport SUV review
"The Range Rover Sport certainly isn’t cheap, but it offers most of the luxury of its big brother, while also being more enjoyable to drive"
- Good grip in corners
- Luxurious interior
- Comfortable ride
- Expensive to run
- Uncertain reliability
- Less boot space than the old model
The second-generation Range Rover Sport lives up to its name with a responsive feel. In today's broad Land Rover range, the Sport slots in above the Range Rover Evoque and eye-catching Range Rover Velar, but below the full-sized Range Rover. From behind the wheel it manages to have a distinct character, and there's less crossover of customers between the Sport and Range Rover than you may expect.
It’s certainly a big SUV and while it may not be quite as overtly sporting as models such as the Porsche Cayenne Coupe, BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe – the Range Rover majors more on cruising comfort than sporting prowess – it’s still a genuine competitor for these models, with impressive handling for its size. What's more, the Range Rover Sport lives up to its heritage with surprising off-road capability thanks to highly adjustable air suspension and a clever four-wheel-drive system called Terrain Response.
Since its launch, Land Rover has expanded the Sport’s engine range to appeal to a wider range of customers and its diesel line-up has proved very popular in the UK. Despite the Sport's advancing age, Land Rover saw fit to usher in a brace of new 3.0-litre straight-six diesel engines during 2020, badged D300 and D350. These are not only powerful, but mild-hybrid tech also gives fuel economy a helping hand too.
If you prefer the feel of a petrol engine, there's a 296bhp 2.0-litre 'Ingenium' engine that's shared with the Jaguar F-Type sports car. Despite its compact size, the 2.0-litre has no problem moving the Range Rover Sport's bulk. It effectively replaces the former 3.0-litre petrol V6 and is a little more economical than that engine, returning up to 25.5mpg.
Business users, meanwhile, will be fans of the P400e plug-in hybrid, which combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine, battery and electric motor to produce the equivalent of 399bhp. That's enough for 0-62mph in just 6.3 seconds, while promising up to 86.4mpg if you make a lot of short journeys around town that make the most of its electric range. CO2 emissions of 74-85g/km mean a low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rate company car tax.
Those who want to truly underline the Sport in the Range Rover Sport's name are catered for by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division. This is the crack squad responsible for the Jaguar F-Type SVR, and that muscle-bound sports car shares its 567bhp supercharged 5.0-litre engine with the Range Rover Sport SVR. It'll get from 0-62mph in a scant 4.5 seconds but economy comes in at just 19.3mpg as a result. That's only fractionally less economical than the regular 518bhp version of that engine, though.
During the Range Rover Sport's last round of updates, its design was refreshed to bring it closer to the svelte Velar, both outside – with a slimmer front grille and matching headlights – and inside, where a cutting-edge two-tier infotainment system steals the show. Regardless of trim level, the interior feels well appointed with soft and luxurious materials, while the large boot also makes the Sport very practical. A third row of seats can be added, too, but the space offered is only suitable for children.
There are plenty of reasons for passengers to be happy, too, with spacious and comfortable seats front and rear. There’s also lots of standard and optional equipment, with even entry-level HSE cars getting heated front and back seats, 20-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors and cruise control, but the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system feels dated compared to Land Rover's latest Pivi Pro software in newer models like the Land Rover Defender. Progress through HSE Dynamic, Autobiography Dynamic and the high-performance SVR models and the list of equipment is even more impressive.
The Range Rover Sport itself hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but the full-size Range Rover received five stars in 2012, and while they’re quite different, the Land Rover Discovery Sport also achieved the same result when tested in 2014. This makes us confident the Sport would be similarly safe in an accident. Perhaps a bigger concern will be reliability, with Land Rover finishing 25th out of 30 brands in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.
See how the PHEV model scored on our sister site DrivingElectric