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2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2017

If you're seeking a premium luxury performance SUV that is also a champion at off-road adventuring, seek out the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. The Range Rover Sport's powerful suite of available engines perfectly complements the big SUV's impressive on- and off-road abilities, and its exquisite interior blends beauty and simplicity as only the British can. While rivals such as the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80 and Porsche Cayenne all have their own perks, none of them can go where the Range Rover Sport so easily treads.

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 2017?

The 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport gets a new HSE Dynamic trim that replaces last year's limited-edition HST. The InControl infotainment system gets a new 10.2-inch touchscreen and more functionality, while the Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) is made available across the model range. Nineteen new optional paint colors are offered in either gloss or satin-matte finishes.

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; poor fuel economy with the V8; can feel like a bull in a china shop in crowded confines

How Much?

$66,645-$135,000

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. In the HSE Dynamic, horsepower jumps to 380 and torque to 340 lb-ft. 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 23 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/28 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 horsepower 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 six trims, each with their own optional upgrades: SE, HSE, Dynamic, Supercharged, Autobiography and SVR.

The base SE ($66,645) includes a supercharged V6 engine, an 8-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive with adjustable Terrain Response settings, an air suspension with Automatic Access Height, front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning with autonomous emergency braking, 14-way power front seats, power-folding and heated side mirrors with a reverse tilt-down feature, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, a rearview camera, HID headlights, leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a power rear lift gate, 19-in alloy wheels, 8-speaker audio with 10.2-in touchscreen navigation, InControl Remote & Protect, Bluetooth and USB/iPod support.

The base SE Td6 ($68,645) includes the same equipment as the supercharged SE but adds the diesel engine.

The HSE ($71,645) adds perforated leather seats, fog lights, 20-in alloy wheels, heated front seats, a fixed panoramic sunroof and a chrome grille and fender vents.

The HSE Td6 ($73,645) includes the same equipment as the supercharged HSE but adds the diesel engine.

The HSE Dynamic ($81,145) adds a 380-hp supercharged V6, unique exterior finishes, 21-in dark satin gray wheels, red Brembo brake calipers, adaptive xenon headlights, climate front seats with heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel, a TFT Virtual Instrument Panel, Adaptive Dynamics, a 825-watt Meridian sound system plus a contrasting black roof and exterior trim.

The Supercharged ($81,645) brings a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, a sliding panoramic sunroof, a more sophisticated Terrain Response 2 all-wheel-drive system, All-Terrain Progress Control, Dynamic Response with lean control, a Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential and Adaptive Dynamics with variable damper control.

The Supercharged Dynamic ($84,725) adds the same equipment as the HSE Dynamic but with the supercharged V8.

The top-of-the-line Autobiography ($95,445) 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 horsepower, a recalibrated sport suspension, an electronically-controlled active 2-stage exhaust, adaptive HID headlights, unique sport seats and interior trim, a recalibrated locking rear differential, 6-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 Third Row Seating package adds powered 5+2 seating plus a tire-repair system and 20-in wheels, while the Climate Comfort and Visibility package adds fog lights, adaptive headlights, a blind spot monitoring system, 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 Wi-Fi. The Vision and Assistance package includes a surround-vision camera, soft-closing doors and a TFT Virtual Instrument Display. Individual options include adaptive cruise control, a sliding panoramic sunroof and 20- and 21-in wheels.

Premium options 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 2017 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 supercharged 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 this 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. The third-row seat option is useless for carrying adults, and even kids will end up with cramps after an hour or two. 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

2017 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.

2017 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, but offers no diesel or V8 engine option.

Used Mercedes-Benz AMG GL63 -- You'll get scintillating performance and more interior room in a 2011-2014 M-B AMG GL63, 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. Want something with sportier intentions? The Dynamic trims are your best bet.

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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.
2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: New Car Review - Autotrader