2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport has a new aluminum
architecture that reduces weight by up to 800 pounds from the
Land Rover’s death were greatly exaggerated. The SUV brand Ford
struggled to sell just a few years ago has become one of the auto
industry’s most desirable names.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport V-8 Supercharged simultaneously
demonstrates why the British brand has come so far … and that some
of Rover’s old problems linger.
The Land Rover
Range Rover Sport V-8 Supercharged — crikey, even the Internet’s
not big enough to keep using that name; let’s call it the Sport
— shares its aluminum-intensive construction, drivetrain and many
systems with the 5-inch longer Range Rover.
architecture reduced weight up to 800 pounds from the old model.
That gives the 2014 Sport better performance, handling and fuel
at $62,600. All Sports have full-time all-wheel-drive and an
eight-speed automatic transmission. The base model uses a
340-horsepower, supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6 engine. The top model is
the V-8 Supercharged, which has a 510-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8.
fact that all Sports have supercharged engines, only the V-8 is
called supercharged. The V-6 is the SE.
I tested a
Range Rover Sport V-8 Supercharged with features including adaptive
cruise control, automatic collision-avoiding brakes, voice
recognition and 825-watt Meridian sound. It stickered at $87,690.
All prices exclude destination charges.
The V-8 Sport
competes with high-performance luxury SUVs like the BMW X5 M,
Mercedes ML 63 AMG and Porsche Cayenne turbo.
The Sport I
tested was at the lower end of that price range, despite having a
roomy and luxurious interior, more power than the ML 63 AMG and
Cayenne turbo and better fuel economy than the X5 M and ML 63.
It’s hard to
call a SUV nudging $90,000 a bargain, but versus that competition,
the concept of good value can be stretched far enough to use on the
Sport without wincing.
it did not offer blind spot alert, a feature common on vehicles
priced far below the Sport.
exterior styling walks the line between Land Rover’s old boxy look
and the sleek Evoque that began to reshape the brand a few years
ago. The interior is spacious and luxurious.
The Sport I
tested seated five, with plenty of passenger and cargo space. An
optional third row with two small seats is available. I haven’t
tried the third seat, but even Land Rover admits it’s for
occasional use, so caveat emptor.
materials look and feel great. Perforated grey leather covered the
seats, while fine wood and brushed aluminum adorn the consoles and
connectivity and controls could use some work. In a weeklong test,
it never downloaded my iPhone’s contact list, so I couldn’t use
voice recognition to initiate phone calls. I had to dial the numbers
manually. That’ll get you an expensive ticket in many
jurisdictions. The touch screen is big and clear, but the touch
points surrounding it respond poorly when you want to switch from
navigation to the home screen, audio or phone.
delivers effortless acceleration, with 461 pound-feet of torque at
just 2,500 rpm. The steering is direct and nicely weighted, with
good on-center feel.
The Sport uses
Land Rover’s tried-and-true AWD system and has plenty of ground
clearance. You can expect off-road capability that matches its
rated 14 mpg in the city, 19 on the highway and 16 combined in EPA
tests. That won’t make anybody trade in their Prius, but it’s
very good for a 500-plus-horsepower SUV.
after Ford sold Land Rover to India’s Tata Group, the brand is
alive and well. With a few improvements to its connectivity and
controls, Rover is poised to make life miserable for the makers of
other luxury SUVs.
RANGE ROVER SPORT V-8 SUPERCHARGED:
vehicle: All-wheel-drive five-passenger crossover SUV
Three out of four stars
buy: Performance, off-road capability, looks, comfort
No blind spot alert; hands-free phone connection failure, poor
response of touchpad controls
Supercharged 5.0-liter 32-valve DOHC V-8
horsepower at 6,200-6,500 rpm; 461 pound-feet of torque at
weight: 5,093 lbs.