Swift, ultra-quiet and dynamic to drive, the latest Range Rover Sport really impressed, then a drip of water fell on my head.
The new Range Rover Sport is a handsome four wheel drive SUV. It has beautifully crafted lines and smooth surfacing that make it instantly appealing. Its’ exterior is really well executed and eye-catching. The flush design styling nods to improved aerodynamics. We have seen in recent years designers morphing blocky SUVs in to lower styled crossovers in an attempt to ease them through the air at speed. Our PHEV Range Rover Sport weighs 2,735kgs – that’s a lot to push along, but its shape is still refreshingly chunky.
At the high end of the market buyers are less concerned with mpg as they have deep pockets but do like to be seen as doing the right thing and this is where the Range Rover Sport PHEV or plug in hybrid variant we’re testing really appeals. The Sport has an imposing on street presence that seems, in this generation at least, to be a bit more classy and closer to the elegance of a full fat Range Rover. If you use the PHEV as intended you can do a lot of your driving in electric only mode with the reassurance of when you need to do more the 50km or the 80km (official minimum figure), you have an engine that will get you where you need to go without the hassle of using the public charging network.
Inside the cabin is well appointed with good switchgear and digital displays. The points of contact are high quality and pleasing. The Sport furnishes drivers with a premium sensation from behind the wheel. The cabin is spacious yet not too large so when you’re driving one up the car can feel compact. The only fault we experienced was a drip of water from the roof-liner where somehow water managed to find its way from the roof (a large factory panoramic sunroof was fitted to our test car) to where a plastic fixture was fixed above and near the driver’s head. Range Rover has tried very hard to be seen as a well built and reliable brand, but if this was my own car this drip would have me going back to the dealership quite unhappy.
Our test car is the P440e with 440hp and 620nm of torque (there is a more powerful PHEV P510e also). Our Range Rover Sport PHEV is powered by a 3-litre, six cylinder petrol engine and a relatively huge rechargeable battery for a plug in hybrid at 38kWh – that’s not far off many compact EVs (40kWh). Range Rover says over 110km is possible in EV only mode. An electric only Range Rover Sport is coming in 2024. On the road the Range Rover Sport is astonishingly good. The stiffer chassis and revisions to the suspension delivers a truly nimble, dynamic drive while being ridiculously quiet inside. The sprint form 0-100km/h takes 5.8 seconds and top speed is 225km/h. The Range Rover Sport delivered more than I expected and buyers will love the feeling of contentment it delivers when using it. The fact it can also go almost anywhere off-road is a bonus. It can wade through water up to 900mm deep. Big Range Rovers as a rule of thumb can make people’s jaws drop at their ability to handle rough terrain, sadly the majority never get to do all that they can do – yes I know how silly that sounds – they’re just machines – but car enthusiasts know what I mean. The Range Rover Sport range in Ireland features the diesel D300 MHEV (mild hybrid) and petrol P400 MHEV. Pricing starts from €114,150 for the PHEV powered version – our test car (P440e SE) was €125,340.
The Range Rover Sport is brilliant for what it is, a premium, go anywhere car that can be run as a daily EV – but its legacy and the general perception by onlookers means you will still find yourself having to explain its green credentials.