The 2015 Range Rover Sport SDV8 HSE Dynamic.
The 2015 Range Rover Sport SDV8 HSE Dynamic. Iain Curry

2015 Range Rover Sport road test review

GORGEOUS, isn't it?

Agreed, a tad ostentatious with its Fuji white paint over 22-inch black wheels, but if you're spending $178k on an SUV you want something to show for it.

This is the much-lauded second-generation Range Rover Sport, and in this guise - the SDV8 HSE Dynamic - it features a 4.4-litre V8 bi-turbo diesel engine good for 250kW and 740Nm.

Such figures help this 2.4-tonne brute crack the 100kmh sprint in less than seven seconds, all the while returning a claimed 8.7-litre/100km.

Yet this is no mere sporting SUV with pleasing economy figures. This model has just been awarded 4x4 Australia magazine's 2015 4x4 of the Year, acing the field over a six-day, 1500km test across the most challenging, varied terrain.

But despite its obvious genius for the rough stuff, the majority of these Sports' off-road life will involve nothing more challenging than being slung up a pavement outside an exclusive private school.

So with 4x4 Australia having done the hard mud-plugging work for me, my job was to test a Sport in its more typical habitat of busy towns and smooth-surfaced highways.

Iain Curry

For starters, it gets you noticed. Taking styling cues from its big brother Range Rover (costing $200k with the same engine) and the delightful Evoque, it is a strikingly beautiful SUV oozing class - integral factors in this lofty segment.

No less so inside. The layout and finish are true premium, and would be well worth a look by other car brands marketing their products as "premium", and in doing so, diluting the term.

With the Rangie Sport, you'd feel equally comfortable transporting the Queen in her Sunday best to church, or with her muddy gumboots on after a hike across the moors. Plus the corgis will love the palatial boot space.

There are acres of leathery room inside, a brilliantly clear 31cm instrument panel, giant touch-screen and seats so comfortable you would happily lie back and be stuck in traffic for hours on end.

Options on this Rangie include a wading system that reads the depth of a water crossing using sensors in the door mirrors, 18-way power seats, a 19-speaker sound system and a sliding panoramic roof.

Yes, it may sound like I'm ready to jump into bed with this Sport, and you'd rightly expect such features and luxury in a car costing this much. But it's not perfect. I was disappointed to learn this particular Sport can't be optioned with a third row of seats, and personally, I'm not a fan of the virtual speedo and rev counters.

While driving, I put the odd uncomfortable bump on harsh roads down to the mighty 22-inch wheels optioned with this Sport, but for the most part, this Rangie is up there with the most supremely comfortable cars I've driven. And it deserves its Sport badge for shattering performance and impressive cornering abilities.

The consummate all-rounder? With such proven off-road ability, 3500kg towing capacity and sumptuous luxury and style, I'd say it certainly comes close, and I'd question the need to upsize to the full fat Range Rover models. If you can stomach the $178k purchase price, it's quite possibly the only car you'll ever need.


Iain Curry

Vital statistics

Model: Range Rover Sport SDV8 HSE Dynamic.

Details: Five-door premium four-wheel-drive SUV with seven seats.

Engine: 4.4-litre bi-turbo diesel V8 generating maximum power of 250kW @ 3500rpm and 740Nm @ 1750-2300rpm.

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.

Consumption: 8.7L/100km (combined average).

Performance: 0-100kmh in 6.9 seconds.

Towing capacity: 3500kg.

Bottom line: $178,727 drive-away (as tested)

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