Land Rover Range Rover Sport History
2014 Land Rover Range Rover SportEnlarge Photo
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The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a stylish, five-seat SUV built on the prestigious Range Rover model. It has been redesigned for the 2014 model year, and it's now lighter-weight due to its aluminum body. The Range Rover Sport competes with other sports-oriented luxury SUVs like the BMW X5 and X6, Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz M-Class.See our 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Sport review and our 2014 Range Rover Sport preview for pricing with options, specifications, and gas mileage ratings
The Range Rover Sport was conceived to appeal to buyers of less traditional utes--it shares the Range Rover tag, but its styling is considerably less constrained. The look is based on a concept, the Range Stormer, that came in two-door form to the 2004 Detroit auto show. In the process of becoming a "junior" Range Rover, the concept grew a pair of rear doors, but kept the performance intent that makes it a competitor for the likes of the BMW X5 and X6, and the Porsche Cayenne.
The Range Rover Sport first came to America as a 2006 model, slotted just beneath the tried and true Range Rover in the brand lineup, distinct from the LR3 and LR2 "family" Rovers. Outfitted with either a naturally-aspirated 4.4-liter V-8 engine (which had its roots at BMW, which sold Land Rover to Ford) or a supercharged 4.2-liter V-8 that was shared with the Jaguar XF and XJ for a time. Both versions offered a six-speed automatic transmission and a sophisticated off-road-worthy suspension with standard all-wheel drive. The "Terrain Response" system allowed drivers to select a four-wheel-drive mode based on conditions like snow, sand, or pavement, and tailored the Sport's traction and stability control to match. Elsewhere, the Sport brought touchscreen controls to the Land Rover tradition, with a big LCD screen incorporating navigation, climate and audio functions.
During the next three model years, the Range Rover Sport would change very little, as Ford sold the brand to Tata and as it was combined into a business unit with Jaguar. In 2010, however, Land Rover had completed work on an updated Range Rover Sport. The centerpiece to the new model: a 5.0-liter V-8, in standard or supercharged form. With the new powerplants, the Sport now offers either 375 horsepower or a stunning 510 hp, enough to hurtle the truck from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds. The automatic transmission received updates to handle the power, and the suspension's electronic controls were reprogrammed for quicker responses. Fuel economy is poor, at 12/17 mpg for the fastest Sport, but handling is as brilliant as many luxury sedans--the equal of BMW's fine-handling X6--and off-road capability is as strong as necessary in such an expensive, attractive vehicle. A new Dynamic mode brings new quickness to the steering and throttle, too.
With the mechanical upgrades have come a new interior, one a little more fitting to the Land Rover brand. There are finer plastics where necessary, and more leather and wood trim in all--giving the Sport ever more of the elusive Range Rover feel.
No crash tests have been performed on the Range Rover Sport, but its safety equipment includes its interlinked all-wheel-drive system, stability and traction control, hill descent control, and side curtain airbags.
The new Range Rover Sport arrives for the 2014 model year. The new Sport will share its architecture with the bigger Range Rover, which was new for 2013. Sharing its aluminum body shell with that larger SUV, the new Sport also achieves major weight loss with the resulting performance upgrade. In the Sport, a choice of V-8 engines will be supplemented with a supercharged V-6, the first in the vehicle ever.