If you’re looking for a large SUV that combines luxury, desirability, refinement, comfort and genuine 4×4 capability, you could do a lot worse than cast a glance at the Range Rover Sport.
With its fully adjustable air suspension and sophisticated four-wheel-drive system, it’ll go farther off road than most of its rivals, but it also handles keenly on road. Add in supreme cruising manners, a sumptuous interior and space for up to seven, and it also offers all the trappings of lavishness you’d expect from a limousine.
Top-end family 4x4s don’t get much more multi-talented, then, but you’ll pay for the Range Rover Sport’s talents in terms of a high list price and expensive running costs.
The ‘entry-level’ SDV6 diesel offers strong performance; it pulls effortlessly from low revs. However, for outright pace, rivals such as the BMW X5 40d are that bit faster. Most importantly, however, the Range Rover has plenty of low-rev shove to move the car’s considerable mass.
The SDV8 and SDV6 Hybrid have almost identical engine outputs, but the V8 is the more preferable of the two. It makes the Range Rover Sport effortlessly quick, and it responds consistently whenever you touch the accelerator; the hybrid isn’t so easy to drive due to its slightly unpredictable low-speed responses. It isn’t as quick at high revs as the SDV8, either. A supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol is the cheapest petrol option, and is quiet and smooth at low revs, but it needs working quite hard to get the best performance from it.
Both 5.0-litre V8 petrol engines in the Supercharged and SVR versions are extravagantly powerful, and the latter in particular makes the Range Rover Sport a genuinely fast and exciting performance 4×4.
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