From £48,925
Not very sporty, but sorted.

Our Verdict

Range Rover Sport

Charming and likeable luxury SUV offers polished Land Rover handling for a price

  • First Drive

    Range Rover Sport 3.0 SDV6 HSE

    The tweaked 2012 model-year Range Rover Sport is more powerful, more economical and a glorious way to cover long distances effortlessly
  • First Drive

    Land Rover Range_e

    The addition of electric drive appears to remove nothing from the Land Rover experience
19 April 2005

Although we’ve spent considerable time in the supercharged Range Rover Sport, this is our first drive of the naturally aspirated car. Using a long-stroke version of Jaguar’s V8 – enlarged to 4.4 litres – it produces 295bhp and 313lb ft and has a revised lubrication system to keep the oil flowing when the car is at extreme angles off-road.

Sport is a much overused word these days, but Land Rover is keen to promote the car’s ability as a sports tourer. It’s not that fast – progress is leisurely, but rarely embarrassing. This is a particularly smooth engine, whose voice fades to almost nothing on part throttle yet woofles authoritatively under acceleration, like the original Range Rover. Such a character is a good fit for this car, because it’s effortless and relaxing to drive, quiet and comfortable at speed with good all-round vision.

Drive in a more sporting manner and it responds well unless you’re really pressing on, with light, accurate and consistent steering that helps shrink the car around you. On the smooth roads of our test route it rode well, with smaller rims and softer suspension than the supercharged car.

Part of the multi-talented appeal is the Sport’s ability off road. A morning spent fording rivers, climbing rocky passes and dangling wheels in thin air over impossible-looking rock crawls reinforced that no one takes off-roading as seriously as Land Rover.

The German competition might offer a sharper drive, but the Range Rover Sport has a different – and very British – character: that of the good all-rounder.

Adam Towler

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Seat Leon ST Cupra 2.0 TSI 4Drive 300PS DSG
    First Drive
    28 April 2017
    Seat's fastest Leon ST is fun to drive quickly and has enough space for all the family, but VW's own Golf R Estate is even better to drive
  • Porsche 911 GT3 manual 2017 review
    First Drive
    28 April 2017
    The new 911 GT3 is an excellent machine; does the addition of a manual gearbox make it even better?
  • Skoda Karoq
    First Drive
    28 April 2017
    The Yeti has morphed into the Karoq for its second generation, and this early drive reveals a solid, practical small SUV that could challenge the class best
  • Opel Ampera-e
    First Drive
    27 April 2017
    Opel's second-generation Ampera is smaller than the first, and now purely electric. It's also very capable with a remarkable range
  • Lotus Elise Sprint
    First Drive
    27 April 2017
    The latest incarnation of the Elise may be out of its depth on track, but on the public road it is probably the purest version since the original