As was the case with its ancestors, the latest Range Rover Sport shares many styling cues with the Range Rover. Admittedly, the rather confusing nomenclature does not help the uninitiated, but differences remain in the format of the two SUVs. Based on the same length wheelbase as the standard Range Rover, the Sport model is ten centimeters shorter and five centimeters lower. This gives it a more collected look, supporting its sportier positioning. The work itself remains eloquent, with its horizontal lines that encircle its body. The arched roof that drops to the rear adds a sense of continuity. The rear section has a decidedly anonymous presentation placing the discreet lights in a glossy black band.
Very clever whoever can distinguish the interior of this Range Rover Sport from the standard Range Rover. Apart from the subtleties in the layout of the center console and the design of the steering wheel, the decor cultivates the same panache. The taut lines ensure harmony and a modern finesse, seeking to camouflage the ventilation nozzles well. Admittedly, the options of the materials offered are fewer, but the exercise is of great meticulousness without giving way to flashy luxury. Space itself remains plentiful, but less generous than in the standard wheelbase Range Rover. Nevertheless, the rear seats are welcoming and accessible when the big SUV is lowered by means of its air suspension. The trunk has a rather high floor due to the compartment for the spare wheel.
Three mechanics share the specifications of this Range Rover Sport: two turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder, mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid, as well as a biturbo V8. The hybrid variant tested, which has an electric compressor in addition to the turbo, has 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, figures capable of producing an estimated 0-100 km/h in 5.8 s through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The performance is more than enough for the task, harmonizing very well with the SUV’s temperament. He is thus of great smoothness, placing himself in the background as much on the sound level as his hushed manners. When he is solicited, he retorts with constancy and progressiveness. With regard to its thirst, the 10 L/100 km obtained testify to contained consumption.
The slightly more dynamic approach of the Range Rover Sport is a priori not entirely noticeable during the first kilometers. This SUV uses an air suspension that is a benchmark in its segment when it comes to handling bumps. However, you can detect a little more firmness than the Range Rover when negotiating with cross joints. The soundproofing isolates us from almost everything and the plush padding of the seats makes it a perfect cast for racking up the miles. When roughed up a bit, this Range Rover Sport responds calmly, clinging on rather well thanks to its dynamic damping. The distant feel of the steering nevertheless reflects a positioning that is not entirely focused on dynamism, despite its name.
Land Rover rigorously enforces the standardization of its infotainment system across its range here. It takes its place on the dashboard with a 13.1-inch horizontal touch screen. The definition is good without however managing to threaten the best, including Cadillac with its large OLED screen. Navigation is just as good, but there is a slightly more marked slowness than with competing systems. Land Rover nevertheless recovers in terms of the learning curve, enhanced by a logical construction of the interface. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are built-in. The whole is well completed by a very pretty instrumentation screen as well as the projection on the windshield. We also appreciate the presence of knobs to control the heating and air conditioning adjustments.
The result of a weighted and very persuasive redesign that sets the stage for the release of an electric version next year, this Range Rover Sport reaffirms a posture that always stands out from the competition. Its sheer refinement even makes us wonder about the need to climb up to the Range Rover, which is several thousand dollars more expensive. Admittedly, despite its name, which seeks to translate dynamic aspirations, the approach of the Sport model is much more nuanced with a sensitivity to comfort and a more relaxed ride than some. In this sense, it seems better designed for real everyday use without the futile promises of a sharp and often too firm ride made by many rival SUVs. Of course, you have to accept the bill exceeding $100,000 to taste it.
Land Rover will launch an electric version of its Range Rover and Range Rover Sport next year.
The Range Rover Sport is also offered with a plug-in hybrid package that is estimated to be able to travel 77 km and which increases the power by 40 horsepower (434 hp).
Although it is absent from its website, Jaguar Land Rover Canada is selling a version here equipped with a 523 hp 4.4L twin-turbo V8 from BMW. It’s the only livery to offer steerable rear wheels, which proved to be very effective in reducing the turning radius during our Range Rover test.
On several measurement points, this Range Rover Sport is less able to negotiate obstacles than its big brother, but still has a maximum ground clearance of 28 cm thanks to its air suspension. It’s better than many versions of the Jeep Wrangler.
In addition to comfort, the air suspension makes it possible to vary the height of the SUV on command and thus enhance accessibility to its cabin. A button placed in the trunk controls the height of the rear axle to help the loading of objects.
Model tested: Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400 Dynamic SE
Engine: 3.0L L6 DOHC Turbocharged & Electric Supercharged
Power: 395 hp from 5500 to 6500 rpm
Torque: 406 lb-ft from 2000 to 5000 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual mode
Drive Architecture: Front Longitudinal Engine, All-Wheel Drive
Consumption (EnerGuide): 11.3 L/100 km
Price (with options, freight and delivery): $130,422 (starting price $106,337)
Competitors: Audi Q8, BMW X5, Maserati Levante, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Porsche Cayenne
New in 2023? : new generation