By on October 29, 2015

2015 Land rover land rover sport hse front 34

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE

3.0-liter DOHC V-6, supercharged (340 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm; 332 lbs-ft @ 2,000 rpm)

8-speed automatic

17 city/22 highway/19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

18.2 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price: $64,275*

As Tested: $82,227*

* Prices include $925 destination charge.

My childhood was a bit different than most kids. My mother informed me that when I was 4 years old I didn’t know a cow from a sheep, but I knew the make and model of just about every car on the road.

For that, she was pissed at my father, who would read car magazines to me — not children’s books. It was his insistence to watch things like Camel Trophy and Formula 1 races, and not a soccer games, that has sculpted me into the car nut I am today.

And it was his influence and experience that led me to believe that a certain brand makes the best four-wheel drive, by far.

The current generation of the Range Rover Sport was introduced at the 2013 New York Auto Show, when James Bond himself (who is shorter in real life than I expected) drove one onto the stage. Like before, the front half of the Sport looks almost exactly like the big Range Rover, but behind the B-pillar, the roof and windows slope toward the ground, which I guess is what makes it sporty. Ironically, the smaller Range Rover Sport that is available with a set of small third-row jump seats, and not the big Rover.

2015 Land rover land rover sport hse rear 34

Like the big Range Rover, the Sport is available with three engines: a V-6 and V-8, all supercharged; and a new turbocharged diesel. This particular vehicle was equipped with the base 360 horsepower V-6, which never felt underpowered, but didn’t overwhelm, either. The 510-horsepower — or the new, tuned 550-horsepower — V-8 would have been bonkers in this vehicle.

All of Range Rover’s engines are mated to 8-speed automatic transmissions, which, WOT or coasting, always seem to be in the proper gear. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the V-6 Sport at 17/22 mpg in city/highway. Receiving approval from the EPA a day before the VW diesel fiasco broke out, the diesel versions of the two big Range Rovers went on sale last month for the first time on American soil and I can’t wait to drive them.

2015 Land rover land rover sport hse dash

When it was introduced, Land Rover rightfully made a big deal of the all-aluminum unibody. The Range Rover Sport drives more like a large sport sedan than an SUV, and unlike any Land Rover product before it. The ride is smooth and even the worst road imperfections are absorbed with a quiet thump. The vehicle pictured here had an optional set of 22-inch wheels wrapped in 275/40 Continental Crosscontact tires. These wheels simply felt too big and made me more nervous around potholes and on a dirt road than a capable off-roader should have – I’d stick with the stock wheel and tire size.

The body roll is minimal (disclaimer: years ago I almost rolled a 2001 Discovery on the Merritt Parkway) and its brakes feel solid and do a great job of bringing the 4,800-pound vehicle to a stop in an emergency.

Inside, the dash layout is almost identical to the big Range Rover, which is to say a modern-minimalist design that is both pleasing to the eye and functional.

But nothing is perfect; the infotainment system is slow and dated and there are only two cup-holders. There are no bottle holders in the door pockets, there is no sunglass holder and your phone is forced to live in the center console. In this model, the bottom of the center console was taken up by an electric cooler, which is nice on road trips, and can serve as storage otherwise.

2015 Land rover land rover sport hse exterior details

The front seats make up for those annoyances. Adjustable in 16 ways, they are somehow the right size for just about every butt, and padded in a way that forces the driver to keep a proper posture while providing the legendary Range Rover king-of-the-road sitting position. If there is something to complain about, it’s that the seats on the Sport, especially the headrests, are not as soft as on the big Rover. On this HSE model they were both cooled and ventilated, but the massage option wasn’t there. Boo hoo.

The rear seat is a three-passenger bench with a big center arm rest. There is a good amount of legroom, and three adults should comfortable. The seats fold flat and are split 40/20/40, allowing for two rear passengers and items such as skis. With the seats up, the cargo volume is 27.7 cubic feet, 4.4 cubic feet less than the big Rover.

While both Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have the same 115-inch wheelbase, the Sport is 5.6 inches shorter overall. The difference in overall height is 2 inches in favor of the big Range Rover. Those differences, along with the sloping roof of the Sport, add to a significant difference in functional capacity between the two vehicles.

2015 Land rover land rover sport hse interior details

While most Range Rovers are not used to their potential, it is worth noting that the Sport is more than just a pretty face.

