New Range Rover Sport 2022 review
Time in the car on home soil shows that Land Rover is on a roll. Following on from the full-size Range Rover, this more dynamic Sport is still superbly luxurious. It offers the kind of ride comfort, refinement, interior quality and technology you would expect from a car costing so much, but it balances this with a more engaging edge to its dynamic personality that sends the newcomer straight to the top of a toughly contested class.
Whether buyers actually plump for the Range Rover Sport for its extra dynamic edge, or the difference in style compared with the new full-fat Range Rover, this latest Sport redesign isn’t as radical as the one its bigger brother received. Instead, it’s more of a concentrated, focused evolution of the breed, with the brand’s ‘reductionism’ theme being successfully applied to the Sport’s still vast but hunkered-down body. In our opinion, at least.
It’s certainly a more luxurious look. Climb inside the beautifully trimmed interior, and the theme continues. Apart from the nasty plastic for the door-top speakers, the cabin is a mix of expensive-feeling materials and textures, while the driving position nicely balances the feeling of commanding vision and being ensconced in a world of privacy.
There’s plenty of technology, too, with a 13.1-inch central touchscreen that boasts glossy graphics and much faster responses than any of Land Rover’s last-generation infotainment systems. It’s joined by a 13.7-inch digital instrument panel, and there is the usual level of camera systems and off-road tech available to make progress that bit easier whether you’re in town or on the rough stuff.
Car group tests
Despite the Sport’s body not occupying quite the same footprint as the Range Rover on the road, there’s no denying its body is still vast – but the predictable benefit of this is plenty of room inside. Legroom is fantastic, and so is headroom despite this car’s sportier roofline and our test model’s full-length panoramic roof, which floods the interior with light.
The boot is sizeable, at 647 litres, but the biggest practicality benefit, unexpectedly, is the Range Rover Sport’s rear-wheel steering set-up. Given that this car is just under five metres long, with the rear wheels able to turn up to 7.3 degrees in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speed, manoeuvrability is incredible. The 10.95-metre turning circle is a lot smaller than some superminis, which just adds to this more dynamic Range Rover’s ease of use.
But it also boosts agility at low speed, where the Sport needs to distance itself from other models in the Range Rover line-up and deliver its unique selling point.
The car’s steering is light but pleasingly precise and direct, and teamed with just the right level of body roll to balance dynamic ability and comfort. The Range Rover Sport delivers great grip and plenty of confidence.
There are more dynamic SUVs on sale and a Porsche Cayenne Coupé feels more alert still, but given the Range Rover’s 2,390kg kerbweight, you’ll be surprised by just what it can deliver. It’s helped by our test car’s Stormer Handling pack, which groups together 48-volt active anti-roll control, the all-wheel steering, an electronically controlled active diff with torque vectoring and configurable dynamics programmes to add that extra edge of alertness needed to offset a vehicle this big and this heavy.
It’s a very well judged package, and that extends to comfort, too, because rivals such as the Cayenne can’t hold a candle to the way the Sport rides over bad surfaces, even on sizeable wheels.
Following its international launch on super-smooth Spanish tarmac, the big test is how it fares in the UK. And with the new Range Rover Sport, our initial impressions have been reinforced by spending time behind the wheel on British roads.
The air suspension delivers a beautiful balance between control and comfort, floating over rippled surfaces. Only really big ridges in the road cause an abrupt reaction from the suspension, but the car is never thrown off line or unsettled unduly.
Refinement is superb, with very little wind and road noise at speed; it’s a match for the ride, helped by our car’s D300 engine. This 296bhp 3.0-litre straight-six turbodiesel unit is the entry-level engine in the new Range Rover Sport line-up (a relative term given that our Dynamic SE model costs £83,325), but it serves up more-than-adequate performance and a pleasant, muscular-but-muted rumble when you put your foot down.
Sink it into the car’s deep-pile carpet from stationary and you will hit 62mph in6.6 seconds, but it’s how the fat 650Nm of torque that’s available from just 1,500rpm works in conjunction with the super-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox that makes progress so effortless.
It also means the Sport is a consummate motorway cruiser and easy around town; there really are very few situations where the car doesn’t feel at home.
The petrol station forecourt could be the only one, potentially. The diesel engine suits the car, undoubtedly, but politically, the pricier plug-in hybrid option might be better for some people, and it might also be cheaper if you’re a company-car user. Claimed efficiency for the D300 of 37.4mpg and CO2 emissions 198g/km are respectable, and while it allows for a range of up to 650 miles, it’ll cost you £150 to fill up the latest Range Rover Sport.
At least you get your money’s worth when it comes to equipment, as you’d hope given the car’s price. Dynamic SE trim features LED lights, two-zone climate control, a powered tailgate, all-round parking sensors and a 3D-surround camera set-up.
Other kit fitted as standard includes adaptive cruise control with plenty of safety and driver-assistance technology thrown in, plus wireless phone charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an online data link-up for connected services and over-the-air update capability.
|Model:||Range Rover Sport D300 Dynamic SE|
|Engine:||3.0-litre 6cyl turbodiesel|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|