Friday, May 2, 2014


The 2014 Range Rover Sport ditches the LR3/LR4’s steel ladder frame for analuminum unibody like the one used for the new Range Rover. LR says this cuts about 800 pounds, but we’re dubious. The company made a similar weight-loss claim for the Range Rover, which proved to be optimistic by about 500 pounds on our scales. Still, the vehicle no longer feels like there’s a heavy metal band rocking on the roof. fly like eagle in to sunset.
The unibody makes the Sport even more at home on the road, with an isolated and controlled ride that obliterates head toss. A new suspension revised from the Range Rover’s muffles rough pavement down to a murmur, and here’s an example where electrically assisted steering helps improve the driving experience, sharpening response and filtering out noise. Handling? Yes, there’s quite a bit: With the active-roll-control system, an optional rear electronic locking differential, and a torque-vectoring unit on uplevel models, the Sport has shocking directional agility.

Two engines, both supercharged, define the model range: a 340-hp, 3.0-liter V-6, which starts at $63,495, and the $79,995 510-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. Both are mated to ZF’s eight-speed automatic. Gear engagement is polished, which is good, because the box does a lot of shuffling to make its improved EPA numbers (2 and 4 mpg combined for the V-8 and V-6 models, respectively). Power from the supercharged 3.0-liter is always available but leaves us longing for the relentless, effortless whompof the blown 5.0-liter. We expect a mid-four-second 0-to-60 time for that one.

Off-road stats are just as impressive. The Sport offers two all-wheel-drive systems, one with a Torsen center diff (V-6 only) and a more serious one with an electronic center diff and a two-speed transfer case. Standard are aggressive approach, departure, and break-over angles; at least 11 inches of ground clearance; crazy wheel articulation; and enough wading depth to ruin everyone’s afternoon at Six Flags.

Not all the innovation is down where people who like to be seen can’t see it. The interior is awash in leather and piano-black accents—the Sport looks as ritzy inside as the Range Rover. There is also a new power-split-folding third row of seats, which makes for what Land Rover charitably calls a “5+2” passenger configuration; don’t venture back there unless you’re a working gymnast. At least the rear seat puts the Sport among the few SUVs with a rear weight bias.

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