The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is the newest model from this British brand that was founded in 1948. It has an imposing presence, provides excellent handling and looks just as great at the country club as it does when it takes on off-road duty.
Ranger Rover is the top end of the Land Rover line and the 2015 Range Rover Sport is the middle model of that range. This all-wheel drive SUV harnesses nearly 70 years of history and combines that with modern technologies to deliver a complete package, one that looks fashionable around town and is also highly durable when operated off road.
Describe the 2015 Range Rover Sport in one word and “muscular” comes to mind. Unlike many other utility vehicles that seem to have used more relaxed elements to define style, the Range Rover Sport puts forth a traditional SUV persona with its broad hood, strong shoulders, expansive windshield and sturdy roof pillars.
That’s not to say that the Range Rover Sport lacks an aerodynamic flair. Its front fascia features wrap around headlamps flanking a small, horizontal upper grille section. Below that is the lower grille, fog lamps and a front kick plate.
The SUV’s chiseled look is augmented by wheel vents, sturdy wheel arches, belt line and rocker panel trim and a sloping roof line. To the rear, wraparound tail lights, a diffuser, dual exhaust pipes and a spoiler are present.
Inside, the Range Rover Sport seats five with an available third row seat for two more. That third row is quite small and the extra seats would best be used by small children, not adults.
The interior is bright, roomy and offers excellent sight lines. Land Rover makes good use of two tone touches across the dashboard for a sophisticated look. Leather is nearly everywhere — across the dashboard, around the steering wheel, on door panels and upon seat surfaces.
The instrument panel features two large analog displays flanking a digital driver information center. All driver commands sit on the steering wheel. The wheel tilts and telescopes, benefitting from a button that can be twisted and turned to help you find the right position.
The center console features a brightly lit display panel at the top with audio and climate controls beneath that. At the base of the console is a hidden storage compartment, but it is difficult to access if you have drinks sitting in the cup holders. A second storage area is located within the arm rest.
The center display panel takes much getting used to with more commands present than necessary. Unlike some competing systems that make heating and cooling of the front seats a one-step process, Land Rover unnecessarily adds in extra steps. It would be better had these controls were managed by switches or knobs — the panel is simply overwhelming.
The Range Rover Sport driver’s seat is comfortable, supportive and plush. Choose the HSE package and the seats are covered in perforated Oxford leathering. You also get seven seat color choices, wood and trim upgrades, a panoramic roof, fog lamps and 20-inch wheels. The second row offers excellent room for three and when the luxury climate control and visibility package is selected, four-zone climate control is also present.
One change that would be welcome for the Range Rover Sport is a redesign of the door panels to provide enough room for drink holders. Each door has a storage compartment, but no drink holders are present. Modern utility vehicles typically have more holders than there are passengers, but the Range Rover Sport provides just four.
The Range Rover Sport HSE is powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine making 340 horsepower. Also available is a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine making 510 horsepower. Both engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The V6 provides very good power, offering spirited acceleration and taking this SUV from 0 to 60 mph in just under seven seconds. Choose the V8 and you’ll shave about two seconds off that time. However, fuel economy suffers as the standard 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway falls to 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Both engines take premium grade gasoline.
On the road, the V6 gives a commanding presence and provides the confidence drivers need with a sport-tuned suspension to match. You can adjust the ride height and dial the terrain management system to improve your on-road dynamics. This SUV takes to the corners without wallowing and offers quicker steering responses than many models in its class. Take it off road and you can raise the air suspension a full inch higher, something particularly useful when mud or water is present.
Beyond the infotainment system, the technologies that Range Rover buyers might consider the most are found in various option packages, including luxury climate comfort and visibility, and front climate comfort and visibility, available with HSE and Supercharged models.
The packages bring in a heated windshield, heated steering wheel, front and rear climate controlled seats, four-zone automatic climate control, a front cooler box, 16-way driver and front passenger seats and Homelink.
Choose the Range Rover Autobiography edition and adaptive Xenon headlights are included. You also get rear fog lights, a heated rear windshield and a sliding panoramic roof with a power blind.
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has tested the Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
Depending on the model chosen, your Range Rover Sport will come with a variety of safety features. Most models can be had with adaptive headlamps, while a blind spot monitor can be ordered. This model comes with a crash unlock system, power operated child locks, front height adjustable seat belts and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The Range Rover Sport has one of the larger price variations among vehicles as it ranges from $63,350 for the SE edition all the way to the SVR retailing from $110,475. The pricing differences go beyond the supercharged V8 engine to include a host of safety and performance features, special trim and an enhanced audio system.
For $79,995, the Supercharged edition features the larger engine, paddle shifters, a terrain response system, sport tail pipes and torque vectoring. Although price may not be an issue with most Land Rover shoppers, the HSE and Supercharged editions may prove to be the better values.
The second generation Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a vast improvement over the previous model and is based on the same platform as the top-of-the-line Range Rover. The pricing differences from standard to top-end models are extreme, with a happy middle ground most likely found in HSE and Supercharged editions.