Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE Review

by Admin
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land rover range rover sport hse review

The Range Rover Sport arrived just as Britain's Parliament banned fox hunting. Call it fortuitous happenstance. At the precise moment Britain's shotgun-wielding aristocrats lost their main motivation for chasing each other over hill and dale, the Ford subsidiary came plying more on-road aggression. If these frustrated followers of British blood sports looked upon the new Landie Sport as an opportunity to blow off a little steam in less mucky surrounds, it's a goal they share with America's wealthier PTA MILFs. So, does the Sport have what it takes to get the blood pumping for aristocrats on both sides of the Pond?

The Land Rover Sport HSE looks like a top-shelf Range Rover with its hair slicked back. The Sport shares the exact same two-box profile with its big brother– complete with Rover's trademark 'floating' cantilevered roof. The more rakish Sport's canted greenhouse (both fore and aft) is the model's main distinguishing feature, and its only real attempt at a skosh of street cred. In the name of differentiation, Gaydon's designers replaced the Rangie's classy aluminum front-fender vent slat with a more traditional aperture, and substituted some overly ornate taillights in place of the bigger Rover's refined rounds. Details aside, the Sport remains the very picture of 21st-century shooting brakedom, albeit one rockin' a set of air suspenders.

Inside, there's plenty of timber and hides to remind urban hunter/gatherer types of pastoral pastimes, even when trundling about city centers. Equipped with Rover's must-have luxury package ($3k, my liege), silken cherry wood fillets grace the doors, dash and center console, lightening what would otherwise be a dour exercise in ebony. The main stack is capped with a touchscreen and carpeted in more buttonry than all the hunting jackets in Scarteen. There's a phone pad, switches for dual-zone HVAC supervision, seat heaters, parking distance control, navigation, and controls for the sublime harmon/kardon surround stereo. The list of electronic creature comforts is suitably comprehensive, but activating and tweaking any given feature remains as counter-intuitive as cricket, voice activation or no.

The SUV's omni-adjustable thrones sit a peg lower than Rover Senior, but they still provide a lofty perch from which to survey one's land holdings. As in the Rangie, elevated rear seat passengers are privy to magisterial views to port and starboard, but (available) headrest screens reiterate the Sport's urban marching orders. Out back, the lift gate opens to reveal plenty of room for vintage shotguns, Louis Vuitton shin pads, bondage gear, deceased quail, whatever. Just mind the electronic glass hatch latch, as the pull points are near-as-dammit the same.

The controls for the Sport's off-road prowess lie adjacent a small powered cooler (perfect for hunters' flasks of Glenfiddich, vials of deer piss, etc.), nestling underneath Ye Olde Screw-Type Armrests. Owners can manipulate their station in life via the air-suspension rocker switch, or muck about with the Terrain Response's Fisher Price-style controller, girding the beast for whatever topography lies ahead. If it's gravel, ice, precipitous inclines, mud– it's strictly press and play.

If the road ahead is paved, well, this beast may be Sport IN nature, but it's not Sport BY nature. In other words, despite strenuous assertions by Land Rover's marketing folk, the Sport's LR3-derived underpinnings do not a Nordschleif legend make. For starters, the Sport's 4.4-liter Jaguar-derived V8 develops just 300hp and 315 ft.-lbs. of torque. While that's not an inconsequential amount of oomph, it's hardly the kind of thrust capable of transforming a 5600-pound SUV into a bluff-faced rocket ship, even when equipped with a silken six-speed ZF tranny. Yes, Rover will sell you a Supercharged variant, but prices encroach on Daddy Rover and it still isn't intrinsically entertaining enough. More involvement courtesy a manual cogswapper or DSG-box would go a long way toward separating this Rover from the rest of the Range.

Turn a wheel in anger, and the Sport's steering is as vague as shoulder shrug (largely due to 19' M+S-rated Goodyears). Put your posse in the back, throw the Sport into a corner and you'll be rolling with the homies, big tyme. The [optional] active anti-sway bars would help matters, but it bears repeating: the Sport isn't as involving on road as it could be, or should be. At least the binders are up to snuff, hauling the Sport back from the brink without hesitation or complaint.

If the Land Rover Sport performed with more on-road élan, it would make an excellent case for itself as the city-bound sportsman and harried housewife's SUV of choice. But it is smaller and significantly pricier than its equally capable, luxurious and more practical under-skin twin, the LR3. It just goes to show: you can take the fox out of the woods, but you can't take the woods out of the fox.

[Range Rover provided the vehicle reviewed, insurance, taxes and a tank of gas.]


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  • JJ I have this same car and drive it every summer. Only difference is mine does not have the swing roof. Same interior, engine, etc. Found it in British Columbia about 15 years ago with 90,000 km and zero rust. I know it's not a popular member of the Mustang family, but I love it and lots of people stop to tell me their memories of the Mustang II.
  • Ajla "the state worked with BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen in 2020 to agree to a different playbook.""The automaker applied to join the group but was denied over what it said was retaliation"This seems like a pretty important part to the story that folks are ignoring.
  • Theflyersfan Some of my extended family have lived in Orange County/Anaheim area since WW2 ended. They were in Anaheim before Disney and when there were actually orange groves. When I lived out there, I battled up from Ventura County down there a few times a month for dinner and ballgames and it was always interesting to hear from the older members about what things were like out there before it all really blew up. And how starting in the 1950s, they could no longer see the mountains anywhere and the sky was frequently this sick brownish haze. And then starting in the late 1990s, when things really started to clean up, they said there were now more days when they could see the mountains again compared to not, and it was really only the Santa Ana winds that brought in the gunk from the Inland Empire into the basin. There's still a long way to go - during the pandemic, it was wild seeing videos of how clean the air got when so many people were working from home, but it shows that even with all of the heavy industry there, it can be done. I know everyone is all over the map when it comes to climate change and causes or if it's happening, but regardless of views on that, I think we can all agree that burning less gasoline and diesel helps everyone breathe a bit easier when we don't have as many smog alert days.
  • Fred It's always someone else's fault. Now where is my bonus?
  • Canam23 I moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and half the time the air was unbreathable. It is 100% better now thanks to the work of the AQMD. If you remember, when the first pollution controls were mandated in the 70's, Detroit said it was impossible to meet them. The Japanese just started working on the problem and just did it. All the tougher laws to mandate air pollution have resulted in not just cleaner air for our children, but also much more efficient engines in our vehicles. So Stellantis, I'm not buying it.