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Field Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.

Field Sport
The Range Rover Sport V8 TD is the best version in the range to date.

   



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| A Week at the Wheel | Cambs, England | Range Rover Sport TDV8 HSE |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Presence: probably the most appropriate word for summing up the Range Rover; even in its more 'diminutive' Sport guise that prominent grille combines with what is just pure scale to clear the fast lane of motorway and autoroute alike with ultimate impunity. The elevated driving position and superior visibility it affords prove a real boon, in a way oddly relaxing, in traffic, as were the test car's three television monitors. According to my passengers there is something highly satisfying in being chauffeured across France whilst watching European Championship football.

Aside from the raft of infotainment systems the interior is well fitted and finished as well as being comfortable and roomy - for four adults. The anti-Tardis effect of its size relative to the external magnitude of the car remains one of the automotive world's true head scratchers and anything more than four adults would be a little cramped. Certainly we'd have struggled to match the massive payload swallowed by the Mazda6 long termer we have on the fleet currently.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

The addition of decent diesel powerplants was imperative for the Rangie to remain competitive in a marketplace quickly shying away from the voracious thirst of the more traditional petrol derivatives in this sector, an issue brought starkly into focus by the supercharged version of this model. In this case the 3.6-litre, V8 twin-turbo diesel brings with it the essential combination of brawn, refinement and frugality.

Much of our time was spent at a virtually silent cruise, yielding a 26mpg average, but further real world exploration of the engine's abilities proved it to be more than a match for the bulk of the Sport, offering a fine turn of speed where called upon. We didn't test the towing capacity, but suffice to say as the documentation suggests it's more than man enough for most tasks likely to be thrown at it.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Given the size of the footprint of the Sport it's actually a wonder to consider the things it can do. It makes a fine fist of on-road activities and the air suspension does a good job of controlling the body's mass. You could never expect a car like this to offer small hatch agility and cornering but there is plenty of grip and it is possible to hustle the car along. More likely though is the application of the car to long motorway journeys, where it truly excels with refinement comparable to a decent luxury saloon. However, its size does limit its practicality in certain contexts, not least around town.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

A list of standard equipment as long as your arm is impressive and so it should be for the price, but less hard to quantify is the relative financial trade off for the technical wizardry offered by the chassis. This car will, if required, traverse any kind of landscape with the minimum requirement of driver ability; such is the raft of functions and tricks that the chassis and four-wheel drive system can execute. In cold hard terms of cost it's hard to relate the relative worth of this in direct comparison to rivals from BMW, Audi et al. However, common sense suggests the relative pricing of the offerings ensures the Range Rover is at the very least competitive.

Overall: star star star star star

The Range Rover has much to offer and is absolutely worthy of further investigation, but BMW's X5 has it beat for road manners and a decent size estate car is probably a better compromise than either of them. No doubt the Range Rover redresses this balance with its off-road capability but genuinely, how many of these cars see anything more than a muddy country lane or a gravel drive?

Dave Jenkins - 13 Jul 2008



  www.landrover.co.uk    - Land Rover road tests
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2008 Land Rover Range Rover Sport specifications: (TDV8 HSE)
Price: 54,900 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Top speed: 130mph
Combined economy: 25.5mpg
Emissions: 294g/km
Kerb weight: 2675kg

2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.

2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.



2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Range Rover Sport. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 






 

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