The optional Extra Duty Package includes the “Terrain Response2” system, a two-speed transfer-case, active locking center and rear differentials, which works shockingly well and gives the Sport true off-road abilities, as I found out some time ago (read parts 1,2,3).

It is interesting that this package is optional; on one side few will ever utilize it, on another, it’s a Range Rover and it should come standard with a 2-speed transfer case. The capacity of the optional roof rack is 165 pounds and the car can ford more than 30 inches of water. The Range Rover Sport can tow up to 7,715 pounds, but the maximum tongue weight is limited to 551 pounds.

The 2015 Range Rover Sports starts at $63,350. The HSE variant seen here starts at $68,295. Front Climate Comfort & Visibility Package adds $2,530. Extra Duty Package, which includes the Terrain Response®2 system and a two-speed transfer-case, is $1,500. Tow package is $900, Meridian audio is $1,940, 22-inch wheels are an eye-watering $3,000, premium paint is $1,800, ebony headliner is $350. InControl App, Remote & Protect is $400, and a dealer installed protection package is $537. Add $100 for California Emissions (really?), $925 for transportation costs, and grand total comes to $82,227.

2015 Land rover land rover sport hse front side

The Range Rover Sport, like its bigger sibling, is not for everyone. It is expensive and it has somewhat of an undeserving reputation from enthusiasts who have never owned or driven one. Despite loving Land Rovers, my father, much like myself, never owned one, mostly due to their cost. While there are plenty of less expensive vehicles that can do everything that a Range Rover can, only the Range Rover makes many drivers feel special in a way that is difficult to verbalize, and really just needs to be experienced. Should an unexpected seven-figure income come my way, a Land Rover dealership will be the first place I go to.

2015 Land rover land rover sport hse rear side

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. This is his last review for this great website. Thank you, it’s been a pleasure. 

Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC provided the vehicle for the purpose of this review. 

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48 Comments on “2015 Range Rover Sport HSE Review – Thanks For The Memories...”

  • avatar

    It’s unfortunate that the new Land Rovers come with wheels that are nearly unusable off-road.

    You don’t need a seven-figure income; a late-model used car with moderate mileage can be had for a song and a somewhat thick maintenance budget.

    Also, a lot of businesses and aspirational shoppers lease these things.

    • 0 avatar

      I bought a 4Runner. Added a lift, proper all-terrain tires, and rock-sliders. :)

      • 0 avatar

        is your 4Runner the third gen that made a few appearances with Andrew Collins on Jalopnik at an offroad park in PA by any chance? Or am I way off?

        • 0 avatar

          Way off. I have a 2010, first year of 5th gen.
          SR5 with a third row seat. Picked it up from a first owner for a really good price. I was really shopping for a 2014 Limited with third row seat but couldn’t pass up on the deal.

          • 0 avatar

            Ah I see, I think I associated your name with something published on the “j site”

            I’m really jonesing to upgrade to a new 5th gen, but it’s just poor timing right now. I keep getting them as rentals and it is torture to enjoy them so much but not ponying up to buy one. I really like the interior refresh on the 2014+, along with the shorter bumpers and getting rid of the plastic rocker covers. Too bad the SR5s switched back to a rotary knob instead of the real-deal lever that the Trail thankfully retained. The mug on the refreshed trucks has at this point fully grown one me, never thought that would happen. The one thing I miss is having a center differential in the transfer case, that seems to be reserved for the Limiteds now, where in the past all 4th gens had multi-mode transfer cases with an option to run unlocked 4wd on pavement in mixed road conditions.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Here’s some interesting information regarding the use of sliders, bullbars and winches.

        The modern vehicle fitted with side airbags might not accept sliders due to the changes in a potential collision from the side. I do know here sliders must be engineered to suite a particular vehicle.

        Many modern full chassis vehiceles, like pickups now have the front horn of the chassis design to collapse, telescope back and under a vehicle. The added weight of a bull bar and winch can not only affect airbags in a frontal collision, but also cause significant damage to your 4×4.

        A guy at work has a Ford Ranger (T6) with a ARB steel bull bar and a winch. After considerable driving over corrugated roads in the out back his bonnet (hood) latch failed, smashing his windscreen (windshield) and damaging his roof, etc. His front wheel well inner guard (we call it inner guard) cracked nearly in half.

