2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE Review
Coming up short in neither utility nor sport.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: January 19th, 2015
Up until the 2014 model year, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport had been a body-on-frame affair that was built wildly different than its bigger (and now unibody) brother, the Range Rover. Despite being a little long in the tooth of late, the Sport has remained Land Rover's best-selling vehicle since its release in 2005. Now, with an all-new version at our doorsteps, it's easy to remember exactly why it's Land Rover's hottest item. Not only has the Sport been given a wonderful makeover to match its stablemates, but it also retains everything about itself that made the old one so great.
If you've been in or around another late-model Land Rover product, the Range Rover Sport's interior should have you feeling right at home. The typical flat expanses of dashboard remain, with a small area for touchscreen controls around the edges of the infotainment display, continuing down to a few more flat planes worth of center console. The HVAC controls feel every part as high-rent as the big-boy Range Rover's, although for the Sport model, a more traditional shift knob replaces the fancy rotary unit.
As with other Land Rover products that aren't full-on Range Rovers, a good deal of the materials used in the cabin are soft to the touch, with just a bit of hard plastic around the bottoms of the door panels. Naturally, the seats are comfortable, with more points of adjustability than there are in your body (we are not doctors, do not quote us on that).
Thankfully, this is the last Land Rover product we're reviewing for the 2014 model year, because we've run out of ways to say, "It looks like the other Land Rover products, and by that, we mean it looks spectacular." It's all true, though; with a front end that comes from the Range Rover, a rear end that comes from the Evoque, and a side profile that's very reminiscent of the outgoing Sport, this is very much a case of doing it right and repeating that across an entire lineup. It looks executive, and it looks more hunkered down than its more hardcore siblings, but it's unmistakably Land Rover throughout.
On the Road
The engine in the Sport we tested is the car's new base-model engine, a 340-horsepower supercharged V-6. The supercharged V-8, with its furious 510-horsepower output, is still available, but the V-6 provides more than enough push to get through traffic (or to rocket through the triple-digit barrier, if you're capable of doing so within the color of the law). Thanks to a snappy ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic, you'll always be in the right gear when the time calls for it.
Between the Sport's luxurious appointments and its high, commanding driving position, it's hard not to feel like royalty behind the wheel. However, the stately seating position belies the Sport's handling prowess; this cat came not to nuzzle, but to fight. Even without the Dynamic mode found on the V-8 model, the V-6 Range Rover Sport will still carve corners like a sports car - albeit a sports car that's capable of fording a three-foot-deep river straight from the factory. Okay, maybe calling it a sports car is being a little too favorable; regardless, the diving, rolling, and pitching most commonly associated with utility vehicles of this size is minimized to an impressive degree.
While a large majority of the Range Rover Sport is new, the infotainment is decidedly not. It's one of a small collection of niggles that we can't overlook, especially in this day and age of whiz-bang infotainment - heck, even Hyundai has a 720p infotainment display now. Land Rover's seven-inch unit (stop laughing) feels outdated, and it's got the performance to match. That does a disservice to the optional Meridian premium audio system, which is handily one of the best systems we've ever tested.
Furthermore, while the EPA tells us that the Sport will achieve 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, we had a hard time believing it. Even when trying to ignore the Sport's resplendent rip-snort exhaust note in favor of frugal driving habits, it was difficult to hit the EPA's estimates.
People like to mock crossovers, saying that they possess some of the qualities of SUVs and some of the qualities of a passenger car, making sacrifices in both categories to appease the market. The Range Rover Sport, however, lets us know that we can have our cake and eat it, too. Of course, once you're dancing around the Sport's MSRP range, you'd damn well better be able to have it all.
Specs & Price
Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V-6
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, full-time 4WD
Power Output: 340 hp / 332 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 17 city / 23 highway
Base Price: $68,295
As Tested: $78,430 (incl. $925 destination)
Vision and Convenience Package: 360-degree camera system, soft door close, Land Rover InControl Remote and Protect
5+2 Seating Package: Spare tire delete, power third-row seats, split 60/40 folding second row
Tow Package (Standard Seating): NAS Receiver with electrics and armature, full size spare wheel
Tow Package (5+2 Seating): NAS Receiver with electrics and armature
Extra Duty Package: Two-speed transfer case, automatic terrain-response system
Front Climate Comfort and Visibility Package: 16-way heated and cooled power front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and windshield, front cooler box, adaptive headlights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, blind-spot monitor, split 60/40 folding rear seat
Luxury Climate Comfort and Visibility Package: Front Climate Comfort and Visibility Package, plus 16-way heated and cooled rear seats, four-zone climate control
Driver Assistance Package: Lane departure warning, perpendicular and parallel parking assist, parking sensors
Meridian Premium Audio Enhancement Package: 825-Watt 19-speaker surround-sound premium audio system, Land Rover InControl Apps
Individual Options: Body colored roof, contrast color roof, fixed panoramic moonroof, sliding panoramic moonroof, rear seat entertainment, adaptive cruise control with queue assist and emergency braking, Land Rover InControl Remote and Protect, Land Rover InControl Apps
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport, click here: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport.