It has been a while since I have driven any Range Rover product and my first vehicle was the Range Rover Sport SDV8 HSE Dynamic. Not a bad reintroduction to the brand. The Range Rover Sport SDV8 HSE Dynamic in some ways is the ideal size, shape and balance of the Range Rover model range.
Range Rover Sport Exterior
For a large vehicle it cuts a svelte shape. One that belies its real 4WD capability. From its low fully integrated family front grill is slopes in a linear fashion through to the rear.
Its lines are subtle yet impressive. The large 21inch wheel tyre combination fills the muscular bulging wheel arches (there is even a full size spare). This is one fine looking beast.
Other exterior features of the HSE include:
- Matrix LED headlights,
- Automatic headlights,
- Daytime Running Lights (DRL),
- follow me home lighting,
- Centre high mounted stop light,
- Rear fog lights,
- headlight power wash,
- roof rack mounting provisions,
- heated rear window,
- acoustic laminated windscreen,
- rain sensing windscreen wipers and
- integrated exhaust.
The Dynamic pack adds the following features over the impressively featured HSE.
- Dynamic Response (Active Roll Control),
- Terrain Response® 2 Dynamic Program,
- Torque Vectoring,
- Top speed increase,
- Red brake callipers’,
- 21” 5 split-spoke ‘Style 507’ alloy wheels with Satin Grey Finish,
- Bright Sport Pedals and
- Illuminated treadplates.
Range Rover Sport Interior
Stepping inside the Range Rover Sport is like stepping into a lounge room. The front leather seats are extremely comfortable with adequate squab length and plush side bolsters for hips and shoulders.
They are multiply electronically adjustable so that even larger drivers such as myself can find a comfortable driving position. This is aided by the electronically adjustable leather thick steering wheel.
The steering wheel itself houses a number of controls, that once you get used to them increase user efficiency. The two stalks behind the wheel sit proud of the steering wheel spokes to allow good visibility without taking your eyes off the road.
There are paddle shift selectors, but as regular readers know I find these simply a waste. The 12 inch customisable instrument panel allows the driver to select the view that best suits them.
This optional heads up display presents key data such as speed, navigation and gear position on the windscreen so you never have to take your eyes off the road. It utilises lasers to avoid ‘washout’ and is configurable to your preferences
One thing I noticed was that while I had plenty of head and leg room, I felt a little constrained or cocooned, not sure which. For such a large car I felt that the front occupants could use a little more space. But remember I am considerably larger than the average bear.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, with clear rear view and large external side mirrors and the brilliant all round camera system displayed on the 10 inch screen in the centre stack.
Rear seat passengers are also treated to luxury. Again there isn’t as much room as you might expect but the individually tailored seats are sculptured to provide maximum comfort for two passengers.
There is the optional rear seat entertainment with screens in the front seat headrests. While there is plenty of head and shoulder room, the leg, knee room is a little restricted.
In contrast the boot space is quite large with a load tie down system along with the 60/40 split rear seats provides a flexible load area.
Range Rover Sport Features
The centre console and stack again puts occupant comfort at the forefront. The console bin not only provides a good arm rest but houses a two stage bin arrangement with the USB ports etc. Sitting next to the drivers hips is the transmission hub.
This houses the electronic controls for some features such as auto stop start, hill descent control etc, in addition to the controls for the brilliant 4WD system. Next to the transmission lever is a covered section for cups, out of the way.
The sloping centre stack allows easy access to the A/C controls and above that is the large 10 inch touchscreen. This houses the InControl Touch Pro’s next-generation hardware and software systems.
Designed to advance Range Rover Sport’s connectivity and entertainment to the highest level, this is a system that takes a little getting used to. It features a 10” Touchscreen, Touch Pro Navigation and a Range Rover Audio System. It also displays the surround car camera system as previously mentioned.
There are also little luxury touches throughout like the one touch anti trap electronic windows, illuminated visor vanity mirrors, 2 zone climate control air conditioning system, dual lockable glove boxes and grab handles everywhere.
Range Rover Sport Engine and Drivetrain
The SDV8 is certainly not the fastest Range Rover Sport but the best balanced in my view. It combines pretty good performance while not breaking the bank at the fuel pump. The SDV8 is powered by a 4.4L V8 Diesel that produces power of 250kW @ 3500rpm and torque of 740Nm @ 1750-2000rpm.
