Range Rover Sport HSE
Range Rover Sport

We would not call the Range Rover Sport fast 0- 60 mph comes around in 8.6 seconds, with a quoted top speed of 130 mph but we would say that it is perfectly adequate - well capable of safe and predictable overtaking. From rest there can be a little delay before the turbochargers give you a bit of kick up the rear, this really only noticeable when you need to pull out in a bit of a hurry.

There is no doubting that you are driving a diesel but that is far from a bad thing the TDV8 delivers - 472lb-ft of torque @ just 2000 rpm, more than enough for the most demanding of off-road applications. There is even a sporty burble from the exhaust whilst accelerating, which all goes to confirm that this is the engine of choice.

On the motorway we achieved between 29 mpg and up to 34 mpg on clear sections at night, which we felt was quite impressive, having recently tested a Volvo XC90 D5 SE Sport (5 cylinder 2400 cc) which returned 32 mpg. Touring consumption dropped to around the 24 mpg mark, which again is not that bad and was similar to the lesser powered Volvo XC90.

All Range Rover Sport models have a ZF six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, which distributes power full-time to all four wheels and ensures smooth changes both and up and down the range. You can opt to manually change gear by knocking the gear lever over to the left and then knocking it up or back to change gear. There is also a sports mode which intelligently holds on to the gears for a little longer and when cornering delays up-shifts to ensure safe cornering.

The fully adaptive 'intelligent shift' transmission alters its settings depending on the driving style and conditions. Aggressive driving means up-shifting will be delayed, to allow for higher revs and more power. A more gentle driving style means up-shifts will be delivered sooner, allowing for a more relaxed driving experience. The 'intelligent shift' facility works in both normal and Sport modes.

Of course the Range Rover Sport has a twin-speed transfer box with both high (for normal conditions) and low (for off-road) ranges. The shift is electric and can be made on the move. It is unusual for a sporting SUV to offer this low-range facility, which enormously improves traction over difficult or steep terrain.

In summary the TDV8 engine is excellent and definitely our choice from the Range Rover Sport engine line up and the gearbox also has little to fault.

How It Drove - Ride and Handling

We tested the Range Rover Sport over 1500 miles on a wide range of roads from Devon to Northumbria and back. Ranging from Motorways, ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads to off-road tracks.

Generally you have to make some compromises when driving a four wheel drive, especially considering the higher centre of gravity when compared to a car. We were surprised by how well the Range Rover Sport handled, having recently tested a Volvo XC90 Sport, we were expecting the same compromises when it came to cornering. Sure there is body roll, but it is kept in check and we probably surprised a few drivers by being able keep up with them even through quite demanding ‘B’ roads.

Range Rover Sport News

This is a 15-year+ news article, from our Land Rover archive, which dates back to the year 2000.

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