The Range Rover Sport fits between the Land Rover LR4 and the flagship Range Rover in the Land Rover lineup, bridging the gap from a price standpoint. The Sport is the shortest of the three, both in overall length and in height, and it's built on a shorter wheelbase. And it only seats five.
Range Rover Sport was substantially revised for the 2010 model year with fresh styling, a new 5.0-liter V8 and 6-speed automatic transmission, more luxurious interior, safety enhancements, additions to the Terrain Response system, and a new surround camera system designed to aid towing and driving off road.
The 2011 Range Rover Sport lineup gets a new GT Limited Edition model in Fuji white with special trim inside and out and added luxury features.
Compared with the big Range Rover, the Sport is seven inches shorter overall, on a wheelbase that's five inches shorter. It's a little narrower. And the roof is lower. Priced about $20,000 less, it's less luxurious inside and slightly less roomy. The Sport and Land Rover LR4 share platforms, drive systems, suspension, and powertrain. The Sport boasts more standard equipment, more upscale styling, and generally a more luxurious approach to the same mission: go anywhere, do anything, in any weather. The Sport rides on a 108-inch wheelbase, five inches shorter than that of the LR4. So it may seem neither here nor there.
But the Sport has been rolling in accolades. Most recently, it was a double winner at Mudfest, a long-running annual competition for SUVs, put on by the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Twenty-three Northwest automotive journalists voted it SUV of the Year, and also, in the sub-class, Luxury SUV of the Year. Meanwhile, the Land Rover LR4, the Range Rover Sport's fraternal twin, won Off-Road SUV of the Year.
It's powered by the same engine as the Range Rover and LR4, a compact new 32-valve V8 made by Jaguar that's gotten rave reviews after its first year. It makes 375 horsepower and 375 foot-pounds of torque, which we found to be plenty during our test drive of the Range Rover HSE.
The hotrod Range Rover Sport Supercharged model pumps out 510 horsepower and 461 foot-pounds of torque. It's the latest generation of Eaton supercharger, a twin vortex, with dual intercoolers.
All models use a smooth and quick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission that was new for 2010, with Normal, Sport and Manual modes. It has a two-speed transfer case that can be shifted on the fly, with a low range that will drive the vehicle through unimaginably rugged offroad conditions, using the magical Terrain Response system.
Contrasting stitching has been added to the leather upholstery in 2011, but the standard sound system on the HSE has been downgraded from a 480-watt, 14-speaker harman/kardon with 6 CD storage, to a 240-watt, 9-speaker harman/kardon single CD.
The Range Rover Sport competes in the crowded midsize luxury sport utility vehicle segment with the Acura MDX, Lexus RX 350, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Infiniti FX, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Toureg, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The 2011 Range Rover Sport comes in three models: Range Rover Sport HSE ($59,645), GT Limited Edition ($68,645), and Supercharged ($74,545). (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Range Rover Sport HSE comes with leather upholstery; dual-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter; GPS navigation system with touch screen, 240-watt 9-speaker harman/kardon AM/FM/CD/MP3/ audio system with iPod and USB; rain-sensing wipers; front and rear Park Distance Control, powers windows, locks, mirrors, seats, power sunroof, HomeLink garage door opener, footwell lights and puddle lights, folding rear 65/35 seat, 19-inch alloy wheels. Heated front seats are not standard. For wood trim, there's a choice of Walnut, Anigre ($350), or Black Laquer ($350). The Luxury Package ($4,700) adds features from the Supercharged, including adaptive front lighting, auto high-beam assist, center cooler box, and premium leather seats with electronically adjustable drivers seat side bolsters, and 20-inch wheels.
Options include an audio upgrade to the 480-watt harman/kardon system with 13 speakers ($1,650); satellite and HD digital radio ($750); and an electronic rear differential lock ($500). The Climate Comfort Package ($1,500) adds heated front and rear seats, windshield, washer jets and steering wheel. The rear seat entertainment system ($2,500) includes two wireless headphones and remote. Vision Assist ($1,200) includes five surround cameras, automatic high beam assist and Adaptive Front Lighting system.
The GT Limited Edition comes in Fuji white, and has unique bumpers, mesh on the side vents, 20-inch wheels, a liftgate spoiler, and quadrangle exhaust tips. Inside, there's Alcantara leather and Anigre wood trim, a climate comfort package, and premium sound system, the 480-watt 14-speaker harman/kardon.
The Supercharged adds the new generation Eaton supercharger that pumps up the horsepower of the Jaguar V8 to 510, with 461 foot-pounds of torque. It also adds Adaptive Dynamics (active suspension, or continuously variable shock tuning), paddle shifters, 20-inch alloy wheels, mesh grille and side vents, exhaust extensions, and its own leather.
The exclusive Autobiography Package ($11,000) includes a choice of Windsor leather interiors with contrast stitching, embossed headrests, wood inlays, flush-fitting bumpers, extended roof spoiler, body-colored lower side panels, special exhaust treatments, premium audio with digital radio, Vision Assist package with rearview mirror, AFS, AHBA, unique 20-inch alloy wheels, unique grille and side vents.
Safety equipment includes front, side and curtain air bags, ABS, Electronic Brake Assist for extra boost in an emergency stop, Active Roll Mitigation, Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability Control to help maintain directional control, Hill Descent Control for steep inclines, Gradient Release Control Terrain Response, Four-wheel Electronic Traction Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, pre-tensioning front safety belts, automatic protection sequence (in a crash, shuts of engine and fuel, unlocks doors, activates hazard and interior lights), LATCH child seat attachment.