Introduced for 2006 as an offshoot of the legendary full-size Range Rover, the midsize Sport retains the British brand’s long-standing reputation for off-road capabilities, accompanied by uncompromising luxury amenities. With the available supercharged V8, in particular, the Sport delivers phenomenal acceleration along with impressive handling on paved surfaces.
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2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Overview
What's New for 2016
A new HST Limited Edition joins the lineup for 2016, carrying a supercharged 3-liter V6 that generates 40 more horsepower than the regular six-cylinder engine. The HST features unique interior trim as well as exterior modifications. A new Hands-Free Gesture tailgate is available for 2016, as is Automatic Access Height. Also new this year is a 3-liter Td6 turbocharged diesel engine. A new InControl Remote & Protect app lets owners interact with the vehicle using a smartphone.
Choosing Your Range Rover Sport
Each Range Rover Sport has full-time four-wheel drive with hill descent control and hill start assist, plus a self-leveling air suspension. The Terrain Response system alters performance to suit various surface conditions.
Fuel economy is estimated at 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway with the standard 3-liter supercharged gasoline V6 engine, but a decidedly non-thrifty 14/19 mpg (city/highway) with the 5-liter V8. The new diesel V6 engine delivers 254 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, achieving a 25 mpg combined fuel economy estimate (22 mpg city/28 mpg highway). Each engine mates with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Newly available driver-assistance features include a Hands-Free Gesture tailgate and a tailgate camera washer. All-Terrain Progress Control, standard with the V8, acts like a low-speed cruise/crawl mode. Automatic Access Height lowers the air suspension when the vehicle is in Park, for easier entry/exit. A power-folding third row, available for most models, raises seating capacity to seven.
Six trim levels are offered, including the new HST Limited Edition:
All Range Rover Sports can get a Driver Assistance package with lane-departure warning, a self-parking system, and 360-degree parking sensors.
That's quite a choice of trims, and the price differential between them escalates as you move up the scale. Each V6 model fits into the midsize luxury SUV class. So does the Supercharged V8. Pick an exclusive Autobiography or SVR, though, and you're in a different universe.
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Review
The Range Rover Sport is like a 3/4-scale Range Rover: a little sleeker, a little shorter and a lot more maneuverable. It’s also the perfect offering for the younger, less traditional luxury SUV buyer.
Pricing and Equipment
The Range Rover Sport starts at $64,000 and has a grand total of six trims. Most are powered by six-cylinder engines, both diesel or gas. Then there is the V8 model and a lavishly equipped Autobiography model.
The entry level SE comes equipped with:
- Nineteen-inch wheels
- Sixteen-way power-adjustable front seats
- Terrain Response System
- Gradient Acceleration Control
We tested a mid-range HSE with a supercharged 3-liter V6. It came with a Driver Assistance package ($2,900) that included a head-up display, lane departure warning and a useful parking assist.
No one will mistake the 340-horsepower six-cylinder for the optional 510-horsepower V8, but we were pleasantly surprised by its performance.
- The ZF eight-speed automatic transmission shifts beautifully, and offer manual functionality with paddle shifters.
- The air suspension, torque vectoring, and adaptive dynamics combine to give unparalleled handling and control.
It is almost impossible to find performance cons in a vehicle like the Range Rover Sport. If anything, the steering could give a little more feedback.
- The cabin feels sleek and high tech with very few dials and switches. Most of the vehicle’s command and control functionality is smartly located in the touch screen system.
- We love nearly every inch of an interior that's awash in wood trim or leather.
- To our surprise, it handles off-road as well as the flagship Range Rover model.
- The beautiful instrument panel makes the touchscreen readout next to it look a bit dated by comparison. But this is nothing a firmware can't fix.
- As with many SUVs, the "+2" seating is suitable only for kids.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
We were left speechless by the sheer performance of the Sport. The combination of raw power and athletic handling is stunning.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The jump in price from base models to the top-spec Autobiography model is staggering, but the Autobiography is incredible.
The Bottom Line
From a performance standpoint, the Range Rover Sport is a masterpiece. You just don’t find this level of pure power and refined handling in an ordinary vehicle, SUV or not. We were equally pleased with the stately, serene cabin. It feels every bit as well-appointed as any Land Rover we’ve ever been in. If we had just one wish for this test model it would be that we could’ve kept it for a bit longer.