Test drive review: Range Rover Sport, the luxury SUV that blends performance and elegance

Test drive review: Range Rover Sport, the luxury SUV that blends performance and elegance

A crore and a half. That’s how much money you have to part with if you want a shiny new 2018 Range Rover Sport HSE edition, which was launched in the country in June this year. While the range starts at Rs 99.48 lakh for the 3-litre Diesel S variant, the 3-litre SE and 4.4-litre HSE versions retail at Rs 1.14 crore and Rs 1.42 crore. The trim we tested was the 3-litre Diesel HSE model which retails at Rs 1.30 crore. Powering the SUV is a 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel which makes 255bhp and 600Nm of peak twist, enough to propel the 2-tonne SUV to 100kmph in 7.7 seconds and it will accelerate north of 200kmph. But all these numbers do not matter as the special treatment begins a lot earlier – even before you step foot in the SUV. The matrix LED headlamps and taillamps – found on the HSE variant that we had – light up gloriously in sequence as you unlock the car. Heck, even at a distance, the Range Rover Sport looks like something you wouldn’t want to mess with. The beautiful, angular lines all over the brute of a body give the Range Rover Sport a timeless elegance that very few cars or SUVs can boast of.

“It is not just about the way the Range Rover Sport looks, it will probably outlast everything else in your garage too”

The throne-like seats make you feel like nobility

The ambient interior lighting in a choice of hues just makes it fit for every occasion. The Windsor leather and metal wrapped cabin seems like an oasis, far away from the humdrum of our ordinary lives. The Touch Pro Duo works splendidly and coupled with the exceptional set of speakers that the Range Rover Sport comes with, it just makes every other infotainment system look obsolete. The throne-like 16-way powered seats make you feel like nobility with the umpteen permutations and combinations that are available to get your seat just right for you.

A lot of the tech from the bigger Rangie makes its way to the Sport

Range Rover’s mind boggling suite of off-road tech – that you will probably never use – is present too. All this and a lot more exists in the Range Rover Sport not because its owners are going to need it but merely because its owners love knowing that it is there. After all, who is going to take their RR Sport out of its urban habitats in south Mumbai or Delhi to follow a trail deep into the forest.

“You treat the Range Rover well and it rewards you with an experience pretty much nothing else can”

Land Rover spoils you with the plethora of options that it offers

You can add an activity key as an optional extra in case you want to park your Range Rover Sport by the beach and go swimming in the ocean. Ours came with a panoramic sunroof that on a starry night would be absolutely perfect to gaze at the sky with. Damn shame that we had it smack bang in the middle of the monsoon. The Range Rover Sport line-up runs up all the way to Rs 2 crore. Add in all the options and you are talking a lot of dough. I fired up the V6 and a faint murmur coming from the bonnet told me that the SUV was awakened. Sitting high up as you are, the massiveness of the bonnet still managed to dominate my view out of the car. Even in city traffic, I kept a measured distance from everything else and so did everyone else from the Range Rover Sport. The Range Rover is not a difficult car to drive in traffic. Far from it, the lightness of the steering in traffic coupled with the intelligent gearbox make manoeuvring this beast of an SUV fairly easy. Just the way it looks however, commands respect from everyone else on the road and also from you.

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Two things that strike when you are in the Range Rover Sport

a) The Range Rover Sport and the stately grace with which it tackled everything that was thrown its way was something I had never experienced before. It was bliss.

b) The ride had an underlying firmness, thanks in no small part to the massive 21-inch rims, but didn’t let any sharpness from the bumps reach the cabin. The sportiness of the Range Rover Sport was evident the moment you hurled it into a corner.

“Apart from the speedo telling you that you are doing speeds you simply shouldn’t on an Indian expressway, there is very little in terms of NVH that will inform the co-passengers”

The Range Rover Sport effectively masks speed

Triple-digit speeds are achieved rather easily and the Sport continues merrily on towards two-hundred kilometres an hour. Apart from the speedo telling you that you are doing speeds you simply shouldn’t on an Indian expressway, there is very little in terms of NVH that will inform the co-passengers. So, I continued on my merry run till my editor shot a quick glance at the speedo and asked me to slow down. But this isn’t about the capability of the SUV. In fact, much like the off-road cred that the Rangies have, this is about the fact that the Range Rover Sport can be so much more than most automobiles without even trying.

Heart vs Head

Buying one is purely an emotional choice and no matter what the sales guy at the dealership will tell you, you have already made the choice in your head. All those facts about capability and performance, even off-roading, are just background noise. It is not just the Range Rover Sport that you are paying for. It’s the experience and the attention that comes with it. A Range Rover Sport announces to the world that you have made it. And when you think of it like that, one and a half suitcases of cash doesn’t seem like much. Does it?

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