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Driven: Range Rover Sport SDV6 HSE Dynamic. Image by Matt Robinson.

Driven: Range Rover Sport SDV6 HSE Dynamic
After one week with a Sport, our man has switched his allegiance back to the 'smaller' Range Rover...

 



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Range Rover Sport SDV6 HSE Dynamic

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: probably as good as a full-sized Range Rover in every respect.

Not so good: it costs almost as much as a full-sized Range Rover.

Key Facts

Model tested: Range Rover SDV6 Sport HSE Dynamic
Pricing: £64,995 basic; £78,595 as tested
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder diesel
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: five-door SUV
Rivals: Audi SQ5, BMW X6 M50d, Porsche Macan S Diesel
CO2 emissions: 199g/km (Band J, £265 per year)
Combined economy: 37.7mpg
Top speed: 138mph
0-62mph: 7.2 seconds
Power: 292hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 600Nm at 2,000rpm

Our view:

Last year, I drove a TDV6 Range Rover. It cost about £77,000 as standard, in excess of £83,000 with options and it had the same 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine as this Sport HSE Dynamic, albeit with 258hp for a 'T'-badge, and not the 292hp of this 'S'-labelled engine. Anyway, it was wonderful - everything you would expect of a Range Rover and a little more besides. Considering this considerable outlay was for the smallest engine you can get in the RR and only mid-level trim, I was still utterly blown away by its consummate grace.

However, I spent the whole review grappling with the fact that the second-gen Range Rover Sport did everything the Range Rover could, for slightly less money. So now I'm approaching this in-house dichotomy from the other angle; namely, is it worth shelling out just that little bit more for a 'proper' Range Rover, rather than settling for a car that still has an unenviable Premiership footballer image about it?

That's unfair on the Sport, by the way. Yes, the first-generation car was often fitted with gaudy lights, glitzy chrome trim, massive alloys and windows blacker than space just inside an event horizon. But look at the second-gen car. Even in Mariana Black and on 22-inch Sparkle Silver wheels with tinted windows, it looks tasteful and majestic. The same is true of the interior, which is beautifully executed and spacious enough for five adults, with a big, 784-litre boot out back. It certainly doesn't feel cramped compared to a Range Rover.

As it's the HSE Dynamic model, it starts £10,000 cheaper than the Autobiography Dynamic range-topping Sport, but then it comes with less equipment as a result. So, with options, we're back up to nearly 80 grand for this SDV6. Chief among the additions are the Super Premium Audio System 1,700w (£5,000), £1,500 apiece on Adaptive Cruise Control, the sliding panoramic roof and Rear Seat Entertainment and various other sundries clocking up £500, £600, £750 and £800 (for an on-board TV!) a time. Go for the Autobiography and you pay £74,995, but a lot of this stuff comes as standard. Either way, we're within a negligible £4,525 of that TDV6 RR, which is less than a Super Premium Audio System, when all's said and done.

There's another civil war within the Sport's own range, too, as there's an SDV8 model with 47hp and 100Nm more than this V6. It also only comes as an Autobiography Dynamic, for £81,550. But, as Kyle found out late last year, it doesn't really add anything to the RRS experience over the SDV6, because this Sport is absolutely superb. It has a supple, relaxing ride without cornering like a yacht in a typhoon, it has an abundance of pace for everyday driving situations yet can return something like its official economy without having to drive it like a saint, and the V6 makes a lovely, grumbling sound, which blesses the Sport with a suitably muscular soundtrack. The gearbox feels practically frictionless, the brakes are strong and progressive and the steering is accurate, well-weighted and pretty communicative for this sort of car. The long and short of the driving experience is this: there isn't a single road or traffic scenario the Sport doesn't feel suited to, which is an astonishing feat.

You just can't fault it. OK, you might want a bit more steering feel if you're a keen driver, but then the obvious retort is: why on Earth are you in a big SUV, asking it to drive like a hot hatch, if you really are that eager behind the wheel? Dynamically, the Sport is absolutely stunning for something of this size. That it's not as sharp as, say, a Mégane 275 is completely irrelevant. In every other respect - ride comfort, noise levels in the cabin, general luxury of appointments and effortless diesel performance with decent parsimony - it's brilliant.

So it's clear I'm appallingly fickle on this. When it comes to which one to recommend between the Sport and the bigger Range Rover, it's a bit like when people ask me which film I prefer - Ridley Scott's haunting Alien or James Cameron's all-action Aliens: my preference is always for whichever one I've watched most recently. And it's the same with the two biggest Land Rover products - they're both sublime and whichever is fresher in my memory is the winner; truth is, if you are lucky enough to be able to buy either, you'll be very, very happy. Me? Right now, I've got to say this Range Rover Sport SDV6 is my favourite big SUV of all.

Alternatives:

Audi SQ5: performance version of Audi's more acceptable large SUV is again a lot cheaper than the RRS, thought there is a lot less space and luxury for your cash.


BMW X6 M50d: given the X6 is the sportier version of the X5, this is the Sport's main Bavarian rival. Ignoring everything else about it, the monstrous looks are not to all tastes.

Porsche Macan: new boy on the block and by gum, it's got an amazing chassis. S Diesel model is also considerably cheaper than the Range Rover Sport, although its interior ambience and space can't compete with the British SUV.


Matt Robinson - 12 Sep 2014









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2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.

2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.



2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2014 Range Rover Sport. Image by Matt Robinson.
 






 

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