        The finding was the added weight of the winch and bar combined with the flexing of the chassis horn was transferring the load to the hood and inner guard.

        It is a know global Ranger issue and I do hope the new Ranger has this engineered out.

        So, in the near future when these more “modern” safe vehicles become more of a choice for off roading be careful what you fit.

        I was looking at slider for my BT50, but it a appears I will need what is called a protection side board and I’ll have to design my own high lift jacking points.

        • 0 avatar

          You’re absolutely right. That actually deserves its own article.

          @gtemnykh, if you can read this – the 4Runner 4WD shifter is faux. It’s electronic, there is no physical connection. It’s just looks/feel like an old-school shifter. It’s not a bad thing.

          • 0 avatar

            Hmm, I’ve read this claim elsewhere and it has been debated up and down on the 5th gen forum. The conclusion I came to was that it was infact a real mechanical lever. I mean, can you feel it go through a stiff detent and then mesh with gears?

            From that 5th gen debate:

            “The Limiteds have the VF4BM transfer case with Torsen differential that has an electric shift transfer with an ECU that controls it and a solid pass side front axle.

            The TE’S have the VF2A part time transfer case with a mechanical shifter and an electric actuator(ADD) that locks front axles.It’s manual shifter moves the forks that change the gears and a switch sends a signal to actuate an electric motor on the front axle that basically takes the place of manually locking in the hubs of many moons ago.

            The SR5’s as of 2013 have the VF2A with both the electric transfer shifter and the electric ADD front axle connector.”

            It would be impossible to make a “fake” shifter feel so real.

          • 0 avatar

            It is a real shifter with real forks. The TIS shows the forks on the 2010-2013 SR5 and all Trails.

    • 0 avatar

      You wouldn’t need a 7 figure income regardless, you can easily afford this on $150,000 a year, even less.

      • 0 avatar

        Absolutely. Let me rephrase that – I’d need an extra seven figure bonus to justify that expense to myself.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe if you’re living in your parents’ basement.

        Please explain how this car is affordable to someone making $150,000 a year. Certainly not in any major metropolitan area.

        • 0 avatar

          Agree @hachee. $150k is not even $100k after taxes, more like 90k. That’s before you pay your mortgage, provide food and utilities. It certainly doesn’t leave room for a car like this for any sane person.

          • 0 avatar

            I think if you live in one of the few states without income taxes and are married, its roughly 33% after 30Kish they will steal in total to 150K. Single above 90 the FIT jumps to 28% IIRC and then again at 189. But hey that’s the second plank of the Communist Manifesto for you.

    • 0 avatar

      Large wheels & tires are getting OUT OF CONTROL, as they ruin ride quality, add massive expense in terms of total cost of ownership given inevitable necessity of replacements down the road (go price out tires for 18″ to 20″ to 22″ wheels – INSANE), and do nothing positive for ride, handling or functional utility, only serving to enhance appearances.

      When I swap out my 18″ wheels and summer tires to my 17″ wheels and snow tires, I lose a little tracking precision, but gain a whole lot of sidewall (55 tall versus 45 tall), ride quality, quietness and overall comfort, which I’d rather have every day in exchange for maximum cornering capability, to be honest (where I’d have to be driving on a track to be able to take advantage of summer UHP tire capabilities anyways).

      For 95% of the population, softer compound, taller sidewall, yet smaller tires are going to be far more comfortable and quiet, yet dramatically less expensive to replace, on daily driver vehicles.

      Aesthetics (some would argue poorly thought out, extreme aesthetics) have made a mess of things, functionally & financially, in the wheels and tires department.

    • 0 avatar

      If you can buy this, you can buy the wheels of your choice after-market. I wouldn’t know, but maybe they sell them at the dealership?

  • avatar

    The Sport is a very nice car, but if you want the FULL Range Rover experience, you gotta pony up for the big boy Rangie.

    Also, given Land Rover’s reputation for electronic reliability, why put an electronic joystick shifter in it? Why not just go with a conventional one and say “Yup, at least THAT’S one thing that won’t break.”

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It’s a beautiful vehicle. But after watching some Valley Girl HG-TV real estate whatever host climb out of one with aftermarket chrome wheels & ribbon tires, I don’t know if I could pull the trigger even if I had the money.

