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The Range Rover debuted in 1970 as more comfortable alternative to the no-frills Land Rover. Function remained the Range Rover's main concern, however, with style as a secondary thought. As time progressed, however, Land Rover began shifting toward the more luxurious while maintaining its rugged functionality.
A key step in this process was the smaller and more agile Range Rover Sport, which debuted as a 2006 model. The Range Rover Sport carries over for 2013 with the addition of a new towing package.
The Range Rover Sport comes in a pair of trim levels: HSE and Supercharged, each of which features its own powerful version of a 5-liter V8 engine. When naturally aspirated in the HSE, it punches out a respectable 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque; with a blower, the Supercharged cranks this up to a stout 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque.
Both models use a six-speed automatic transmission that delivers power to all four wheels via a two-speed transfer case. This driveline is the perfect fit for the Range Rover, as it not only launches the Supercharged model to 60 mph in just 5.2 ticks of the second hand, but it also allows a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. The Range Rover Sport is about as balanced as it comes in terms of performance and utility.
The Range Rover Sport is not a thing of perfection, however. A huge issue with it is the fact that the HSE model starts out just north of $60,000 and the Supercharged model crests the $75,000 mark. Land Rover is also in cahoots with Jaguar; they share technology with one another, and with this sharing of technology comes the sharing of some of the reliability issues that Jaguar has been fighting for the better part of a decade.
Another huge black eye is the fact that these beasts love to guzzle fuel when traveling on surface streets, as the HSE only gets 13 mpg city and the Supercharged ekes out only 12 mpg city.
The HSE comes with a slew of high-end features you won't find in many base-model SUVs: front and side acoustic glass; a rearview camera; xenon headlights with LED surrounds; a power tailgate; power and heated side-view mirrors; 19-inch alloy wheels; push-button start; ambient lighting; leather seating; a sunroof; eight-way power front seats with memory settings; hard-drive-based navigation; and a Harman/Kardon audio system with 380 watts, 11 speakers and AM/FM/CD/DVD capabilities.
The Supercharged adds: a supercharged V8 engine that pumps out 135 more horsepower than the HSE's V8; a bright-finish front grille; chrome exhaust exits; Brembo front brakes; a performance suspension system; 20-inch wheels; a center console cooler box; full-premium-leather upholstery; and heated seats and steering wheel.
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Powerful base V8, standard 20-inch wheels and well balanced, but extremity pricey, and only 12 mpg city
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