2015 Range Rover Sport New Car Test Drive
The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is all-new for 2014. The 2014 Range Rover Sport aims to match Range Rover's flair with driving dynamics more suitable to a big premium sedan and trail-ability to shame many a four-wheel drive.
Both the new V6 and the V8 are supercharged and equipped with an 8-speed automatic and stop/start for fuel economy. (The V8 was available in last year's model; everything else is new for 2014.) The 2014 Range Rover Sport weighs 800 pounds less than last year's model, according to Land Rover, so performance and fuel economy with either engine are improved over its predecessor. However, even the big diet only brought weight to the 5,000-pound range, so don't expect stellar fuel economy.
Only two inches longer, the 2014 Range Rover Sport adds seven inches of wheelbase over the previous-generation. That yields an improved ride, more back seat room with easier entry, and an available token third-row pair of seats. It does a good job of disguising its size, nearly a foot longer than the original Range Rover. Relatively speaking, cargo area is on the small side, but the Rover's towing capacity is among the best.
Leather, real wood and aluminum set the stage, with upgrades available for all. Finishes and features parallel the Range Rover, while styling is more London loft than formal gentlemen's club. Four adults are comfortably accommodated. Plenty of gadgetry is available, including a surround-sound system that may leave you breathless, cameras all around, and the ability to get itself out of a parallel parking spot if you're worried about scuffing the paintwork.
Full air suspension keeps the Range Rover Sport well controlled, and a plethora of electronic chassis and driver aids let it devour a winding road at a brisk pace. Those same pieces allow a comfortable, confident ride off the pavement, with similar aids from on-board electronics to get through obstacles that will stop most challengers.
The V6 models have more power per pound than last year, and the 510-horsepower V8 generates prodigious thrust and an exhaust bark to go with it. For decades, Range Rovers were genteel keep-calm-and-carry-on vehicles. The all-new Range Rover Sport is the most driver-oriented Range Rover and the first to really deserve the Sport moniker.
Range Rover Sport gives another choice to luxury performance utility buyers, competing with BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Porsche Cayenne, perhaps even a well-optioned Volkswagen Touraeg or Infiniti FX50. Three-row shoppers pit Range Rover Sport against Audi's Q7, Mercedes' GL and the X5 option. The Sport won't quite run with the likes of X5 M, M63 AMG or Cayenne turbo but those cost more, and while the others offer a diesel or hybrid, stay tuned.
The 2014 Range Rover Sport comes in four trim levels: SE, HSE, Supercharged, Autobiography. All drive four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Range Rover Sport SE ($62,600) comes with a 340-hp supercharged V6, automatic stop/start, and all-wheel drive; four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case is available. Standards include grained leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, 14-way power front seats with individual, 60/40 split-fold rear seat, aluminum trim, cruise control, USB/iPod port with full iPod integration, 8-inch touchscreen, HDD voice-recognition navigation, 380-watt/8-speaker Meridian stereo, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, rear view camera, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated power-folding mirrors, bi-Xenon headlamps with washers, LED running and rear lights, rear fog lights, Terrain Response mode control, rain-sensing wipers, power tailgate and passive keyless entry/pushbutton start.
SE options include wheels up to 22-inch (up to $4200), premium paints ($1800) and contrasting roof colors ($650), alternate cabin woods and headliner ($350), 5+2 seating ($2750), climate comfort and visibility pack ($2100 with heated front & rear seats, steering wheel, windshield, adaptive headlamps, front fog lights, auto-dimming mirrors), vision and convenience pack ($2210 with surround cameras, park assist, soft-door close, blind-spot monitor and crossing vehicle detection), extra duty pack ($1300 with Terrain Response 2 auto, two-speed transfer-case, adaptive dynamics), Meridian premium audio ($1950), rear-seat entertainment ($2000), satellite and HD radio ($750), adaptive cruise control/collision mitigation braking ($1295), sliding panoramic sunroof ($1500) and a tow package.
Range Rover Sport HSE ($67,600) is often referred to as an SE with $5000 HSE option pack. It adds to SE with Oxford perforated leather in 7 additional colors, heated front seats, panoramic roof, front fog lights, HomeLink, 20-inch wheels, and zebrano, oak or aluminum trim. HSE options include 5+2 seating with ($3100) or without rear climate control, and all the options offered on SE.
Range Rover Sport Supercharged ($79,100) gets a 510-hp V8, Terrain Response 2 auto, two-speed transfer-case, torque vectoring differential, paddle shifters and minor cosmetic changes. Options for Supercharged include all the HSE choices, black lacquer cabin trim, the Meridian Signature audio system ($6300) with 3D surround sound, 1700 watts, 23 speakers, and a Dynamic package ($2500) with 21-inch wheels, TFT instrument panel, more interior color options, red badge and brake calipers, speed limiter raised to 155 mph, gloss-black exterior trim.
Range Rover Sport Autobiography ($92,400) adds to a Supercharged with Dynamic pack seven two-tone and four three-tone cabin color schemes, no-charge for contrast roof finish, unique wheels and badging, additional leather, 16-way front seats with heating, cooling and winged headrests, heated rear seats, configurable cabin lighting and 19-speaker Meridian sound system. Autobiography extras include a climate comfort pack ($910) with heated/vented rear seats, four-zone climate control; 5+2 seating, park assist, soft door close, adaptive cruise, rear entertainment, Meridian Signature surround sound and tow package. 20-inch wheels are no-charge; 21- and or 22-inch are extra.
Safety features include front, front side and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, off-highway climbing and descent controls, and rearview camera. Adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation braking, adaptive headlights, front fog lights, surround camera system, park assist and blind spot monitor with cross traffic alert are available if not standard.