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2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2016

The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is actually two vehicles in one. As a luxury performance SUV, the Range Rover Sport's powerful engine lineup and exquisite interior easily rival that of the Cadillac Escalade, Audi Q7 or Infiniti QX80. Off-road, the Range Rover Sport's impressive abilities leave competitors such as the BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz GL spinning their performance tires in the mud.

In the civilized world, where the vast majority of Range Rover Sport SUVs spend their time, this hefty luxury model can feel a bit overgrown and unruly. However, the Range Rover Sport shines brightest when it's comfortably cruising the highways, ambling through serene mountain passes and mushing through snow-covered passages that lead to ski resorts or winter cabins.

What's New for 2016?

For 2016, the Range Rover Sport now has an available 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine. Additionally, the InControl Remote & Protect infotainment upgrade is made standard on all grades, as is an air suspension that lowers the vehicle for easier entry and exit. Other new features include a hands-free gesture power tailgate, a rear camera washer and All-Terrain Progress Control (standard on V8 models).

What We Like

Elegant styling; impressive power and handling ability; first-rate luxury trappings; off-road prowess; diesel engine option

What We Don't

Cavelike interior; big blind spot over driver's shoulder; finicky touchscreen for the navigation system; poor fuel economy on the V8.

How Much?

$65,945-$115,000

Fuel Economy

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport offers a choice of three engines. The SE and HSE employ a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, good for 340 horsepower and 322 lb-ft of torque. Teamed with the standard all-wheel-drive and 8-speed automatic, this choice returns an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimate of 17 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Optional in the SE and HSE is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that's good for 254 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimates for this engine are 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy.

The Supercharged trim brings a more powerful 5.0-liter V8, which is good for 510 hp and 461 lb-ft. EPA estimates for this engine are 14 mpg city/19 mpg hwy. The SVR employs the same V8 but bumps hp and torque to 550 and 502, respectively, with no change in the EPA figures.

Standard Features & Options

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport comes in five trims, each with their own optional upgrades: SE, HSE, Supercharged, Autobiography and SVR.

The base SE ($64,275) includes a supercharged V6 engine, an 8-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive with adjustable Terrain Response settings, air suspension with Automatic Access Height, front and rear parking sensors, 14-way power front seats, power-folding and heated side mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, a rearview camera, HID headlights, leather seating, dual-zone automatic temperature control, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a power rear lift gate, 19-inch alloy wheels, 8-speaker audio with touchscreen navigation, InControl Remote & Protect, Bluetooth and USB/iPod support.

The base SE Td6 ($67,445) includes the same equipment as the supercharged SE but adds the diesel engine.

The HSE ($70,945) adds perforated leather seats, fog lights, 20-in alloy wheels, heated front seats, a fixed panoramic sunroof and chrome grille and fender vents.

The HSE Td6 ($72,445) includes the same equipment as the supercharged HSE but adds the diesel engine.

The Supercharged ($80,945) brings a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, sliding panoramic sunroof, a more sophisticated Terrain Response 2 all-wheel-drive system, All-Terrain Progress Control, Dynamic Response with lean control, Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential and Adaptive Dynamics with variable damper control.

The top-of-the-line Autobiography ($94,290) brings a 19-speaker Meridian audio system, automatic high beams, adaptive HID headlights, heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats, 21-in wheels, a 360-degree Surround View camera, a heated rear seat, rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.

The performance-oriented SVR ($112,345) brings more hp, a recalibrated sport suspension, electronically-controlled active two-stage exhaust, adaptive HID headlights, unique sport seats and interior trim, recalibrated locking rear differential, six-piston Brembo brakes, aggressive bumper and front fascia design and revised electric power steering.

Many of the Autobiography's standard features can be found in options packages on the other trims. The 5+2 package adds a third-row seat, while the Front Climate Comfort and Visibility package adds fog lights, adaptive headlights, a blind-spot monitor, rear traffic detection, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and heated windshield wipers. The Extra Duty package adds the Terrain Response 2 system. The Driver Assistance package brings a head-up display, traffic sign recognition software, Park Distance Control, lane-departure warning and WiFi. Individual options include adaptive cruise control, a sliding panoramic sunroof and 20- and 21-in wheels.

Premium options offered include a 1,700-watt, 23-speaker Meridian audio system, climate-controlled rear seats, 4-zone automatic climate control, a head-up display and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Safety

The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport comes standard with a full array of safety features, including front-side and side-curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability control and an adjustable speed limiter.

Neither the government nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the Range Rover Sport.

Behind the Wheel

We chose the Range Rover Sport HSE with the V6, as we wanted to see if there was really any disadvantage to going with less power to save money. To our surprise, we found the supercharged V6 engine more than capable, delivering excellent off-the-line starts and an abundance of passing power. The Range Rover Sport looks big and menacing, but it's amazingly agile and really quite enjoyable when the road begins to twist and turn.

Around town, the Range Rover Sport's size does present a problem, especially in areas where parking spaces are drawn for Prius-size cars. However, numerous electronic parking aids, including the Surround View camera, help alleviate some of the hassle.

Leave the confines of city life and the Range Rover Sport reveals its trump card: amazing off-road prowess. The Terrain Response all-wheel-drive system is simply phenomenal. Be it muddy paths or unplowed back roads, our Range Rover Sport, even with its 20-in performance tires, simply pushed through it all with ease.

All was not sunshine and roses on this test-drive, however. Land Rover's navigation system takes far too long to power up and its voice recognition abilities are sketchy at best. We also had a problem with the rather large B-pillar next to the driver's head (it creates a huge blind spot) and the odd placement of the upward facing power window switches, which allowed rain to soak the panel every time we lowered the window.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW X5 -- The X5 may be the only SUV with better handling, but it's not large inside, and the ride can be somewhat punishing with the bigger wheel and tire setup.

2016 Porsche Cayenne -- The Cayenne offers more model choices, including a hybrid, and a lower base price. However, you can't get a third-row seat option, and the Cayenne can't follow the Range Rover Sport in the toughest off-road situations.

2017 Audi Q7 -- Audi's Q7 feels a bit more carlike in the way it rides and handles, and it offers the option of a diesel engine.

Used Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG -- You'll get scintillating performance and more interior room in a 2011-2014 MB GL63 AMG, plus you can get a longer warranty via the Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned program.

Autotrader's Advice

Go with the HSE and either the supercharged or turbodiesel V6, then load it up with option packages. You'll save a ton of cash, get better fuel economy than with the V8 and still have a very enjoyable SUV that will impress your friends and family.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: New Car Review - Autotrader