The Range Rover Sport packs the full-size Range Rover’s powertrains into a shorter package. The Sport is quicker, nimbler, and less expensive than the larger Range Rover. The 2016 Range Rover Sport lineup includes a new diesel version, a new HST model powered by a Jaguar F-Type engine, and a new high-performance SVR.
The Range Rover Sport was first introduced by Land Rover 10 years ago to complement the full-size Range Rover. For 2014, the Sport was completely redesigned with a body made from glued and riveted aluminum, making it 800 pounds lighter and therefore more nimble, although it still tips the scales at 5000 pounds or so.
The 2016 Range Rover Sport offers five powertrain choices, all with four-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission.
A 3.0-liter supercharged V6 making 340 horsepower comes standard, with the sweet paddle-shifting 8-speed built by ZF. The 90-degree V configuration gives the V6 a nice snarl while accelerating to 60 miles per hour in seven seconds.
New for 2016 is a turbodiesel V6 that accelerates just as quickly with only 254 horsepower, thanks to 440 pound-feet of torque. It’s very quiet, while bringing EPA-rated fuel mileage of 25 mpg Combined. That’s 6 mpg better than the supercharged V6. It uses a system to clean nitrogen oxide emissions from the exhaust.
Also new for 2016 is the Range Rover Sport HST with 40 more horsepower from the base supercharged six; it’s the same powerplant as in the Jaguar F-Type. The HST also gets firmer dampers, bigger brakes, a Torsen center differential, and a dynamic setting to sharpen the suspension, steering, and throttle response. It’s got exclusive trim, with dark headlamps and taillamps, dark roof and fender vents, a spoiler, and 21-inch spoked wheels with red calipers.
Now the killer motors, the supercharged V8s, starting with the kinder gentler one that only makes 510 horsepower while tearing to 60 miles per hour in five seconds. It gets a Combined 16 miles per gallon. The SVR version pumps that up to a humongous 550 horsepower and 502 foot-pounds of torque. Count on it to be faster and thirstier.
2016 Range Rover Sport models come with more standard equipment than last year’s models, include remote smartphone connectivity for the InControl system and a hands-free tailgate.
The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE ($64,950) is powered by the 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 or the new diesel ($66,450) and comes with leather upholstery, navigation with 8-inch touchscreen, InControl Apps, 19-inch wheels. Range Rover Sport HSE ($69,950) upgrades with full Oxford perforated leather, special trim, fixed panoramic glass roof with power blind, heated front seats, fog lights, and 20-inch wheels.
Range Rover Sport Supercharged ($79,950) comes with the 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8, Terrain Response 2, Dynamic Response, two-speed transfer box, torque vectoring, paddle shifters, Adaptive Dynamics, Dynamic Program, sliding panoramic glass roof with power blind.
Range Rover Sport Autobiography ($93,295) features the ultimate in luxury.
Range Rover Sport SVR ($111,350) boasts the ultimate in performance with the 550-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
The Range Rover Sport shares some the Range Rover’s overall shape, but brings some lines from the stylish smaller Evoque. There’s the slim grille and winged headlamps, but the Sport more noticeably copies the dramatic pinched roofline of the Evoque.
The Sport has clean lines and a confident stance, showing a sense of dual-sport purpose, and originality. It’s got a bold face, with smooth faired headlamps and a grille that looks chunky in chrome but slim in black, like on the Evoque. The black pillars rise from tall sides and support a dynamically sloping roof. Swollen wheel arches, and vents on the fenders and hood add edginess, along with the short and chopped rear end.
The high-performance SVR model looks more aggressive all around, with big air intakes, massive wheels and low-profile tires.
Inside, the Sport is more like the cabin of the Range Rover though distinctively Sport, with expansive leather and aluminum, tight seams and clean switchgear. There are only a few switches and dials, as most of the functions are controlled by a big touchscreen, same as the full-size Range Rover. Except for that touchscreen, nearly every square inch in the cabin is covered in leather or wood. The instrument panel is so beautiful that it makes the touchscreen look dated.
