What are we Testing
Today we go for a blast in the Range Rover Sport Luxury 5.0L V8. This is the Rangie aimed at those that prefer to live on the wilder side of life, but not the extreme. For those who do you want the Supercharged Sport.
What’s it’s Purpose
The Sport series of Range Rovers is aimed at those who want to transport four people in refined fast comfort or five at a pinch. I wouldn’t want to be the one in the middle.
What’s it Like
Range Rover has just celebrated 40 years of making luxury off roaders and the grandfather of them has been around since 1948. As you can imagine they have perfected the art of building high quality fourby’s and have been at the pinnacle of off-roading evolution for that entire time. They introduced coil springs to the masses in production 4WD’s and have progressed on to airbags to name one of their innovations. These are one of the few up market 4WDs that still have real hard core off road credentials.
What’s Good & Not so Good
Good High quality material everywhere
Heaps of power
Excellent towing capacity
Not so good Urban fuel economy
Rim and tyre size
Heaps of power (easy to get into trouble)
The Sport is a trendy looking vehicle able to mix it with the hip youth whilst maintaining styling cues that would warm the heart of any old Rangie owner. The clamshell bonnet integrates well with the LED headlights and side indicators mixing the old with the new. The 20” rims add a bling factor to the package as does the understated body kit witch give others a quite warning that this isn’t just another old Rangie. The taillights continue the interlocked circle theme from the headlights to round out the package.
This is still basically a box on wheels as are most of the vehicles in this market segment and the comments I received from the street where that it was one big mean looking machine.
The Bi-xenon headlights with cornering lamps are a godsend making night driving a breeze. The light quality is so good that you almost don’t need to use high beam.
The turning circle is also pretty good for a vehicle of this size at 11.5m
Inside, Comfort & Features
Inside the sport is up to the standard you would expect from a prestige 4WD. Leather everywhere, wood grain everywhere else, nothing has been spared. Even the carpets look like they would be at home on any black tie entryway. What little plastic there is, is high quality and doesn’t detract from the styling.
I found the seating comfortable for my daily commute and was able to get into a reasonably good driving position. The problem being that the driver’s seat wouldn’t go down far enough so I had to compensate by tilting the backrest back and extending the steering wheel as far as it would go then having to make do, but I’m taller than the average Joe. Now about that steering wheel, oh my goodness did it feel good on those frosty mornings when I turned the steering wheel heater on. That and the thickness and quality of the leather made driving easy.
Even though the Rover looks big from the outside it is actually rather compact once you are seated inside. I found the driver’s compartment fit like a glove and was easy to brace myself in but others found it claustrophobic. The comment from one of my colleagues was “bloody hell this small inside after you look at it from the outside”.
Range Rover has incorporated a feature that I think has an unexpected bonus for comfort. As part of their quest for better emissions and fuel economy they have incorporated a reverse flow feature into the cooling system for the engine and this dramatically reduces warm up times meaning that the heater heats up faster.
There are so many gadgets and gizmos in this car that I didn’t have time to figure them all out. It took me the best part of a day to set the stereo up the way I like it, find the DVD player and get a movie in for my son, hook my phone up to the Bluetooth, work out how the TV worked and set it up for Australian stations. As a buyer with more time and the proper deliver experience from Range Rover it would be easier.
The stereo worked well and had clear reception even in the section of my trip when most stations drop out. The sound is powerful and crisp and the option is there for the premium system if you so desire.
There are no complaints about the Bluetooth either with everyone being able to hear me clearly and the same can be said for the rear entertainment with constant calls for Thomas the Tank Engine every time we went somewhere. Just to rub it in at work, I sat in the car watching TV while everyone else walked past. All in all there are too many features to go into here you will have to check out the web site.
As you would expect safety is top standard. Range Rover Sport features eight airbags, with the front row having side thorax and front airbags. Each seat row also has its own curtain airbags.
Also there are heaps of electronic aids to try and keep you upright again too many to go into here so I’ll only comment on the ones that I was able to observe. Adaptive cruise was the first I tried and as you would expect it worked smoothly to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front and accelerated effortlessly after I moved out from behind it. The next was Dynamic Stability that activated when I was using cruise and the vehicle decided that the speed was set too high for the corner. After reducing our momentum to a safe speed, the Sport waited till we were going in a straighter line before accelerating back to the set figure.
Other features include the four-wheel Electronic Traction Control (ETC), which monitors individual wheel speeds, and helps distribute drive to the wheels with the best grip. If a wheel starts to spin, ETC sends braking pulses to slow it down, improving its grip and boosting the torque applied to the opposite wheel to reduce vehicle speed.
Performance. Engine, Transmission & Suspension etc
There is plenty of power on tap here, 276kW @6500rpm and 510Nm @ 3500rpm of torque to be exact. More than enough to get you into trouble especially as it is delivered so effortlessly and quietly. There is only a bit of induction noise when you stand on it. The transmission was smooth even in sports mode and always able to find the right gear. Steering was perfectly weighted for both slow speeds and highway cruising.
The smooth ride is provided by four-corner air suspension that helps ensure the vehicle is optimised for a responsive ride, handling, and balance
Fuel economy however was atrocious around town delivering about 20L/100K. It didn’t really matter how light you drove the port I was hard pressed to get it below that figure. On the open road however the abundant torque of the big V8 allowed the Sport to cruise along at about 1800rpm at 110KMH and delivered economy at about 10 – 11L/100K.
The ride was on the firm side but it is to be expected, it is after all a Sport. The terrain response has a mode for everything so you should never be left wanting.
Off Road & Towing
There is plenty of towing capacity; 3500 kg to pull whatever you want and this coupled with the trailer assist program should make towing a breeze. But watch out for the fuel. If you are towing buy the TDV8 instead.
I won’t go into the Sports off-road abilities, as they are the same as all other Rangies, which means fantastic. The only limiting factor is the tyre size but more companies are starting to make reasonable off-road rubber in this diameter.
All in all the Range Rover Sport Luxury lives up to its name. it is a luxury sports 4X4. High build quality, high comfort levels, high horse power, more safety features and gadgetry than you can poke a stick at, this vehicle has it. You feel at home running around town and if you want to try it in the bush, it will take you there. That is the key as almost all of its competitors will pull up short when the tarmac ends.
You can transport 5 people in reasonable comfort or 4 easily and everyone can entertain themselves with their own seat back entertainment system, or in the case of the front seat passenger they can watch while the driver can’t.
The Sport Luxury has a MLP of $138,900
Article Copyright © all rights reserved – Auto Alliance Group Pty. Ltd. 2010