2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Starting MSRP: $64,950 - $111,350

Estimated MPG: 17 city / 23 hwy

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Review

With iconic styling that is at once traditional and modern, the powerful 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is the automotive equivalent of capable outdoorsman dressed in formal wear. Employing an all-new turbodiesel or a high-horsepower supercharged gasoline engine and a suspension that can handle almost any terrain, the Range Rover Sport performs equally well as a limo for princesses as it does a rescue vehicle in the jungle.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 05/03/2016

In what amounts to the fastest and most agile Land Rover of all time, the aluminum-bodied 2016 Range Rover Sport boasts high-horsepower engines, a lightweight chassis and a sophisticated electronic suspension. However, this midsize SUV’s performance only tells a small part of the story. The stylish exterior and luxurious interior give the Range Rover Sport a level of affluence that’s a cut above the majority of SUVs on the market. With few rivals sharing Land Rover’s storied history of off-road dominance and prestige, the 2016 Range Rover Sport is equal parts utility and wow factor.

The 2016 Range Rover Sport is available in five trim levels. The base SE is powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 or a turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine. The HSE trim utilizes the same power plants and includes exterior and interior upgrades. Supercharged and Autobiography models include a substantial, supercharged 5.0-liter V8. The top SVR trim kicks up the performance and finesse with a more powerful version of the supercharged V8 engine. All models employ an eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels all the time.

Exterior

Exterior
10

Some vehicles park in the driveway. Others grace the landscape in front of your home. The glorious 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport falls into the latter category. Unlike the majority of newer trend-conscience vehicles on the road today, Land Rover’s Range Rover is decidedly an evolution of itself. Park an original Rover next to the latest model and the resemblance is obvious and deliberate. The lines that draw a Range Rover Sport spell comfortable success. It makes a statement, that is for sure, but it is a subdued declaration that says, “I’ve made it and I’m treating myself to the best, but I don’t need to declare it from the rooftops.”

Drawing on tradition and hard-earned wisdom, the Range Rover Sport is proof that a vehicle can be as beautiful as it is utilitarian. The high pronounced stance stands above the crowd, both literally and metaphorically. The exterior fit and finish faithfully equate to that of a vehicle that costs as much as many homes in the United States, every square inch is the fruit of painstaking efforts.

Interior

Interior
10

The 2016 Range Rover Sport’s cabin is an exercise in sensible pampered luxury. The fit and finish of the SUV rivals the very best; every material is of the highest quality, every detail is “a little better.” However, the Range Rover Sport’s luxury is purposeful. The seats are comfortable, but well bolstered and supportive. The soft-touch materials are long wearing and practical. The wood or carbon fiber, as is the case with the SVR edition, is so thoughtfully placed and balanced that you forget that Rover could substitute plastics. The highly polished fine woods and exotic carbon fiber seem like the only real alternative.

With an answer for just about every driving woe, the Range Rover Sport’s stress-reducing environment makes long road trips shorter. The adjustable suspension irons out even the most wrinkled pavement, taking the already comfy interior to the next level. Everyone has ample legroom and headroom. If owning a Jaguar F-Type provokes your spouse to continuously volunteer to run errands just to spend time in the car, having a Range Rover Sport in the driveway means that family members will ask to ride along for the trip.

While there is an option for a third row, the Range Rover Sport is for all intents and purposes a gloriously comfortable five-seater. The pop-up third row feels more cramped than the backseat of a Porsche 911, which I think was designed exclusively to hold back packs.

Performance

Performance
10

Designed to be in many ways a smaller and sportier response to the Land Rover Range Rover, the Sport favors spirited driving dynamics to all-around maximum utility. Take for instance the Sport’s 27.7 cubic feet of load space volume compared to the 32.1 cubic feet provided by the full-size standard wheelbase Range Rover.

Powered by an all-new turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 that produces 254 horsepower and a wild 443 pound-feet of torque, the Range Rover Sport SE and HSE zip from 0 to 60 mph per hour in 7.1 seconds and earn a respectable 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

The remaining engines that power the Range Rover Sport are supercharged. The base engine in the SE and HSE is a substantial, supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 340-horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 mph passes a little faster at 6.9 seconds and gas mileage equates to 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

Supercharged and Autobiography models up the displacement and cylinder count to a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that pumps out a startling 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. With 0-to-60 mph numbers in line with many of today’s pony cars, the Supercharged model hits the mark in a mere 5 seconds flat. Gas mileage suffers of course at 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway.

My review vehicle was the top-trim Range Rover Sport SVR. The outgoing 2015 model is especially significant as it is the first Land Rover to ever don the SVR badge. The SVR package includes a retuned version of the Rover’s V8 that produces a staggering 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels through a pair of sophisticated electronic differentials. The drivetrain system is user configurable from the cockpit and includes a general setting, as well as presets for snow, mud, sand and rock. I was able to experiment with the sand feature to great success. With judicious throttle, the Range Rover never missed a beat and allowed me to easily drive through a soft sandy mess that would have left many vehicles behind.

The Range Rover Sport SVR is decidedly a capable off-road vehicle, but the luxurious five-seater is just as at home on the race track. Zero to 60 mph rips by in an awe-inspiring 4.5 seconds on the way to a blistering 162 mile per hour top speed. Handling is beyond confidence inspiring, as the Range Rover Sport’s enhanced electronic air suspension with automatic load leveling allows the driver to dial in ride height and driving dynamics by way of a couple buttons and a rotary dial.

