A number of car companies lay claim to inventing the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), but many people overlook the Land Rover – or even the Range Rover as being the one to really start the trend way back in 1972-1973. I remember watching TV when the Range Rover was first shown to the world and how the press went cock-a-hoop over the stylish and luxury version of the Land Rover – a vehicle that changed very little since the time man discovered fire.
No one can dispute that the Range Rover defined and created the luxury version of what is now known as an SUV, and while many have tried to emulate the Range Rover – there is only one King of the Mountain when it comes to luxury and prowess that knows no bounds.
- Premium large SUV
- Unlike most SUV’s this can actually climb mountains and cross rivers, but I’d guess most owners won’t leave the pavement
- It’s available in 5-passenger and 7-passenger configurations
- Towing Capacity: 7, 716 lbs
- The fourth-generation Range Rover debuted in 2013 as the world’s first luxury SUV with aluminium unibody construction for significantly improved strength, agility and improved fuel efficiency
- The most luxurious Range Rover ever, the new-generation model still retains the true dual-purpose spirit of the original, combining impeccable British craftsmanship and serene on-road comfort with the brand’s renowned all-terrain capability
- With recent additions of ultra-luxury variants, the Range Rover retains its position as the world’s luxury SUV of choice
How Does It Look?
- To these eyes – I love the RR in one solid colour. I didn’t care for the version with the black roof and the blacked-out A,B,C & D pillars – didn’t do anything for me – or the black rims
- To just about everyone that took a second glance at it – beautiful
- My wife thought it had a bit too much ‘bling’
- The panorama moon roof was a big hit – letting plenty of light into the cabin
What’s It Like Inside?
- Driver’s position is almost perfect. Set the 16-way seat once, lock it in the memory and it’s good for the week
- Outstanding comfortable seats – front and rear
- Once you figure out all the nuances of the digital dash and it’s configurations it’s a very nice place to be
- The Heads-Up Display is missing – something that should be standard with any vehicle in this price category – no excuses.
- The very bottom of the dash is obscured because it looks like it’s tilted toward the ceiling – no matter how high I put the seat, I still couldn’t see the information that includes things like average speed/ fuel economy etc.
- The first thing my wife noticed upon trying to get in was there are no grab handles. Very odd considering the Range Rover is supposed to be taken off-road – where is one supposed to hold-on-for-dear-life as the driver trudges through fjords and over rocks? Anyone under 6 feet is going to struggle to get in unless the owner pops for the dealer-installed running boards/steps. Even lowering the suspension only helped a little.
So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?
- Very quick, no… EXTREMELY quick! Stomp on the go pedal to overtake a slow-moving speed bump and you’ve gone from 70 km/h to 150 km/h in the blink of an eye!
- Gas pedal feels very responsive and instantaneous, but when you first drive it, it has a very on-off feel to it when pulling away gently from traffic lights. After a few lights, you get used to it though.
- Steering input is very direct, but not the go-kart feel of a sports car. It’s perfectly weighted regardless of speed.
- Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission with Commandshift® – choice of using the centre shifter or paddle shifters – if you down-shift it holds the gear right up to redline. Too many vehicles up-shift thereby negating the usefulness of sport transmissions – no fear with the RR.
- Maximum speed is 250 kph…(225 with Dynamic Package and 5+2 seating)
- 0-100 km/h: 5.3 seconds / 0-60 mph 5.0 seconds
- Featuring Land Rover advanced air suspension and innovative dynamic chassis technologies, the Range Rover Sport uses aluminium unibody architecture to achieve a weight savings of approximately 360kg (800lbs.) over previous-generation model.
- The weight reduction transforms the vehicle’s dynamic performance, enabling it to blend agile handling with exceptional comfort and to offer a unique mix of sporting luxury and a dynamic, engaging driving experience.
Noteworthy Standard Features
There are 10 interior choices for colour combinations – most of them with Ivory/Beige running along the upper door and across the dashboard.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission with Commandshift®
Electric Parking Brake
Speed Proportional Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)
Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
Cornering Brake Control (CBC)
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
Electronic Traction Control (ETC)
Hill Descent Control (HDC®)
Four Corner Air Suspension (FCAS)
Reactive Grounding Response
Twin Speed Transfer Box (High/Low Range)
Terrain Response® 2 Auto
Command Driving Position
Intelligent Stop/Start System
Gradient Acceleration Control (GAC)
Gradient Release Control (GRC)
Five Inch TFT Instrument Cluster
Bluetooth® Phone Connection
Eight Inch Touch-Screen
Bluetooth® Audio Streaming
USB Socket in Cubby Box
Satellite Digital Audio Receiver System (SDARS) – Canada Only
Optional Equipment on the test vehicle:
For $650 you can order a different coloured roof from the rest of the vehicle – my question is: WHY is this even an option?
- Two Zone Climate control
- Paddle Shift
- Climate Control Memory Pre-Set to Drivers Last Temp
- Cruise Control
- Front Parking Aid with Forward Camera View
- Rear View Camera
- Passive Keyless Entry
- Rear Park Distance Sensors with Visual Display
- Satellite Digital Audio Receiver System (SDARS)
- Leather Heated Steering Wheel
- Front Centre Console Cooler Compartment
- 16 way Powered Seats with Memory
- Automatic High Beam Assist (AHBA)
- Climate Front and Heated Rear Seats
- Power Adjustable Steering Column
- Rain Sensing Windshield Wipers
- Heated Off Screen Wiper
- Heated Front & Rear Windshield
- Front Centre Console Cooler Compartment
What Does It Cost?
The Range Rover Sport, Autobiography comes equipped with a wonderful Supercharged V8 engine mated to an 8-Speed Automatic Transmission with Commandshift® and paddle-shifters that delivers 510hp @ 6-6,5000rpm and 461 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
Additional Options: Ebony Premium Headliner – $450 (can’t say I really noticed it); Climate Comfort Pkg – $1,000; Premium Audio System – $4,550; 22” Black Diamond Rims – $2,400; Full-size Spare – $250; Adaptive Cruise Control – $1,500; Stealth Pkg – $1,000; Soft Door Close – $600; Paddle Shift Noble Plated (looked just like regular ones to me) – $100; Park Assist – $1,200
Total: $119,715 (plus taxes)
- Fuel economy was much better than expected. I was bracing for 16-18 L/100 km
- For the entire week, I averaged 12.1 L/100 km. Highway driving at speeds of 130 km/h
- Fuel economy is rated at: City 16.6 L/100 km / Highway 12.3 L/100 km and Combined 14.7 L/100 km (Based on Canada’s new 5 cycle testing)
This is a one and only – there is no REAL competition!
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
- The sound of the Supercharged V8 is almost worth the price of admission
- The sheer power when you bury the throttle will flatten your eyeballs
- Too many nanny options that take responsibility away from the driver – not a fan of those. For example, the blind-spot warning system that didn’t work all week, or the reverse sensor that screamed out “danger” when in fact it was just a tree in the front yard
- For $120,000 why are Heads-Up Display (HUD) and Massage Seats still additional options?
- Took well over ½ hour for the vehicle to get to a reasonable temperature at -10C
- Bum-warmers & heated steering wheel only so-so – very disappointing
- Huge oversight by not having any grab bars inside for ingress/egress.
What’s The Verdict?
A wonderful off-road machine with the power of a supercar – one that will never be taken off-road any further than the local garden centre parking lot. It’s pricey but for those that have the money to spend over 6-figures on a vehicle – it doesn’t get any better than a Range Rover Sport!
Copyright © 2015 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Land Rover / Iain Shankland