Longer and much more space-efficient than the first-generation model, the Range Rover Sport is growing into its role in the Land Rover family. It's up 2.5 inches overall from last year's version--and at 191 inches long, with a 115.1-inch wheelbase, it's just a few inches shy of the last-generation Range Rover.
The Sport also sits about 2.2 inches lower at the roofline than the Range Rover, and about 100 pounds lighter comparably equipped, though its weight rides a little higher than the Range Rover's and its dash and center console are taller, too.
Those distinctions are important more for the way the Sport behaves than for the way it coddles passengers, but it's obvious right away that the Sport's much closer to the Range Rover's comfort levels this time around the estate. The front-seat space is virtually the same, with scads of head room, but the Sport's adjustable seat bolsters and more snug cushions suit its mission better. Heating is standard and ventilation is available where it's not included.
It's a little thing, but vital to us: the Sport might have the most comfortable door caps of any SUV. The padding's soft, and the height's about perfect for confessed one-hand cruisers.
The second-row seats on the Sport don't have the spread-out knee room of the Range Rover, and there's less bottom cushion, too. The seatbacks recline for great touring comfort, and heating/cooling control is on the features list, but the abbreviated cushions will leave taller passengers with knees riding high above the seat. There's an inch more knee room, though, so contact's only a remote possibility.
The rear seats split and fold down to extend the Sport's cargo floor, for finely finished storage space. If you'd like to store more kids back there, you're covered: the Sport has a new +2 seating option, in which a small pair of seats flips up from the cargo floor. It's described as occasional, and we haven't been able to wedge into one yet--but if you're a seven-passenger carpooler more than rarely, it's worth a look. (If you're more serious, the Land Rover LR4 has better third-row seats.)
With each revision of the Range Rover Sport, the impression of quality's grown deeper. The launch model's plasticky cabin was banished in a redo a few years ago; the completely new Sport's cabin is a subtle knockout, almost indistinguishable from the Range Rover's in its stripped-down appeal and its boutique use of aluminum, wood, and leather.