The Sport has four bucket seats (the seats on the SVR are heavily bolstered). Technically, it seats five, although the rear center seat is for occasional use only, and the rear seats are not as supportive as those on the Range Rover. Seating for seven is available, with an optional third row seat for two very small people. If you’ve got seven people squeezed in a Sport, only four of them should be adults. We recommend getting a five-seat Sport. If you need seating for seven, check out the Discovery or elsewhere.
Sirius satellite and HD Radio are standard equipment, while Land Rover’s new InControl apps are available as a stand-alone option or packaged with the upgraded sound system.
The Driver Assistance Package includes traffic sign recognition, lane-departure warning, automatic parallel and perpendicular parking, parking exit assist, and parking sensors all around the vehicle. The Climate Comfort and Visibility Packages have blind-spot monitoring with closing vehicle sensing and reverse traffic detection.
The Sport is aptly named, because the handling is sport all the way, especially compared to the full-size Range Rover that coddles its occupants. The Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport have different driving characters. Both are good, but they are distinctly different and are driven a bit differently. The handling prowess of the Range Rover Sport is impressive and comparing it with the pre-2014 Sport is like comparing night with day, a benefit of the comparatively lightweight structure.
The Sport uses air dampers and variable-ratio steering like the Range Rover, but they are tuned more sharply on the Sport. The Dynamic settings do a good job of sorting out some of the issues, such as body lean, that come with the Sport’s height and weight. Its 21-inch tires and other tweaks make it a rocket, keeping up with the German super SUVs.
The standard 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque is quick and sounds good like a supercharged engine should, with rumbles and whistles. New for 2016 is a 380-hp version, the HST, same engine as in the fabulous Jaguar F-Type.
Another model is the Td6, a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel that’s just as fast as the supercharged V6 and gets much better fuel mileage, up to 658 miles on a tank of gas, on a road trip. Believe or not, it’s even quieter.
The 5.0-liter supercharged V8 makes a brutal 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. It will roar and blast to 60 mph in five seconds, that’s two seconds faster than the supercharged 3.0-liter V6. There you have it, that’s what you get: two seconds less for two cylinders and two liters more. Plus a beefy rumble. Oh, and another 25 mph top speed, from 130 to 155, with the optional Dynamic package. (We think it’s clearly well worth it.)
The Range Rover Sport SVR is a track-worthy 5000-pound SUV. British engine-builders caressed another 40 horsepower and 40 foot-pounds of torque out of the supercharged V8 to make 550 horsepower, 502 foot-pounds of torque, allowing 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, top speed 162 mph. Relaxed on the Autobahn.
The Range Rover Sport suspension is not too firm, even with the engineering emphasis on sporty handling, and it’s very comfortable on the road, in all conditions. The Sport does feel firmer and sportier than the smooth and luxurious Range Rover.
Off the road, as befits any Land Rover, the Sport is an incredibly capable muckraker. Despite the sporty suspension, there’s 9.3 inches of ground clearance, with 10.2 inches of front wheel travel, and 10.7 inches rear. Land Rover says the Sport can cross a river 33.5 inches deep. Pressing a button raises the ride height from the normal highway height to off-road clearance. Pressing that same button will also lower the suspension to make it easier to climb out and back in.
Four-wheel drive is standard and comes in two forms. Torsen four-wheel drive comes on V6 models, while a more technically advanced two-speed 4WD with locking rear differential comes on the V8 and is optional with the V6.
The Terrain Response system has modes for specific terrain and is incredibly sophisticated and works extremely well. Sensors and computers manage the rear and center differentials, traction control, and brakes, to get the best grip at the wheels. Terrain Response 2 has seven modes: General, Dynamic, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Rock Crawl, and Auto, which decides for you which mode you need.
Even the 162-mph SVR is prepared to cross crevasses and climb boulders. It keeps the Terrain Response 2 system and low-range transfer case, reprograms the computers, and upgrades the driveline to handle the power and torque.
The Range Rover Sport is among the sportiest and most powerful SUVs, offering luxury and comfort on the road, the most offroad capability, legend with the marque, and last but not least British car-building expertise and heritage.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. Words by Sam Moses.