Range Rover Sport SDV6 Diesel Review
I first got behind the wheel of the all new Range Rover at the end of 2012, and it was quite easily my favourite and most surprising car of the year. The technology and engineering advancements to cut down 40% of its weight and its ability to stick to the road without much body roll was a pleasure. Not to mention you were in a 2 ton machine that could pretty much go anywhere and was 2 metres in height! But are Range Rover risking it all with the latest Range Rover Sport?
Although many people may not realise it, the Range Rover Sport is actually the smaller (and cheaper) sibling of the original Range Rover, coming in around 14cm shorter and slimmer. However with that Sport moniker, it has a reputation, and one it must live up to without fail.
Having reviewed the new Range Rover Sport upon launch, we wanted to take a different look. How would it stack up for a week (instead of a day) and we also choose the mid-range 3 Litre V6 Diesel as our weapon of choice rather than the jaw droppingly quick Petrol V8.
The new Range Rover Sport is incredibly stylish and not in perhaps the same brash way to the Original Range Rover. Slightly smaller in mass and stance means the Range Rover Sport takes on a slightly unassuming role, still large enough to create a fierce bite but small enough to disappear into the background when needed. The sloping roof line giving it a more slick look and creating that whole travelling without moving look as seems to be all the rage.
As mentioned, that slightly smaller frame gives it a more sportier look, though of course not quite as small and playful as the Evoque which is a good thing. It’s still leaves quite the impression on the road though, towering over other SUVs, making them look like small toys. Parking is just about possible though, even if the multi-story single space is a little tight, though on the grass at your village fete is much more like it.
Range Rover Sport SDV6 Interior
A near faultless cavern of style and refinement awaits upon opening the door to any Range Rover Sport. Interior options are plenty but the dark trim with slight flashes of carbon fibre was spot on, as were the fully adjustable seats which you can sink into just like you do in your favourite arm chair at home.
Technology is here and then some, from 3 screens (depending on options) and the front one being a split view between passenger and driver. Heated and Cooled seats and of course your hands wouldn’t be the same without that heated steering wheel. A digital dash is here but in a classic, classy installation making it look almost analogue, and the centre console media and information system is one of the best on the market. With information and options in abundance.
The only issue with an otherwise near flawless interior has to be the position of the window controls, which even at 6 foot 3” are too high to comfortably use. Their usual placement taken by seat memory which I am sure could have been housed somewhere else. Everyone who went in the car commented on them, why oh why??
Range Rover Sport SDV6 Driving
The Range Rover and subsequent Range Rover Sport is the most refined and comfortable car you will ever drive. Period. The upright seating position and personalised seating options make it unrivalled, and no journey is ever a chore. Miles of road are eaten up without issue and it is one of the smoothest rides around, which given the limited body roll is a surprise that the Range Rover Sport is right on so many levels.
Engine wise, this is a tourer and although there is power there when needed for overtaking I can’t say that a 6.8 second machine starting at £65,000 is perhaps worthy of the Sport brand. Yes you can switch into paddles and eek out every last horse this car has to offer but at the top end when that torque has disappeared, it’s a smooth ride. Not a speedy one.
It does have character as well, well as least the automatic window wipers do. They seem to be watching a different weather channel to you, and seem to pick up speed even if the rain reduces.
Although easily lived with, the following isn’t and actually makes me advise people not to take the option on the car. The self adjusting cruise control. Unless you are in the desert, it just doesn’t work! The issue comes with the sensors don’t seem to detect lanes, try and take over a lorry in a different lane on a right hand bend (so the lorry is positioned nearly in front of you) and the car will slow down to avoid you going into it even from some distance away. It makes the cruise control nearly un-usable in busy periods with lots of traffic, when you should really be making the most of it!
Range Rover Sport SDV6 Conclusion
A Range Rover Sport should be just that, Sport. Too many brands have cheapened their top marque with inferior products to create a few extra pounds. With three engine options and an entry level price of £56,000 which at its base gets you to 60 seconds in 7 seconds, there isn’t really much sport about it. However, a top of the range 5 litre V8 and 4.9 seconds, now we are taking the word sport in which it was intended.
There is no doubting the Range Rover is still one of the most sought after and premium cars on the market, and if I had to choose one car for a long road trip then this would very much be top of my list. However I can’t help but feel top end brands such as Range Rover need to be careful not to fall into the trap of designing and creating cars which don’t quite step up to the mark of what their price tags dictate. The mark of perfection.