The original Range Rover Sport hit the streets in 2005, it was an immediate hit and introduced the brand to a new demographic of buyers. Not an easy act to follow. Does the 2014 Range Rover Sport have the goods for a successful followup?
Based on Land Rover’s all-new Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport is, you guessed it, a sportier version of Land Rover’s flagship ride. New for this generation of the Sport is a supercharged 3.0L V6, which replaces Land Rover’s naturally-aspirated 5.0L V8. Power is down from 375 horsepower to 340 horsepower, but the 2014 Range Rover Sport also shed 760 pounds, so performance didn’t suffer one bit. If you’re purely a numbers guy and love the roar of a V8 you can always give Land Rover some more cash for the optional 510 horsepower supercharged V8.
My tester came in the mid-level HSE form, with a base price of $67,600. Add in a tow package, ebony headliner, premium audio, and an extra duty pack and the Sport I rode around in for a week would run you $73,125 off the lot. Regardless of model, the Range Rover Sport comes paired to an all-wheel drivetrain and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2014 Range Rover Sport retains the same overall shape as the last-gen model, but gains some new front- and rear-end styling, with inspiration clearly coming from the Range Rover Evoque. Sleeker headlights with new LED accents adorn the corners and a there is a more angled grille that gives the Sport a more streamlined look. The rear of the Range Rover Sport has some sleek new wrap-around LED taillights.
The Range Rover Sport’s interior styling hasn’t changed much from one generation to the next. At $73,000, you’d expect nothing less than soft-touch materials throughout and high-quality leather on the seats, in that Land Rover certainly delivers, this car is plush. The Range Rover Sport also includes some nice detail work, like metal dash accents that only appear when the doors are open, brushed aluminum stalk caps and a truly ridiculous Range Rover Sport illustration on the B-pillar. The Range Rover Sport’s twin-pod gauge cluster is easy to read with an LED screen is located in the middle to keep track of engine temperature and fuel level.
The Range Rover Sport’s center stack looks great with a metal-framed infotainment screen on top and elegant HVAC controls below. Thankfully, the Range Rover Sport uses an actual gear lever rather than the rotary dial. There’s nothing more emasculation than getting in gear with a dial.
Land Rover’s infotainment system gets the job done, but there are a few too many nested menus and the system’s response times are a bit slow. The optional Meridian sound system the infotainment system was paired to, however, fantastic. If you have the cash it’s a worthy $1,950 upgrade.
Regardless of which seat you choose, the Sport offers plenty of room with comfortable and supportive seats. Cargo room isn’t quite as spacious in the Sport, there’s just 27.7 cubic feet behind the second row and 62.2 cubic feet with the seats folded. Loading isn’t easy either, even with the Sport’s adjustable air suspension at its lowest setting.
So does the 2014 Range Rover Sport still deserve that Sport badge? Yes. The supercharged V6’s maximum torque may not hit until 3,500rpm, but the Sport’s eight-speed automatic transmission makes sure you have plenty of power on hand at all speeds. Land Rover says the Ranger Rover Sport V6 will get from 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, which is quick enough for a vehicle this size. The 2014 Sport feels so much snappier when compared to last year’s model. I think most thanks can go to its crash diet, don’t worry though it still feels like a substantial vehicle.
The Range Rover Sport was designed to handle extreme off-road conditions but it is also extremely civilized on payment. Steering is light and easy, and its air ride suspension provides a compliant ride and the cabin is also very quiet at highway speeds. As my wife put it, “this is a great car for napping while you drive me places.”
The Range Rover Sport’s V6 is rated at 17mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway, that’s a pretty significant improvement over the 13/18mpg city/highway ratings of the old V8. There is also a larger fuel tank, so overall range has grown from 322 miles to almost 500.
There is little to dislike about the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, if you can afford it. This new model retains everything that made the original great and in-fact sweetens the deal with a lighter curb weight and some new found attention to detail.
** Thanks to a spectacularly idiotic moment I managed to erase all photography for this vehicle. A real shame as the car is beautiful to say the least.