The New 2014 Range Rover Sport
Last Year the Range Rover Sport was the top selling model for Land Rover in the US. As a matter of fact, the Range Rover Sport has by itself managed to outsell the entire product range of Jaguar in the year 2011 as well as 2012. Despite the success of the model, Land Rover knows that it has to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the vehicle remains true to its off road, “go anywhere” ability. That’s what makes it the cult icon it is now.
There are minute differences in the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport, apart from the name of course. The Sport that was introduced in the year 2006 was just a slight improvement on the LR3/4 Range Rover models and the key improvements were stiffer and stronger ladder styled frame along with the mechanicals that were beefed up as well. The Sport also featured refurbished exterior and a much fancier styling as well, but at the core, you can still smell the LR4 thing lurking inside the beast.
In the latest avatar, which arrives in late 2013, things will be a lot different.
For one, the Range Rover Sport will have an all Aluminum construction in the exterior that will enable it to be about 800 pounds lighter than the current model, and in addition to that, the 2014 version also comes with eight-speed automatic transmission, ventilated four-wheel disc brakes that are huge, independent suspension, and electronic-assisted rack-and-pinion steering from the top of the range.
The Sport has to live up to a reputation. This means that the Range Rover lineage contains all the true blue off road DNA which allows the series to take up off road challenges with ease, and at the same time the aerodynamics is good enough for a smooth road experience.
There are many expectations from a Range Rover Sport. For one, it should be able to comfortably glide across any English terrain and at the same time, when a river throws an opportunity, it should be able to wade in 3 foot deep upstream water. What’s more, the Range Rover Sport must also be able to negotiate a 40 degree incline that is riddled with deep ruts and is dangerously narrow. On the tarmac too, it should be able to reach its electronically limited top speed of 155 miles an hour. Of course, while doing all these grueling tasks, the Sport must also be quiet and seat its occupants in high degrees of comfort and luxury.
When it comes to style the new Sport is simply awesome. In fact, it’s one of the most handsome and rugged SUVs to look around. The headlamps and tail lamps are typical Land Rover trademarks with LED lights that grace the front and back. There are square, small tail lamps at the rear and they are flanked by a small rump. The profile also sports a raked roofline that can be had with either the body color or a similar contrasting color, like gray or black, as we had on our test car. The Evoque inspiration is readily apparent. Other features include the US specific safety and privacy glasses that can be customized with colors that match the body in a nice way. All in all, it makes for a very handsome and rugged package.
There is also a new engine in the offing in the new Range Rover Sport. It is the 340hp V6, which can also be found in the Jaguar XJ & XF models.
According to Land Rover estimates, this engine should propel the Sport from 0 - 60 mph in about 6.9 seconds, which is about 0.3 seconds faster than the outgoing model, which had a V8 that produced 375 hp. Also, there is a pumped up V8 in the cards as well, and it punches out 510 hp, which is enough to get the car from 0-60 in about 5 seconds. So clearly, there is an improvement.
Of course, this engine is a killer. It beats the 2013 model that had the same engine but was heavier by almost a second which is a pretty huge improvement. This Range Rover Sport also benefits from the low weight advantage, as opposed to the earlier model, and it weighs about 5100 pounds. This also means that fuel efficiency has been improved. Although you cannot get much optimistic about the figure, Land Rover, estimates that because of the reduced mass and an engine stop-start feature, which will be standard in all the Range Rovers in 2014, there should be a considerable improvement in the fuel average.
Technology sharing is another huge benefit that one would have in this year’s model. There is the updated Terrain Response 2 system that will be able to better predict the road conditions and modify the power delivery accordingly, and there are five preset values. There are enhanced features like the air suspension that can give a total of 4 ride heights, as well as other features like an active locking rear differential, torque vectoring and traction control presets that can get you out of a sticky situation faster than you can say cheese.
Despite the fact that the new Range Rover Sport has shaved off 800 pounds of weight, the new model turned out to be wider and longer. The extra 7 inches made it possible for Land Rover to offer the new Sport with a third row of seats, primarily for children.
Like always, the interior of the new Range Rover Sport is also a very inviting place to be in. For that matter, the interiors are supremely comfortable, inviting and have a great color combination that is pleasing to the eye, like the brothel-spec red and black in the dashboard & center console panels. Leather could be found everywhere, and there are also wood inserts that line the doors and the central stack.
The old instrumentation console gives way to a 12.3 inch HD console that feeds you with every nugget of information, as well as a secondary 8 inch display that eliminates the remaining plethora of buttons for climate control & infotainment functions. There are other Range Rover exclusives as well, and the list goes on, including the lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam assist, traffic-sign recognition, Flank Guard, parallel-parking assists, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision sensing, blind-spot monitoring, cross-car traffic detection - to name a few.
Usually, SUVs of this stature are mostly meant for the road presence and their performance on the road. However, this is not the same with the new Range Rover Sport, as the vehicle, with its adaptive air suspension, is able to take on rough surfaces as well, with consummate ease. The air suspension settings adapt seamlessly to the changes in the terrain.
Of course, not all people will take their new Sport for serious mud plugging sessions. In fact, a majority of the Sport buyers will always hit the road and will never venture out in the mud. However, having said that, there are a small number of people who will definitely like to use this vehicle for its intended purpose, and that is to hit the gravel and mud. For that matter too, the Range Rover will not disappoint, and it has the same off road characteristics like its bigger brother the Range Rover. Only this time, the package is much more manageable.
As mentioned earlier, despite all it’s off road prowess, the interior of the vehicle will always be an inviting, quiet and comfortable place to be. The color combinations are spot on and there have been no reservations on leather trims. Truth to be told; this wasn’t much different when it comes to the outgoing model, either. The engineers behind the new 2014 Range Rover Sport left most things intact, except for the instrument cluster, which offers much more digital readouts than it does analogs.
Where Land Rover have made a significant change, is introduce an optional 3rd row of seats at the back, because of the larger 7 inch wheelbase. The third row won't be of much real use, but it's heartening to know that it is offered. We don't have the third row in the bigger Range Rover, surprisingly. But the test shots of the upcoming models show a longer wheelbase as well, so it’s on the cards.
The base range of the 2014 model begins at $63,495 equipped with a 3.0-liter V6, and the $93,295 top range model is the Autobiography with the supercharged 5.0-liter V8. With everything considered, including the optional trim, you can expect the price to be a shade above $100,000
The Range Rover Sport offers most things, the bigger and larger Range Rover, moreover it’s more compact and it is able to execute its tasks in a much more manageable manner. If you lose anything, it’s the interior space and a minute amount of the off road ability. Unless you are a hard core, true blue off road fanatic, the Sport will by all means fit your needs.