    And if I don’t subconsciously see that when looking at one, I see Jeremy Clarkson opining about the inferiority of all things American. Bummer, but I could probably settle for a V8 GC Overland.

    • 0 avatar

      “Flip or Flop”. That woman’s voice is SO painful.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Ugghh…and her style. And her lifeless personality. When they tallied their profit on the house, behind those ridiculous mascara-encrusted lashes you could see her eyes light with satisfaction. The only personality she exhibited in the whole show. And this was after her husband did some staged toddler hissy-fit about some minor monetary setback on the project.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m pretty sure that’s every single episode. I can’t stand that show.

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t watch the show, nor care about flipping homes, and yes her voice is a bit annoying, BUT, Christina El Moussa is an absolutely gorgeous woman! Exactly my type! To each their own right?

            Ohh yea nice Range Rover.

          • 0 avatar

            That was on TV when I was at my parents house. I walked in the room, watched for two minutes, and said “Why are you watching this?”

            My mom didn’t know where the remote was.

  • avatar

    The Sport is for philistines who don’t know any better.
    Go big or go home.

    I have a P38 that is an unstoppable beast. And reliable to boot!

  • avatar

    “Ironically, the smaller Range Rover Sport that is available with a set of small third-row jump seats, and not the big Rover.”

    This caught my eye because the conversation about third row jump seats came up in another thread yesterday. Is it front or rear facing? Does it have shoulder belts and head rests? In your photograph of the rear; I don’t even see them; though that would be case with my Taurus wagon as well.

    I figured tightening safety regs forced third row jump seats out of existance.

    • 0 avatar

      Front-facing. Yes, all seatbelts and headrests, as per the DOT.
      The RRS pictured here was not equipped with the third row seats but I did see one at the New York Auto Show. They’re small, kid-only, really.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The only two cars I can think of that offer rear-facing jump seats these days are the Tesla Model S and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon (except, sadly, the AMG version).

  • avatar

    Has the quality and longevity of these things improved at all? At one point I could have owned any number of Range Rovers with electrical bothers for a song. Seems that everyone whom I knew who bought a Land Rover adored them when everything was working properly, which wasn’t often.

    • 0 avatar

      I think so. I know a handful of people with late-model Land Rovers, and none of them have had major issues with them… but, yes, like everyone else, I heard stories of dealership visits and tow trucks, and bills, and blah blah, my Landy is broken again. They just didn’t come from the people that I know who own them.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you. Years ago, I was very much smitten with the Discovery until a co-worker bought one. Bits literally fell off of the thing. Despite the better news, I’ll stick with my 2006 Subaru Forester 5 spd. So far it has taken me dirt roading as far into California’s deserts as I’d like to go.

  • avatar

    Whenever I read and watch reviews with Range Rovers offroad at a LR sponsored off road school/course, I can’t help but wonder how well all of the gizmos will continue to work if the vehicle is used in such circumstances on even a semi-regular basis, to say nothing of the useless wheel/tire combination. LR has perhaps the most well tuned off-road traction control system known to man, and this is their trump card IMO. But looking at Kamil’s link where you’re using the touch screen to engage “active” differential locks, man that just makes me feel queasy. Given their reputation, who’s to say you won’t be out in the wilderness doing some overlanding and your screen goes into some locked up reboot mode? Granted, the rear diff lock on my 4Runner is electronic, a solenoid inside of the axle housing is actuated with a button on the dash. But the touch screen stuff, especially on a Rover, adds another layer of potential failure points.

    I absolutely adore the classic J-gate transfer case lever that Toyota sticks on the current 4Runner trail. Grab the lever with the transmission in neutral, shift into high or low row range 4WD, and actually feel the gears mesh in place. Put truck in drive, away you go. Now, there is still a front differential disconnect solenoid (instead of manual hubs) that is automatically actuated, but again, it is still far simpler than anything LR is putting in their rigs.

    Having said all that, if money were no object I’d drive a leased full size Range Rover as my winter vehicle for long cross country drives. For serious offroading I’d have some sort of older, worked over rig.

    • 0 avatar

      Like I mentioned in comments above, I own a 4Runner, and I see where you’re coming from and I agree with your last paragraph.

