If the Land Rover Range Rover is the choice transportation for the Queen of England, it must be a premier luxury SUV. And you’ve probably seen the TV commercial of the Rover traversing a steep staircase that leads one to believe it’s truly an SUV that combines uncompromised luxury with supreme off-road prowess.
The Range Rover Sport model is offered in SE, HSE, HST, Supercharged Dynamic, Autobiography, hot SVR and a hybrid. We were privileged to test the 2019.5 HST model that came exceptionally equipped.
Like all Rovers, the Sport differs from the competition with its veddy British design. No sculpting, chiseling or protruding beaks. Just a pleasing traditional look. The major sporty effect are its rectangular tailpipes.
First off, the Sport has so many techie and functional features that it requires an extensive study of the owners’ manual. And after a mere 19-inch step-in into Sport’s luxuriously endowed interior, you’re treated to heated/cooled Windsor leather seats, carbon fiber trim, even a cold box in the console to keep your water bottle chilled. Lavishness fit for a queen.
Grabbing the eyes upon entry into the cockpit are dual touchscreens. A 10-inch atop an 8-inch lower on the vertical stack. The top is for a host of functions such as Infotainment, audio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Wi-Fi connectivity, and rearview camera with multiple views. The lower screen controls most HVAC functions and drive modes. As such, some HVAC modes require multiple touches on the touchscreen that requires practice so it can be operated while safely driving.
With the Sport model comes dual color seats, the fronts of which are nicely supportive and comfy over long hauls. Accenting it all is carbon fiber trim, a feature rarely found on top-tier SUVs.
Sport’s gauge cluster features an array of features, functions, alerts and selected drive modes plus a heads-up-display on the windshield. And a pair of pods on either side of the sueded steering wheel offer added, fingertip controls.
Occupying the console is the 8-speed automatic transmission shifter that is flanked by a rotary controller that selects Dynamic, Eco, Comfort, Grass/Mud, Snow, Sand, Rock Crawl and Auto modes. Alongside are two switches for the air suspension system that raises the body for heavy loads, deep snow and for traversing 33.5 inches of water depth. The air system also increases ground clearance from 8.4 to 10.9 inches. The latter offers an optional Wade Sensing feature that alerts the driver when the vehicle approaches maximum wading depth. A most comprehensive system.
Sport came standard with a host of safety features such as dynamic stability control, roll stability control, emergency high speed braking/brake assist, lane departure warning and a Park Pack ensemble. This feature includes a 360-degree parking aid, rear traffic monitor, clear exit monitor plus a Drive Pack system that adds blind spot monitor, traffic sign recognition and adaptive speed limiter.
Upon slipping into the reclining rear seats you’ll experience generous leg and headroom for two adults, or three in a pinch. And at the rear of the console box are separate HVAC controls (and audio) to keep back seat riders warm or cool.
Back in the cargo area and with the rear seats upright, there’s 27.5 cubic feet of cargo space that measures 39.5 inches deep, 43.5 wide and 30.5 high. Flip them and space increases to 69.5 cubic feet that expands cargo loading depth to 70 inches. With the air suspension in its lowest setting, liftover into the cargo area is 30 inches, and 34 at its highest.
While Rover’s are offered with a choice of four gasoline engines (depending on trim models), our Sport got its gusto from a 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder that generates 395-hp and 406 ft/lb of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 19 city, 25-highway mpg with start/stop engine technology. It moves this 4,820-pound hunk with ease. And the sweet notes emanating from the tailpipes makes this six sound and perform like a V8.
Want more power? You’ll have to step up to the SVR that gets a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that puts out a whopping 575-hp and 502 lb/ft of torque for EPA estimates of 15/20 mpg.
As for the ride on tall Continental 22-inch tires and with Rover’s Terrain Response system, it responds to highway tar strips and pock-marked roads with cushioned smoothness.
Handling wise, it feels planted, secure and safe with its air suspension system.
There’s also no question of its off-road prowess with its multiple modes that can tackle the steep and deep.
Now all this greatness does come at a price. A very steep price as options are pricey. For example, the Sport began life at $82,950. But after adding the following: Driver Assist Pack ($4,000); Climate Comfort Pack ($875), heated steering wheel, refrigerator console box, four zone climate control; On/Off Road Pack ($565), twin speed transfer case, All Terrain Response, Terrain Response 2 w/Dynamic Program; Tow Pack ($1,085), trailer hitch, advanced tow assist, activity key; Meridian audio system ($4,540); Carbon Fiber Exterior Pack ($3,500); 22-inch spoke wheels ($1,835); Extended Carbon Fiber Trim Finisher ($1,530); Head-Up Display ($1,325); Indus Silver paint ($710); Soft Door Close ($610), a very nice feature by the way; Wade Sensing (350), plus delivery ($1,295) that took the bottom line to $105,170. A price fit for a queen.
Ranger Rover Sport is an exceptional and true SUV, and not to be confused with a crossover. It’s far from those. And it comes with a 4 year/50K new vehicle warranty plus 4/50K roadside assistance and a 6/Unlimited corrosion coverage.