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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
the Supercharged model is impressively strong
this vehicle glides down the highway and is barely rattled by anything the back roads can dish out
The shocking thing...is how amazingly well it stops
Car and Driver
this luxury vehicle take[s] off like a Spitfire -- if not faster
The Range Rover Sport delivers its impressive performance in two models: the Range Rover Sport HSE and the Range Rover Sport Supercharged. With new 5.0-liter engines for 2010 replacing the previous 4.4- and 4.2-liter naturally aspirated and supercharged units, power is up to 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque for the HSE and a massive 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque for the Supercharged. That's enough to get the big SUVs up to 60 mph in a hurry: 7.2 seconds for the HSE and a sports car-like 5.9 for the Supercharged model.
Car and Driver says the Supercharged's "new engine delivers a serious shove," and notes that the naturally aspirated HSE's engine now "seems to have an appropriate amount of power, rather than feeling hopelessly overweight." Beyond the raw acceleration delivered by the new engines, Cars.com praises the "stable, confident highway ride." This ride is only enhanced in the Supercharged model thanks to the addition of the Dynamic mode to the Terrain Response System, as Motor Trend notes: "makes the throttle and shift programming more aggressive while tightening control" of the SUV's suspension.
Despite weighing more than 5,500 pounds, the Range Rover Sport delivers impressive handling, though the hefty curb weight does mean fuel economy is poor, with the HSE rated at 13/18 mpg city and highway, and the Supercharged rated at 12/17 mpg. Curvy-road performance is where the Range Rover Sport line shines, hustling the bends well enough to resemble a sports car, except for its ever-present weight. Off-road, that weight isn't much of a penalty, and even the street-focused stock tires are unable to restrain the Land Rover engineering, advanced differentials, traction control and hill descent algorithms. AutoWeek sums it up, calling the Range Rover Sport "very impressive for a 5,600-pounder with these kinds of off-road underpinnings." Big disc brakes help both models handle all that power, while an updated and retuned Dynamic program takes advantage of the upgraded suspension elements and chassis stiffness also introduced this year. Car and Driver remarks, "the shocking thing about the Range Rover Sport is how amazingly well it stops."
Editors at TheCarConnection.com have driven the 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport both on- and off-road. The full-time four-wheel-drive system adds an extra punch of acceleration on the pavement, and performs sure-footedly on gravel, mud, and snowy winter roads alike. Speaking of off-roading, Automobile reviewers are "quite impressed by its capabilities in the mud," and that the 2010 Range Rover Sport is "willing and able to tackle far tougher terrain than its owner is likely to attempt."
While the mechanical complexity of all the differentials, traction and terrain control systems, and advanced off-road features can be overwhelming, it need not be understood to be used properly. All of the various modes and controls can take some getting used to, but even with the extra mode added to the Supercharged, all one really needs to do is select the terrain in the center console and point it forward. The Range Rover Sport will do the rest.
The revised six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and can be shifted from the center console-mounted gear selector in the HSE, as well as from steering wheel-mounted paddles in the Supercharged.
The 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport's upgraded powertrain delivers impressive performance on-road and off, but be prepared for below-average fuel economy.