      In terms of the LR magical gizmos, I swear they are magic. I never expected the big Range Rover on 20″ Mall-Terrain tires to go as good as it did in dirt and mud.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve seen plenty of guys use the LR3 Discoveries as hard core expedition trucks, but relatively speaking they are much simpler, their locking rear diffs are of the old school variety. Their bane is the air suspension taking a crap on them while on the trail, and that’s happened a fair amount. Reading about the new active diffs in the Range Rovers they sound a lot like Honda’s VTM-4 clutch pack based system. Very cool from a technical perspective but rather maintenance intensive (fancy special fluids at shorter intervals) and I can’t help but doubt the longevity of such things. In harsh environments, just stupid simple and crude instills the most confidence in me.

        • 0 avatar

          If you’re dead serious about off roading then viscous setups are hard pressed to beat good old Sprague clutches. They’re clanky, and all or nothing but they ‘most always work.I would still trust an old Baja bug or 4cyl Jeep to get me in and bring me back more than I’d trust anything from Land Rover.

          • 0 avatar

            I really want to get into offroading more seriously once I own my own house with adequate garage space and a tow vehicle. A bare bones YJ wrangler or Suzuki Samurai with some “lunchbox lockers” is what I’ve got in mind. Or even a later Geo Tracker with a slapped together lift and cheapo auto-lockers.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I love the full boat Range Rover, but I have to think that if I were ever in the position to stroke a $100k check for one, I would be 98% as happy and look 500% less like a c**t if I bought a half-as-much Cherokee Overland.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I’m guessing you don’t like “Flip or Flop” either.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      They are lovely cars, but I simply can’t imagine paying full-price for them. The $40K or so that you can now get a 2010 Range Rover for, OTOH, is far more palatable…especially if you can get it with a pre-DeMuro CarMax warranty. But you have to understand that a lot of the people who buy these Range Rovers, more so than many other luxury brands, truly do have disposable income out the wazoo, and have no issue paying such princely sums. And I can’t fault them for it, either…

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Oh, sure, I live in a wealthy area, I fully get that there are plenty of people who can write that check without a second thought. I’m just not one of them. And even if I had 7 figures, I’m not sure I could.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do prefer the Discovery over the Range Rover, especially off roading. The diesel is a Ford Lion V6, a nice engine.

    The removal of low range and the use of the low profile and wide tyres indicates that this Range Rover is targeting the richer CUV style person.

  • avatar

    @ 30- mile,

    Couldn’t quite swing the V-8 GC Overland, but I’m crazy happy with my
    V-6 GC Limited in Red/Tan.
    What a smooth tank it is.
    Built in the same Detroit plant since ’93, I believe.

  • avatar


    Thanks for the great writing, I’m going to miss reading your articles on here. You were the first automotive writer that I started to follow after getting interested in cars.

    Glad you got a 4Runner!

    Signed, guy with two 100 series.

  • avatar

    Test-drove an RRS equipped similarly to this one a couple of years ago. Loved pretty much everything about it.

    In fact, it’s the only test-drive I can remember where I got out of the vehicle saying “I GOTTA get me one of these!”

    Tried to get the wife to test-drive it when we were SUV-shopping earlier this year, but she wouldn’t even go to the dealership. Said it looked “too masculine” and she didn’t want to be a “Range Rover driver”. This from a woman who loves designer bling in almost any other form. Go figure.

    She loves her Q5 TDi, but I still get misty-eyed whenever we encounter an RRS. Sigh.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Yeah, there’s something particularly douchy about the RRS, especially in black or grey. It looks better in lighter colors, but not in Maytag white.

      The full RR and the LR4 manage to look like they aren’t about to cut you off. There’s just something off-putting about the RRS and/or the people who lease them.

      • 0 avatar

        I find the normal RR “douchier”, given that it’s $25K more expensive yet not really any nicer. The LR4 is in a different category altogether – not sure I really understand the appeal of that one.

        But that, as they say, is why they make 33 flavors…

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          It could be a local thing. Most of the RR Sports I see are fully blacked-out and driven aggressively. Most Range Rovers are in pastels, have very little tint, and are driven by trophy wives.

          The LR4 sells exclusively to people who smoke pipes. I’m thinking of taking-up the habit just so they will give me an extended test drive.

  • avatar

    Every other car in this price range you could probably afford to own with a moderate six figure income but given the repair bills I guess you really do need a seven figure income to own this.

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