By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
For those with an active lifestyle - and those simply wanting to look as if they're active - there are few better choices than the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. With an attitude more recreational than its larger Range Rover sibling, and a profile sexier than the more upright (and less costly) LR4, the Range Rover Sport finds a nice middle ground between "sport" and "utility." In point of fact, it may be the poster boy for "sport utility." Despite weighing - with passengers - some three tons, the Sport's on-road dynamic effectively hides it. And despite its performance-biased rubber, it can climb huge, Moab-type rocks in a single bound. Its price tag continues to escalate, and the number of options (seemingly) continues to proliferate, but if you're looking for a big-buck, do-everything luxo-tourer, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport should be on your short list.
If you're looking for that one vehicle that can both row your boat and tow it, the Range Rover Sport constitutes one very attractive option. An aggressive on-road dynamic (in any season) and a credible off-road capability are packaged in elegant sheetmetal, while you and your passengers are wrapped and coddled by a world class interior. What's not to like?
Conscientious off-roaders prefer to "tread lightly," a global initiative to minimize the environmental impact of off-roading pursuits. Increasingly, on-road users want to do the same, and the Range Rover Sport makes that difficult with some three tons to propel and an EPA highway rating that is lower than in 2009. As such, most Land Rover products - to date - come closer to being tree muggers than huggers.
In 2010 the Range Rover Sport enjoyed a significant freshening, receiving two new 5.0-liter powerplants (normally aspirated and supercharged), along with styling updates reflective of the increased power. This year the changes are less substantive: The Extended Leather Package and contrast stitching on seats, center console and door panels are now standard on HSE Lux and Supercharged trims, a new Vision Assist Package is available, and both standard and optional audio systems have been upgraded.
Driving Impressions The Range Rover Sport's sophistication undoubtedly pays dividends in effectively disguising the Sport's sheer mass, but even with a rigid structure, supple suspension and composed ride you won't confuse the...Range Rover Sport with anyone's "sport" sedan. That said, the addition of the 5.0-liter V8 in 2010 provided a big boost, and its supercharged variant an even bigger boost. As Carroll Shelby once observed, the only substitute for cubic inches is cubic money. But the Sport's slightly smaller footprint relative to the full-boat Range Rover, and lower center of gravity relative to its LR4 stable mate, provides a cut-and-thrust capability the others lack. Going off-road, you'll simply be amazed by its capability - and alacrity - in the face of any dirt-specific challenge.
Terrain Response System
With the advent of Terrain Response Land Rover essentially rewrote the Bible of Offroading (New Testament). Suddenly, the SUV platform's capability was extended to virtually any off-road condition. In the mud it's a stud; in the sand it lends a hand. And if you encounter grass, gravel, snow or the big rock, it has you covered.
Taking a page from Porsche, the Range Rover catalog essentially allows you to tailor the Sport to your own specific set of preferences, especially with the color selection. Thirteen exterior color choices (three are new for '11) combine with ten interior choices. If that's not enough, opt for the Autobiography catalog, with its own distinct palette of colors and textures.
Designed - as the marketing types would put it - to "cosset and cocoon," passengers and driver benefit form a command seating position and (generally) unrestricted visibility. Immediately in front of the driver is command central, with clear, legible instrumentation, air conditioning controls conveniently located, and operation of Range Rover's seminal Terrain Response system within easy reach. And as proof that there will always be an England, the center-mounted clock is analog. The center console houses the hub - a full-color touch screen - for all audio, communication and navigation. And there are as many upholstery choices as Prince Charles has recorded conversations. It may be a big buck car, but (happily) the attention to detail fully reflects - or exceeds - the MSRP.Exterior
There's "little new under the sun," and in the rarefied world of off-roading that's generally true. However, the Range Rover Sport's design team did a bang-up job of combining Range Rover's design DNA with a sense of verve rarely seen this side of BMW's MSport or Mercedes-Benz's AMG. In short, the Sport's two-box profile far exceeds the sum of its parts, with a raked windshield and tapered roofline effectively concealing the Sport's significant mass. And whether for in-town adventures or outbound travel, the Sport's minimal overhangs, generous (and adjustable) ground clearance and expansive greenhouse are just the ticket for both driver and passengers. Finally, a two-piece rear liftgate allows a return to real tailgating - during an NFL lockout...
In its standard, only $60,000 spec the Range Rover Sport HSE is comprehensively equipped, boasting all of the performance, comfort and security features you might expect at that level of investment. The beauty - as we see it - of the standard, normally aspirated Sport is that all of the good stuff is engineered in - and not added on. Its 5.0-liter V8 is appropriately robust, the all-independent suspension is both supple and controlled, and the permanent 4WD with four-wheel electronic traction control and two-speed electronic transfer box works equally well in Kenya or Kansas. And if on the Back 40 in Kansas, the standard Terrain Response - click on grass - will ensure getting back to the barn in time for dinner. Safety is also comprehensively addressed, with the latest generation Bosch ABS, Electronic Brake Assist for extra braking in an emergency, Active Roll Mitigation to stabilize the vehicle, and a six airbag Supplemental Restraint System to protect you in the event of an actual accident.
