Tested: 2016 Range Rover Sport
I drove this muscle-bound Range Rover Sport from one side of Michigan to the next while it was in my charge. And though I almost completely avoided both mud and ruts in that time (there were a few puddles) I still came away with almost completely positive impressions of the legendary off-roader’s latest incarnation.
- Somewhere in recent years Range Rover interiors have gone from great to outstanding, with first-class finishes, leather quality, and overall design. Even though I’d like another inch of width in the driver’s seats – and remember that I’m a well over six feet tall and two-hundred and forty pounds – the chairs are massively comfortable over the long haul. I put well over 600 miles on the Sport in a week, and could’ve done another 600 without feeling much stiffness or soreness. I know I mentioned this the last time I reviewed a Range Rover, but the 1,700-watt Meridian sound system (a $3,250 option) is heavenly for long drives, as well.
- For 2016, Range Rover will sell you a Sport model with two quite sensible and enjoyable 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engines: one gasoline fed, one diesel. Nice though both of those engines are, given my preference I’d take this supercharged 5.0-liter, V8 grinder every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. The 510-horsepower, 461-pound-feet output ratings make this giant sled wickedly quick, both from a standing start (0-60 in just 5.0 seconds) and while passing lesser vehicles on the freeway. The available power, associated exhaust note, and smoothness of the eight-speed automatic transmission all speak to both driving joy, and luxury.
- Just above the Range Rover Sport Supercharged is the SVR version of the sporting ute, which is admittedly a degree more athletic. But for daily use, I’d take this version, with more than enough power and looks, and roughly $30k in change. Same argument against stupid-fast SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, by the way.
- You wouldn’t expect to find a lot of “good values” in the Range Rover options catalog, but here’s one: the $537 Protection Package. That’s five hundred bucks for front, rear, and tailgate floor mats, yeah. But the mats are really thick, well-made, and good looking, and the package also includes a collapsable cargo carrier that makes the load area far more suitable for the humdrum task of grocery shopping.
- Even hooked up to that eight-ratio transmission, this is far from a frugal vehicle. I struggled to hit the EPA-rated 19 miles per gallon in my highway driving – admittedly over the posted speed limit of 70 mph most of the time. But the fact is, with this much easy power you’ll be hard pressed to keep the consumption in check.
- The overhauled software and hardware that runs this Jaguar Land Rover infotainment suite can’t come fast enough. The current system is adequate, but just, for a vehicle at this top-tier price.
- More of a personal preference than a true demerit, but if I were buying this truck today, I’d leave the glossy-finish “Grand Black Lacquer” wood trim off the options list. I’ve rarely met an auto-interior surface more disposed to displaying fingerprints; quickly defeating its sleek-design mission.
- Audi Q7
- BMW X5
- Cadillac Escalade
- Infiniti QX70
- Mercedes-Benz GLE Class
- Volvo XC90
|Engine||Supercharged 5.0L V8|
|Output||510 Horsepower / 461 Pound-Feet|
|EPA Fuel Economy||19 Highway / 14 City / 16 Combined|
|0-60 MPH||5.0 Seconds|
|Top Speed||155 Miles Per Hour|
|Estimated Lease Price (As-Tested)||$1,600/Month|
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