Unlike many vehicles that offer “Sport” or “Eco” modes that don’t really seem to do much of anything, the Range Rover Sport’s settings vary the vehicle’s personality to the extent that it’s like have more than one SUV at your disposal. Want a ride that’s soft, comfy and quieter? There is a setting for that. Want to torture your family through hairpin turns? There’s a setting for that too. You can take advantage of the Rover’s piano wire tight suspension while simultaneously harassing the neighborhood with the angry, growling exhaust.

Braking in the standard Range Rover Sport is a complex computerized experience that elevates the stopping performance well beyond a standard SUV’s capabilities. Automated systems enhance performance, adding to the driving experience and bringing the approximately 5,000 pound Range Rover Sport to a panic stop safely and quickly. My review vehicle added massive bright blue Brembo brake calipers up front, which bring additional performance and kick up the bling factor in the process.

The only downside to the Range Rover Sport SVR’s massive engine and gnarly quad pipe exhaust is public perception. The Range Rover Sport SVR is LOUD. Even when you put it into the default driving setting and close the exhaust valves, it is still upsettingly noisy to unsuspecting neighbors. The start-stop system, designed to save a little fuel when sitting in traffic or at a light, works well enough but is startlingly rambunctious when the SVR fires back up after sitting for a second or two. I think most folks would rather spend the extra pennies on gasoline than jump every few minutes when the 550-horsepower monster roars to life.

Technology

Technology
7

The 2016 Range Rover Sport is a luxury vehicle that’s equipped with an incredible amount of standard technology features.

The base 250-watt, eight-speaker audio system comes with satellite and HD radio. The 8-inch full color touch screen with navigation is easy to read, although the slow responding system seems out of date, especially for a high-end vehicle. The system also hosts Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a single USB socket. HSE models add a modern fixed panoramic roof and a HomeLink garage door opener.

Autobiography trim owners can open the panoramic sunroof and get a brilliant, 825-watt Meridian Signature Reference audio system that employs 19 speakers for 3-D surround sound. The system is among the best sounding on the market. Sitting in the rear seats with a DVD playing is nothing short of a high-end movie theater experience, audio wise at least.

Autobiography models also get a surround camera system that elevates the standard rearview visuals to another level. Perpendicular and parallel park assist and many other automated features send the Autobiography’s technology-based driver assistance features to another level altogether.

Adaptive xenon headlamps with automatic high-beam assist illuminates the exterior, while customer-configurable interior mood lighting keeps things interesting inside the cabin. Elaborate steering wheel mounted controls and stealth mode ambient lighting round out the highlight tour, but the scope of standard and optional tech is beyond the extent of this review.

Safety

Safety
8

The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport has not been evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which isn’t unusual for a vehicle in this class.

Standard safety features include an auto locking and crash unlock system, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. A suite of air bags, anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control and dynamic stability control are also included. Rain-sensing headlights keep visibility at a maximum before the driver even thinks about turning them on manually.

HSE models receive automatic bi-xenon headlights with high beam assist. I am particularly a fan of this feature. Dark roads have met their match as the Range Rover Sport works feverishly to turn the high beams off and on whenever an oncoming vehicle appears.

Autobiography and SVR models include a bevy of technology based safety features including blind spot monitoring, a parking aid with a front visual display and an elaborate surround camera system. These active safety features are also available optionally on lower trim levels.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
7

The base 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE starts at $64,950, not including a $995 destination charge. Although that pricing includes a long list of standard features typical of a high-end luxury SUV, the base Range Rover Sport is noticeably more expensive than many vehicles in the segment.

For instance, the redesigned 2016 Volvo XC90 AWD T6 offers comparable power, performance and luxury for almost $15,000 less and throws in a couple of useable third-row seats to sweeten the deal.

My top-trim 2016 Range Rover Sport V8 SVR starts at a premium price of $112,345 after destination. My review vehicle was sprayed with a lovely $1,800 Estoril Blue metallic paint, while the interior’s bling factor was upped with $2,300 worth of carbon fiber trim and a $350 Ebony Morzine headliner. Optional features also included a $2,000 SVR carbon fiber engine cover, a $2,900 driver assistance package and a $4,450 Meridian Signature audio system for a grand total of $126,145 including destination and handling.

Inexpensive?

Not even.

Worth the money?

After spending a week with the fire-breathing Range Rover Sport SVR I am almost convinced that it is worth every dollar. Rarely have I reviewed a vehicle that has garnered so much positive attention from such a diverse group of people. Sure, the neighbors may have grumbled every early morning that I started the SVR up, but the grin that the rumble of the supercharged V8 produced on my face gave me the grace to apologize.

Overall

Overall
9

The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport’s mature, yet enthusiast oriented exterior mirrors the midsize SUV’s near perfect blend of luxury and performance. Sure there are less expensive alternatives to owning the lovely British off-roader, but none of them carry Range Rover’s prestigious nameplate and unique style. The base supercharged V6 is powerful, but enthusiasts will want to opt for the supercharged V8 in any of the five hundred plus horsepower flavors.

I’ve been fortunate to spend plenty of time behind the wheel of both the Autobiography and SVR models and in both cases I was sad when my review period was over.

While my enthusiasm may have been tempered by a payment booklet, the only thing more exciting than having a decked-out Range Rover Sport is in your driveway is actually getting behind the wheel and driving it.