Opt for the Range Rover Sport Supercharged and the (approximately) $15,000 surcharge nets you the most powerful (510 horsepower) Range Rover Sport ever created. Beyond the blower, the Sport Supercharged provides you with its own Titan grille and side vents, chrome tailpipes, Premium Perforated Leather seating (with contrast stitching) and 20-inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels. Also part of the Supercharged kit is Dynamic Response, which modified the Sport's suspension to enhance both comfort and control. Flagship of the fleet is the Autobiography, a vehicle Land Rover terms "the ultimate expression of sporting luxury and individual style." A host of options are available for interior personalization. In combination with the Sport's Exterior Design Pack you can pimp your ride from the comfort of your Land Rover showroom.
In this - and only this - the product team at Land Rover kept it simple. The introduction of the 5.0-liter V8 family was big news - and a huge improvement - in 2010. The normally aspirated 5.0 is almost as powerful as its predecessor's supercharged 4.4 - while the supercharged 5.0 moves the meter that much further. In the world of big buck SUVs, this is a double feature: King Kong and Godzilla. Of course, set in an era of rising gas prices and the (perceived) threat of scarcity, city EPA ratings of 13 (normally aspirated) and 12 (Supercharged) lead one to drive strategically on your tankful of premium unleaded. (And, if in Moab, carry a spare can of gas.) Diesel, anyone?
375 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
375 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18
5.0-liter V8 Supercharged
510 horsepower @ 6000-6500 rpm
461 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500-5500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17
By brooks340 (Canada) on Thursday, April 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great styling, very comfortable to drive."
Cons: "Poor quality, low reliability."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I've had this vehicle now for 7 months. Great styling, very comfortable to drive. It has been back to the dealership 5 times with a list of defects. Replaced the water pump, check engine light comes on frequently, replaced gas cap and seal, now rear hatch has started opening intermittently, even while driving. Would not recommend this vehicle to a friend and I'll be selling well before it comes off warranty."
19 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By Bob (VT) on Tuesday, April 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Mostly everything!"
Cons: "Screen sometimes overheats and shuts off for 5-10"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I got this car when I was 16 for my birthday, and Ive had this car for 2 years. It is very reliable, and fixing it is actually not expensive at all. To be honest, though, it is kinda a gas gussler at times. If you can pay for gas and the price, its a great first car for someone that carries alot of people with them. I love the auxiliary port for my phone, too. The navigation is great, and the soundsystem is wonderful!!!"
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Bobbyboise (ID) on Tuesday, April 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,320overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, quiet, tons of useful features"
Cons: "Repairs can be costly, plan ahead"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We considered a wide range of luxury vehicles when we purchased the Sport. Nothing else came close in ride and comfort. It's the ideal car for long road trips, and the gas mileage isn't as bad as we expected. We have regularly achieved 21 MPG in freeway driving through the mountains of Idaho, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming averaging 75 to 80 MPH. For a big SUV the luggage area is a tad cramped, surprisingly . It's not so bad for us since there is just two of us and we can use the back seat. It is a pleasure to ride and drive. The seating positions are comfortable and help reduce road fatigue. We have spent 14 hour days in the car between the two of us and have been floored by how far we can get at highway speeds. We did have to replace the air suspension in 2012. But we expected that and we purchased an extended warranty with no deductible which has really paid off with that and a new radio unit. We really can't imagine traveling in any other car now due to the comfort and refinement we love in the Sport, which looks better than any other of Land Rover's products. We love this SUV!"
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Larry (CA) on Thursday, December 27, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Trading in my '04 GMC Yukon, I was worried about sacrificing space, leg room and engine capability. I quickly overcame that after driving the 2013 RR Sport. I'm a tall guy and I have plenty of room for both my legs and head. The features inside are fantastic and work well. Comfortable seats. Super soft sterring wheel. Adequate NAV system and Radio features. Bluetooth was easy to pair to my iPhone 5. What sold me was the way it drove and handled. The motor is strong and has the power you need when you need it. Looking forward to taking this off-road."
13 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By moses (NC) on Saturday, August 18, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "acceleration, handling"
Cons: "no voice command for this year model."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"the vehicle handles well..like the new features...like it much better than the '08...the iphone/ipod integration is very user friendly, the gas mileage actually exceeds the advertised mileage..."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By eduwad (FL) on Friday, August 10, 2012
I own this caroverall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Amazing design, great drive, best looks..."
Cons: "Poor quality of the car and of service, it breaks!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased this Range Sport HSE, although I was told that Land Rovers had Quality Issues. The car is so beautifull and drives so well that I could not resist it! What a Mistake! I keep having quality issues on: the bearings, the dashboard clock, the parking brake, now it's the steering.... What next??? It is a shame, since the car is great, but I am terribly sorry for my purchase decision."
39 people out of 42 found this review helpful