Luxury SUVs have become a staple of premium car makers' line-ups, with at least one from every major player, and each accounting for a healthy chunk of their manufacturers global profit margins.
These are cars in great demand, and rightly highly desired for their combination of versatility, comfort, refinement and performance both on- and off the road. Genuine 4x4 ability is common amongst them, as is the upmost in luxury, space and refinement. And amongst the many factors motivating buyers, stylish design and brand allure are becoming increasingly important. So who makes the best of 'em?
An increasing number of 'Range Rover'-branded derivates have turned what used to be one car into a family of Land Rover models, but the Range Rover Sport might be the most important car in that new family, as well as the most broadly talented and capable. It's one of the most versatile upmarket SUVs on the market, and lives up to the word 'luxury' like few others.
It's not quite as large or as spacious as its bigger sibling and isn't the lightest car of its kind, but the Range Rover Sport more than makes up for it with its remarkable breadth of talent. That one car can offer such a complete catalogue of abilities is remarkable, and among them is outstanding offroad ability, and real on-road handling dynamism and driver appeal for car of this size. First-rate cabin richness, refinement and luxury ambience also come as standard, with Land Rover’s latest dual-screen infotainment system having been fitted to the car as part of it’s mid-life facelift.
The car's roster of qualities is certainly one for which Land Rover charges a tidy premium, even over prices typical of this rarefied class. Meanwhile, the kerbweight necessary to provide the Range Rover Sport's offroad ability also dulls its performance and fuel-efficiency compared with rivals, while rolling refinement can be adversely affected if you choose the biggest of Land Rover’s optional alloy wheels.