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Choosing on-road performance over hard-core off-road capability, the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is smaller, sleeker, and more defined than its larger brother, the Range Rover. It's still more capable than you'd expect when the pavement ends, but you'll pay for the paved-road handling with a rougher ride.
Though it's a thoroughly modern design, the Range Rover Sport's proportions, and many of its cues, recall the original, go-anywhere mountain goat that started the brand. Inside, the design is pure luxury, but with a utilitarian air. It's a mixture of opposites, and it works.
What also works is the drivetrain and suspension in this go-anywhere (and fit right in) machine. Almost as comfortable getting muddy as it is clipping an apex, the Range Rover Sport, particularly in Supercharged trim, delivers more than you'd expect from an SUV.
Though they don't hold a stellar reputation for building the most reliable of transportation, the Brits have figured many things out over the past several decades, and the Range Rover Sport is an exposition of this knowledge. Build quality, materials, and ease-of-use are all at the forefront, neatly packaged, and tidily contained.
Like most expensive, low-volume vehicles, the Range Rover Sport hasn't been crash tested by the NHTSA or IIHS. Despite this, buyers can feel secure in the fact that the Sport offers a wide array of standard safety gear and plenty of electronic extras and upgrades to enhance its active accident avoidance.
As with its safety features, the entertainment and luxury options on the Range Rover Sport are plentiful; HSE models come nicely equipped, while Supercharged models throw the book of technology at the options sheet. Most of the options available on the Supercharged can be had separately as upgrades to the HSE, as well, so you can build the truck you want.
With all of this performance and luxury, the Range Rover Sport is a heavy vehicle, and its fuel economy ratings reflect that, as well as its immense performance. Don't buy it if you're looking to minimize your carbon footprint. It's a bit below average even in its class, but it's not into single-digit mpg territory--unless you push it hard, and often.
- Lots of standard equipment
- Great seating position
- Powerful acceleration
- Surprisingly good handling
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- Somewhat harsh ride
- Fuel economy no better than roomier Range Rover
- Lack of cabin space
- Heavy, overweight feel