Autocar talks to Land Rover's design boss, Gerry McGovern, to discover why the Range Rover Sport is an essential model for his brand
26 March 2013

The all-new Range Rover Sport has been revealed at the New York motor show. Land Rover says its the most agile vehicle it has ever produced and one which will attract new customers to the brand.

Steve Cropley talks to Land Rover's design director, Gerry McGovern, to discuss the new Range Rover Sport.

What were the design priorities on this project?

“This was a new vehicle for a new era. We had to be careful not to dilute the Range Rover DNA, which is such a huge asset. We had to understand the audience’s needs and make the car more desirable. The words we use for this product are ‘dramatic’, ‘grounded’, ‘athletic’ and ‘powerful’. Every line and feature had to be there for a reason.”

The new Sport looks very different from the last. Why?

“We believe Range Rover Sport buyers are a bit younger and more receptive to change than buyers of the flagship. They’re happy to move on, so we’ve tried to make that possible. Besides, there were flaws in the old one that needed correcting.”

>> Range Rover Sport: first ride impressions

>> Range Rover Sport: full technical details

What things do you mean?

“The corners aren’t so block-like now. That’s a step forward. And the rear wheels are in the right place. They were wrong before, and the rear overhang drew attention to it. Getting the proportions right makes a big difference.”

Was it important to convey the extra efficiency of the model in your design?

“Not just efficiency, but sustainability. These are really important factors if SUVs are to fit into the future. This model is half a tonne lighter, and it’s made of aluminium, a very recyclable material. There wouldn’t have been a case for making it look heavy or cumbersome. We’ve tried to do the opposite.” 

How would you describe the different characters of the Sport and the flagship?

“The Range Rover has a majestic quality. You sit up high and waft along. In the Range Rover Sport, you’re cocooned in a more sporting environment. It’s luxurious, but a lot less formal.”

What are your hopes for the Range Rover Sport?

“Success, of course. I’m confident we can grow the customer base. And the world market for SUVs is predicted to be 22 million units by 2020 — about 10m more than now."

>> Range Rover Sport: first ride impressions

>> Range Rover Sport: full technical details

Click here for more New York motor show 2013 news.

Our Verdict

Range Rover Sport
The new Sport, from a keen driver’s point of view, might just be the best SUV in the world at the moment

The Range Rover Sport offers just the right dynamic twist on the well trodden SUV formula

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    27 November 2015
    We try the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol version of the Golf Bluemotion. If you're not doing mega miles, it's a better bet than the diesel
  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG A45
    First Drive
    27 November 2015
    Mercedes couldn't let the Audi RS3 get away with having more power than its AMG A45. As part of a wholesale A-Class facelift, it now has 376bhp and a host of other revisions
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?
  • First Drive
    24 November 2015
    Alpina’s D3 saloon and estate benefit from the latest BMW 3 Series updates. We've always loved it, but is it still as beguiling as ever in this latest form?