There is something about the Range Rover Sport that it looks just right. It isn’t too compact and chic like the Evoque or too big and stately as the full size Range Rover. The glass area to body ratio is better than the swanky Velar which looks like it has a very high waistline because of the small sloping silhouette. The proportions are spot on. Ever since this second generation Sport came out, it has been my favourite in the entire Range Rover range and it still is, despite the slightly stiff ride and tight rear seat. There was a facelift in 2018 and it’s been some time since I have been behind the wheel of a Sport. So while I was in Mumbai, I rang up the good folks at JLR to see if I could borrow one for a few days. And what better way to enjoy the city views than from the lofty driver seat of a Range Rover.
The facelift isn’t very radical but it brings it in line with the rest of the range. The elliptical and curved LED signature makes for sharper more chiselled look. There is a new grille, new bumpers front and rear and new tail lamps. And aren’t those optional Style 5085, 5-split spoke, 21 inch wheels in Diamond Turned finish – just delicious? They look the right size for the Range Rover Sport and gives it a thoroughly modern and elegant look.
The bigger changes are inside where you now get the new dual touch screen infotainment system that first came out in the Velar. The upper screen tilts electrically to avoid glare while the lower screen uses physical knobs and their functionality change depending on what is on the screen. For instance, the knob that controls the AC temp setting can be used to toggle between the terrain response options when that menu is chosen. Same goes for the steering mounted controls which take some getting used to. The gauges are digital, the switchgear all around the cabin has been improved and there is more tech everywhere. The rear seat isn’t the most spacious around, but you would still be comfortable here. The front seats are very well cushioned and offer great visibility all around. With the suspension raised, the commanding position is up there with the Mumbai bus drivers. You can see over most cars and that gives so much confidence in the city.
Powering this one is a 3.0 litre TDV6 with 258bhp and 600Nm. It feels responsive and refined within the city, but when you floor it, it takes off with a strong punch. Land Rover says it will do 0-100 in 7.7 seconds. The 8 speed ZF gearbox is very smooth and shifts seamlessly. What’s nice is that this V6 also sounds good when you accelerate. If you want more sound and speed, the Range Rover Sport also comes with a 4.4 litre V8 diesel and two petrols – a 3.0 litre V6 and 5.0 litre V8 – both supercharged of course.
The Range Rover Sport gets its name from a time when it was the sportier and slightly smaller offering to the big luxurious off-roader that is the Range Rover. You have to respect the size and weight this thing has before hurling it around, although Range Rover had tried to give it a dynamic edge. It is not a Porsche Cayenne or an SVR but it well still do respectable speeds without making you feel uncomfortable. The air suspension has been set up to give it more handling prowess than a pampering ride.
At Rs.1.23 Crore, this updated Range Rover Sport sits in a crowd of very capable SUVs from the Land Rover brand – all in the same price range. There is the Velar for the style conscious people which is more road based and sportier, and then there is the larger more versatile and rugged Discovery for the outdoorsy ones. The Sport gives the best of both worlds, by being good on and off the road. And with the update it is better than ever.