The Range Rover sport from Land Rover (a subsidiary of Tata) is a high-performance luxury ute made in the United Kingdom. In production since 2005, the Range Rover Sport has long been hailed as the ultimate mid-size ute. The chassis of the vehicle is based on the Land Rover Discovery 3, combined with a separate body-on-frame chassis that makes the car ideal for off-roading. Despite building off of the Discovery 3’s design, the Range Rover Sport is a smaller car in almost every way. The ute was named Australia Magazine’s 4x4 of the year in 2008.
The Sport is at the top-of-the-class in nearly every aspect. Its distinctive styling is evocative of the classic Range Rover brand while maintaining a contemporary look. The many varieties of engines available in the Sport (made by either Jaguar or Ford) all offer impressive power and high torque. The suspension on the vehicle is surprisingly similar to the Porsche 911, and the Sport is well known for its extraordinary handling and terrain abilities.
The proprietary Terrain Response system (standard on all Sport models) allows the driver to adjust the car to better react to the various terrains encountered. There are six options for terrain response that can be activated via a knob on the centre console. These include general driving, mud and ruts, sand, gravel, rock crawl, and grass. An in-dash display shows the driver the off-road conditions and important information such as which wheels do or do not have contact with the ground. This unique system can only be found in Land Rovers, and makes this the perfect ute for the tough Aussie terrain.
Another unique system found on the Land Rover Range Rover Sport is the Dynamic Response system that activates anti-sway bars in order to enhance performance and handling. Fast downshifts and a smooth ride are also representative of the ultimate driving experience offered by the Range Rover Sport.
There have been a wide variety of engines available in various generations of the Land Rover Sport. The first version of the car (available from 2005 to 2009) was available with a 2.7-litre TDV6 CommandShift engine that boasted power of 140kW and 440Nm of torque. In addition, the car came in a petrol version that featured a 4.4-litre V8 CommandShift engine with an output of 220kW and 425Nm.
During those years, another version of the petrol engine was also available. This version was a 4.2-litre supercharged V-8 with 290kW and 550Nm of torque. Since 2011, the diesel 3.0-litre SDV6 engine (188kW and 600Nm) has been offered alongside the range-topping petrol engine, a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 that produces 375kW and a whopping 625Nm of torque.
Over the years, the Range Rover Sport has been offered in a variety of trims with increasing levels of luxury. However, even the most basic, entry-level Range Rover Sport offers a high-end kit that would rival most utes.
A speed-sensitive steering system adapted from Jaguar comes standard on all Range Rover Sport models, while Xenon headlights that move with the angle of steering help the drivers better see at night. Currently in Australia, there are five trims available: the SDV6, the SDV6 Luxury, the V8 Luxury, the V8 Supercharged, and the Autobiography. The kit on the entry-level trim includes leather seats, automatic climate, Xenon headlamps, and Terrain Response. The V8 Supercharged comes with Oxford leather seats, chrome tailpipes, 20-inch alloy wheels, and paddle-operated gearshift. The Autobiography allows buyers to customise their vehicles to their unique desired specifications.
There is strong competition in the Australian market for mid-sized luxury utes. Some competitors of the Land Rover Range Rover Sport include the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, and Mercedes Benz ML Class. The Audi’s 3.0-litre TSFI engine delivers 245 kW while its 4.2 TDI Quattro engine has an output of 250kW and an impressive 800Nm. The BMW X5 has a V-8 engine that delivers 408kW and 680Nm of torque, for comparison. Despite the heavy competition from other luxury brands, the Range Rover Sport continues to deliver impressive sales numbers in the Australian market.