2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Review
By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
What's New for 2012
Smaller (and less costly) than its Range Rover big brother, the Range Rover Sport SUV employs the same engine options. The Range Rover Sport focuses its intentions more on the road than the rough, but it can still handle the muck with aplomb thanks to its permanent 4-wheel drive and terrain management system. With last year's introduction of the compact Evoque, the Range Rover Sport becomes the middle sibling in the Range Rover lineup, but retains its status as an any-road, do-everything luxury hauler.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you crave a luxury SUV that can crawl down dirt roads by day and take you to the opera at night, it's hard to beat the Range Rover Sport. Attractive looks inside and out, brand heritage and a host of the latest technology rounds out the package.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you require an SUV that seats more than five, attains fuel economy better than 18 mpg or costs less than $60,000, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Still coming off a significant refresh for 2010, the 2012 Range Rover Sport's differences are mostly minor. New this year are a fine-tuned touch-screen navigation system with voice control, a sound system that's been upgraded to 380 watts and 14 speakers, a revised rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, power open and close liftgate, plus minor grille and headlight changes. Range Rover Sport is again offered with two engine choices and in four trim levels: the base HSE, HSE with Luxury Package, Supercharged, and the top-line Autobiography edition.
Driving the Range Rover Sport
One may not believe a vehicle that's this capable in the rough could be smooth on the road, but the same suspension that soaks up ruts makes the Range Rover...
Sport very compliant on the highway and around town. With the naturally aspirated V8, the Range Rover Sport is quick for an SUV, clocking a trip to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. With the supercharged variant, the Range Rover is double-quick, making the same trip in 5.9 seconds. Those times are even more impressive considering this vehicle weighs nearly three tons. Those who choose to put the 2012 Range Rover's off-road chops to the test won't be disappointed. You'll be amazed at this vehicle's capability and composure on just about any off-road surface, from grass to gravel, snow to sand. With the twist of a knob, the Range Rover's terrain response system can be set to take on any of these challenges. Supercharged models also have a Dynamic setting, which tailors the vehicle for on-road performance.
Terrain Response System
With the advent of its Terrain Response system, Land Rover essentially rewrote the Off-roader's Bible. Suddenly, the SUV'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 allows you to tailor your Sport to your own specific set of preferences, especially with the color selection. Thirteen exterior color choices combine with 10 interior choices. If that's not enough, opt for the Autobiography catalog, with its own distinct palette of colors and textures.
2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Details
As befitting a vehicle wearing the Range Rover name, the 2012 Sport's cabin is sumptuous. It is as far removed from those of old-time 4x4s as the Rover's electronic terrain management system is from hubs that had to be manually locked from outside. Leather and plush materials swaddle, and the driver's seat offers a commanding view. Though shorter than the Range Rover by more than half a foot in length, the Range Rover Sport actually provides more legroom for both front and rear occupants while sacrificing little in rear cargo space.
No surprise here: The 2012 Range Rover Sport still looks like a Range Rover, meaning big and boxy, yet still beautiful in its own way. Make that bold and beautiful, with tall sides, big windows and the smallest wheels being 19 inches. This is not a vehicle for those seeking anonymity.
There is little "base" about even a 2012 Range Rover Sport HSE. Leather interior is standard, with the driver's seat benefiting from electronic lumbar support and three memory position. Front parking aids front and back plus a rear-view camera help the driver while maneuvering. All Range Rover Sport models also come with 6-speed automatic transmission, push-button start/stop, ambient lighting, harman-kardon audio system, 4-corner air suspension, navigation system, and LCD instrument panels in front of the driver in place of traditional analog gauges. For those desiring to test the Range Rover Sport, the SUV boasts the ability to wade streams up to 39.4 inches deep. The vehicle's belt drives, alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump and starter motor are all waterproofed.
The biggest boost you can give your Range Rover Sport is under the hood in the form of a supercharger. That option costs over $15,000 and amounts to a total of 510 horsepower. Other ways to make this Range Rover your own include the Vision Assist Package that includes a surround-view camera, heated rear seats, active rear-locking differential, and a premium harman-kardon audio system that pumps 825 watts through 17 speakers. At the top of the range, the Autobiography Range Rover Sport offers exclusive interior colors, a special front grille and 20-inch alloy wheels.
Under the Hood
The 2012 Range Rover Sport retains the same powerplants introduced in 2010: a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 or a supercharged version of the same engine. Even the base engine provides enough power to tow more than 7,700 pounds, but both drink premium unleaded - and with EPA highway mileage figures of 18 mpg and 17 mpg, respectively - lots of it. The sole transmission remains a ZF 6-speed automatic with CommandShift modes of Normal, Sport and Manual.
375 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
375 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 mpg
5.0-liter V8 Supercharged
510 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm
461 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17 mpg
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