Inside, the Range Rover Sport looks really stylish, it feels effortlessly posh, and there are also heaps of optional interior trims to choose from, from carbon trim to Alcantara. Soft-touch leather covers the most prominent cabin surfaces, and they’re broken up with chromey metallic bits or interestingly textured panels, so there’s plenty for your eyes, and your fingertips, to feast on.
The latest version of the infotainment system is a big improvement over what came before, too. You’ll need to take some time to understand how it works, but once you’ve got to grips with it it’s visually appealing and reasonably responsive.
The Sport isn’t as roomy as a regular Range Rover due to its slinkier shape, but there’s enough room in the back for three adult passengers to sit comfortably. For a bit (well, quite a lot) more cash, you can also specify two more seats that fold up electrically from the boot floor. However, they’re very tight on space, so anyone bigger than a small child will struggle to get comfy, and getting in and out will require you to be skilled in amateur gymnastics as well. Obviously, travelling seven-up will make your boot a lot smaller, but in five-seat mode, it’s absolutely massive.
The burning question, of course, is whether the Range Rover Sport lives up to the last bit of its name. And it does – sort of. Granted, it’s not as agile or as precise as a Porsche Cayenne
. But it is a very rewarding car to drive, with massive grip, impressive body control and sharp, responsive steering, and it changes direction very well indeed for such an enormous car.
Where the Sport has the Porsche licked is on ride comfort. With adaptive air suspension provided as standard, it glides smoothly and serenely over all sorts of bumps at all sorts of speeds. All-round refinement is just as impressive, so it’s absolutely brilliant at playing the luxury barge role. And being a Range Rover, it’ll get you further into the wilderness than most other 4x4s. Thanks to the ingenious Terrain Response off-roading system, it can take snow, mud, rocks and sand in its stride.
The SVR version is very nearly as handy off-road; it’s only the lower front bumper that puts the slightest dent in its mud-plugging credentials, and its low-speed ride isn’t as smooth as that of the more humble versions, either. But the payoff is suspension that’s modified to give sharper handling, which it does, even if it still isn’t quite as precise as the best performance SUVs.