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Range Rover Sport – review

Once in a while a car is launched that’s so good, it sets a new benchmark of excellence. The Range Rover Sport was just such a treat in 2013.

Now a familiar sight on our roads, Land Rover has continued to develop the car in 2014.

Not only did it unleash the Range Rover Sport SVR – the fastest and most powerful production Land Rover, which lapped the Nürburgring in 8 minutes 14 seconds.

Range Rover Sport SVR
Land Rover also added an uprated diesel SDV8 engine option, plus improvements to the in-car technology and increased personalisation options, including extra exterior colours, alloy wheels and a panoramic roof.

A Range Rover Sport Stealth Pack (£1,700 -£2,500) was also introduced, featuring a set of exterior design enhancements, including a satin black front grille and grille surround, bonnet and fender vents and a choice of 21” 9-spoke or 22” 5-spoke wheels, finished in satin black with gloss black wheel nuts.

Having driven both the 3.0 V6 diesel and top of the range 5.0-litre V8 at the Range Rover Sport launch in 2013, I was totally bowled over. Recently I got behind the wheel of the SDV6 again for an extended period, and it’s just as good.

Range Rover Sport
Within minutes of driving the Sport it becomes clear that it’s both a joy to drive and deceptive .It doesn’t feel like a big car and it’s much more agile than you’d expect.

Spacious and comfortable with a commanding driving position, it’s a chameleon of a car. It’s able to take on every challenge thrown at it and it’s as happy cruising the M5 as it is off-roading.

Good looking and better proportioned than the model it replaced, it owes more than a passing resemblance to its cute little cousin, the Evoque.

Range Rover Sport

It also been on a diet, shedding a third of its body weight. The first-generation car was based on the Land Rover Discovery’s steel platform, while the new Sport uses the same lightweight aluminium chassis as the latest Range Rover.

The V8 version is a brute of a car (0-60 in 5 seconds and a 155mph top speed), while the engine is pure Jekyll and Hyde – put your foot down and the joyous burble is transformed into a snarling beast.

The SDV6 model is no slouch either – it’s capable of close on 140mph and can hit 60mph in 6.8 seconds. It also challenges one of those big SUV myths – economy. A competitive 35mpg is achievable – more on motorway runs.

Range Rover Sport
The V8 is the car to have if money is no object, but the SDV6 is refined and powerful enough for most.

During the launch the Sport excelled in the two extreme challenges. First we headed to Land Rover’s all-terrain proving ground near Ledbury in Herefordshire, where it took waist-deep rivers, wheel-deep mud and steep hills in its stride.

Next it was over to Cotswold Airport near Kemble, Gloucestershire, where I hit 145mph in the V8 before I ran out of runway, and completed an untroubled emergency brake test at full speed. Startlingly quick and reassuringly stable, the Sport is as impressive on tarmac as it is off-road.

Range Rover Sport
As you can tell, I find it hard to fault the Sport. Having read various owners’ reviews, it would seem that there are a few reliability issues, but generally they are extremely positive.

So does the new Range Rover Sport live up to its acclaim? Absolutely. In fact I’d go further – it’s still the most complete car in the world.

The Range Rover Sport range starts at £61,250.00, rising to £93,450 for the awesome SVR.

Range Rover Sport

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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