This is delivered to the wheels through a silky smooth 8 speed transmission and dual range 4WD Selective Terrain Response system.
The SDV8 will accelerate from 0-100kmh in 6.9 seconds and top out at 225kmh. This places it behind the other vehicles nominated in the category of Prestige Sports SUV but is certainly no slouch.
The benefit of the diesel, and trade-off for the outright performance of the supercharged petrol engine is that it will sip fuel at the miserly rate of 8.4L/100K.
Around town the difference is about half of what the petrol engine will realistically use. The power delivery has a slight but noticeable lag early on but then feels linear and almost unstoppable.
Let’s have a look at some of the dimensions and capabilities of the Range Rover Sport. The overall length is 4850mm with a wheelbase of 2923mm.
It has a peak height of 1780mm and width of 2073mm (with folded mirrors). The kerb weight of the SDV8 is 2398kg. So you can see that while it looks svelte, it certainly carries its bulk well, especially given how well it rides and handles.
The Sport has adaptive dynamics along with torque vectoring, both of which enhance the handling dynamics.
It is almost a given that buyers of the Range Rover Sport are buying the aspiration of adventure rather than the actual participation. However that doesn’t diminish its capabilities.
Make no mistake about it, the Range Rover Sport is an extremely capable off road vehicle. This is enhanced by the electronic air suspension.
Where to start? The wading depth is between 800 and 850mm (with air suspension). The vehicle in off road mode has an approach angle of 33 degrees, ramp over of 27.2 degrees and departure angle of 31 degrees. Ground clearance is an impressive 278mm.
The Range Rover dual range 4WD Selective Terrain Response system is amongst the best in the industry. It has been proven time and time again over the harshest of conditions around the globe. Then there is the suspension.
Nobody sorts their suspension to balance the demands of varying road and off road conditions like Range Rover. They are simply the best.
The major limiting factors in owners utilising all this capability are the low profile sport tyres, that would get messy very quickly, and the somewhat natural reluctance to take their near $200,000 car bush.
To further complement the capability the towing capacity is 3500kg, with a tow ball rating of 350kg and electronic towing stability aids. Realistically the torquey V8 diesel engine will tow without fuss.
Range Rover Sport Safety
As you would expect the Range Rover Sport is packed with all forms of driver assistance systems.
- Dynamic Stability Control (DSC),
- Low Traction Launch,
- Electronic Traction Control (ETC),
- Roll Stability Control (RSC),
- Cornering Brake Control (CBC),
- Hill Descent Control (HDC),
- Electric Parking Brake (EPB),
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD),
- Gradient Acceleration Control (GAC), and
- Gradient Release Control (GRC).
Additional driver assistance systems include: Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Cruise Control and Speed Limiter, Rear and Front Parking Aid and Rear view camera.
Safety features include: Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Emergency Brake Assist, Customer configurable autolock, Power operated child locks, Front airbags, with passenger seat occupant detector and seat belt pre-tensioners.
Range Rover Sport Summary
So we have a large 4WD SUV which has reasonable performance, but amongst the best 4WD capability in the segment. It will tow 3500kg with ease and cocoon its occupants in absolute luxury. Overall it’s pretty bloody good. It is expensive and has a very long and expensive options list but has a well-deserved reputation. Well worth a look I feel.
- Occupant luxury
- On/Off road capability
- No Apple/Android connectivity
- Acceleration lag occasionally
Model Range Rover Sport SDV8 HSE Dynamic
- Model Price $165,448 RDAP
- Engine 4 L SDV8 Turbo
- Drivetrain 8 Sp AT 4WD
- Power 250 kW @ 3500 rpm
- Torque 740 Nm @ 1750 rpm
- Safety S Star ANCAP
- CO2 219 g/km
- Economy actual 4 L/100 km ADR
- Servicing Fixed price plan
- Tow Rating Max 3500 kg
- Tow Ball Rating 350 kg
- Warranty 3 Yrs / 100,000 km 3 Yrs Roadside Assist
Overall Prestige Car Guide Rating 83/100
- Behind the Wheel 8
- Comfort 8
- Equipment 8
- Practicality 9
- Performance 8
- Ride & Handling 8
- Fit for Purpose 8
- Towing Ability 10
- Off Road Ability 10
- Value for Money 6