Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan
A rather simple recipe; Take the sporty exterior of an Evoque, add the lavish interior of a Range Rover, garnish with an LR4 V-6 engine, and stick it all into a blender. The end result is a lean and muscular rover that takes the best from both worlds - the 2014 Range Rover Sport V-6.
We sat down to interrogate the new Range Rover Sport about its beefy price-tag, $73,990 to be exact, and inquired where it actually fits in the luxury SUV playground. For a better picture, it is $26,295 more than the Evoque, and $41,000 cheaper than the Range Rover flagship. In comparison, the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 both start at $60k, and on paper, suggest to be more affordable and fuel-efficient choices. Does the Sport justify its steep base price? Let's find out.
The 2014 Range Rover Sport comes with a choice of two engines, the first being a 340 hp 3.0L supercharged V-6 fitted to the SE and HSE trims, and the 510 hp 5.0L supercharged V-8 for the Supercharged and Autobiography trims. All trims are geared up with the buttery 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF.
While the old Range Rover Sport was based on the bulky Discovery platform, the 2014 model utilizes an all-aluminum body construction that makes it almost 400kg lighter than the 2014 Range Rover flagship. Certainly makes a difference on the road. It feels less like a T-90 tank and more of a dune buggy.
The steering is remarkably agile for its size. It feels like we are driving a car ten times smaller. The weight loss allows the Sport to be nimble through corners, sharp on the throttle, and leap through terrain like its got hover boots on. Yet, it suffers from hints of body roll even with its four-corner air suspension and active roll control.
Similar to Range Rovers in the past, the suspension settings can be adjusted to lower or raise the car. Unlike the LR4 that automatically normalizes the suspension height when above 50km/h, the Range Rover Sport will keep the raised/lowered settings at any speed. The safety engineers were probably afraid the boxy LR4 might tip over...
The Sport recently demonstrated its off-roading prowess by setting an impressive record in crossing the largest and most treacherous sand desert in the world, Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter. On a side note, not many Range Rover Sports will ever see sand, let alone harsh terrain, just saying.
After a week of driving the V-6, we simply fail to think of a reason to opt for the V-8 trim that costs $17,470 on top of the base SE model. The V-6 has enough explosive power to move mountains, and sounds great too. Delivery is smooth, the power-band is strong, and the fuel efficiency is spot-on.
Speaking of which, the fuel consumption of the new Sport is what really shines above other Land Rovers. While our 2014 Range Rover test drive had a Saturn V fuel rating of 18.2 L/100km, we managed a comfortable 13.9 L/100km with the Sport. This in part is due to its lightweight chassis, downsized engine, and Eco START/STOP functionality. Though it fails to snatch the top fuel economy podium when compared to the X5 and Cayenne, kudos for a huge improvement.
Similar to what was said in the Land Rover LR4 review, the main reason why many Canadians refrain from buying a Land/Range Rover is due to its gas-guzzling habits. To our advantage, the Sport has been on a diet and leaned up in all the right places - finally giving Canadians a sensible reason to purchase one of these celebrity symbols - hell even Gordon Ramsay drives one.
The Sport is also fitted with one of the largest fuel tanks in the industry - 105 litres. That is 20 litres more than both the 2014 BMW X5 and 2014 Porsche Cayenne. Makes for less refueling on long road trips.
The Sport has a new epidermis, donning a similar grille to the Evoque, and keeping the camera-lens headlights from the big Range Rover. It can easily be mistaken for an Evoque due to the sloping roofline and similar front fascia, and at times, even I have trouble spotting the differences. Note that if you stare long enough, the Sport's taillights start to impersonate a Ford Explorer's. The remnants of previous ownership by Ford? Maybe.
Stepping into the cabin of a Range Rover Sport might confuse you. It looks nearly identical to the $110k Range Rover. This is to our liking. Everything is just as lavish, with fragrant leather seats and a cooler box in the center console. Note that it is nearly double the size of the cooler found in the LR4 (see picture). This one can actually fit normal sized bottles.
The center stage sits around the slimmed down steering wheel that houses all the buttons in all the right places. All that is missing is a pair of paddle shifters, which can only be found on the Supercharged and Autobiography trims. You might also notice that the levitating gear shifter has been replaced by a sport shifter that is also found in the Jaguar F-type.
The one chink in the armour is the slanted dashboard. Even with long arms, the touch-screen can be difficult to reach when driving. The lack of hard buttons is not helping either - I can't even activate the heated seats with my gloves on.
An optional third row of seats is available to the Range Rover Sport for $2000, but be warned, these seats are too cramped for anyone to fit in but dwarves, I mean children. Even the Range Rover website states that the third row is designed "for use in short commutes". Don't expect much trunk room with the seats up either.
As the athletic brother of its bulky counterpart, the Sport is struggling to convince me of the $10k price premium above the its German competitors. The Sport's fuel economy, though an improvement, is still below par, and while a diesel engine is an option in the X5 and Cayenne, the Sport is left hanging without one in North America.
Don't get me wrong, I love what they have done to the new Range Rover Sport. It is appealing and most importantly, fast. It has come a long way from its drinking habits, and seems like a bargain when it sits next to the big daddy Range. I just have a hard time justifying dishing out a supplemental ten grand, when a Porsche Cayenne S with 60 more horsepower will cost around the same price, with an extra $3000 to spare.
But hey, as the media dictates, if it is good enough for James Bond, it is good enough for me, right?
型号 Model: 2014 Range Rover Sport V6 HSE
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $78,990
試車售價 Price as Tested: $86,840
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2924
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4851 / 2220 / 1781
引擎 Engine: 3.0L Supercharged V-6
最大馬力 Horsepower-HP: 340 / 6500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque-LB-FT: 332 / 3500-5000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed ZF automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Double wishbone
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multi-link
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Vented disc
循跡操控系统 ABS/Traction Control: Standard
油耗 Fuel Consumption (Combined)- L/100 km: 12.4 (our test vehicle -13.9)
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 275/45R21 ($1800 option)
Watch the Range Rover Sport conquer the Empty Quarter: