The Range Rover Sport badge is now 17 years old. The first one came out in the mid-2000s as a smaller, sportier alternative to the full-size, all-luxurious Range Rover. And it gained immense popularity that Land Rover decided to continue the nameplate. The second-gen was introduced in 2013 and like the first-generation, it was on sale for almost a decade as well.
This third-generation Range Rover Sport broke covers in May this year. It still is the second-most expensive model in the Range Rover line-up. We got a chance to get up close and personal with it and here’s our first impression of the new 2023 Range Rover Sport
Underpinning the new Range Rover Sport is the same MLA Flex (modular longitudinal architecture flexible) as the bigger Range Rover, the newer Sport is 67mm more in length, while the wheelbase is up by 74mm and the height is increased by 17mm compared to the outgoing generation.
In terms of styling, the new Range Rover follows Land Rover’s newest design philosophy which pays more precedence to a minimalistic approach rather than being flamboyant. Yet the Range Rover Sport can garner attention like no other. With its clean squarish proportions, imposing dimensions, and flush lines, the simplicity in the way the sheet metal is rendered along with its majestic stance surely makes it one of the most attractive-looking premium SUVs on the market today. You can easily imagine affluent football players, or their wives and girlfriend, and celebrities from Sunset Boulevard arriving on a red carpet in the new Range Rover Sport and that speaks about its street.
As for the paint scheme, Land Rover has provided this SUV with multiple choices depending on the version you are buying. And of course, it can be configured to individual tastes with various personalisation choices. Compared to the previous generation Range Rover Sport which looked more handsome and masculine, the new one has a more regal and majestic appeal. And if you like the way the new Velar or the bigger Range Rover looks, the new Range Rover Sport will surely make you go wow!
Now, all the modern Land Rovers have phenomenal cabins, be it the design, the ergonomics, the materials used, and even the technology they offer. And the new Range Rover seems to be taking things a notch higher. The previous-gen model was already quite modern and felt timeless, this new one only builds up on that. You get an all-digital highly-configurable driver’s display and ahead of it, the new steering wheel appears to be designed sleekly in comparison to the hefty large chunk seen on the older one. The steering on this Range Rover also gets feather touch buttons making it more elegant and it appears easy to use as well.
Even the centre console now has a floating 13-inch screen which is more stacked atop here rather than integrated inside the dashboard as with the previous gen. Then, the centre screen also has an inherent curved layout which is only felt when you touch the different sections of the screen. It gets the newest iteration of the Pivi Pro interface which is much simpler and easier to navigate and also gives out all the information you’d ever need, and then some more. There are no less than four circular knobs below the touchscreen which would bring joy to those who still prefer good old physical buttons for that tactile feel rather than putting everything inside the touchscreen.
Now, the bigger Range Rover is better experienced from the second row; to be chauffeured around in utmost comfort. The Range Rover Sport is, however, better experienced from the driver’s seat. Nonetheless, here in the second row, you still get loads of space, comfort, and opulence you’d expect from a premium luxury SUV. The large panoramic sunroof also makes the ambience here as lavish as you’d experience in a luxurious airliner. Even the seats offer both heated and ventilated functions and can be reclined electrically but they don’t get the massage function you get in the bigger Range Rover.
At 835 litres, the boot space is 55 litres more than the previous generation model. The Range Rover Sport is now strictly a two-row four- or five-seater. There’s no third-row seating in the Range Rover Sport anymore. But no third row means you have a humongous cargo area, with full-size spare and there are also electrically folding rear seats.
In India, the Range Rover is currently available in four versions – Dynamic SE, Dynamic HSE, Autobiography, and First Edition. For the HSE Dynamic trim that we have here, the feature list includes digital headlamps with image projection, 22-inch wheels, heated and auto-dimming ORVMs, and soft-closing doors. On the inside, the front seats of this SUV get 22-way adjustment with massage along with heated and ventilated function, four-zone climate control, a heads-up display, premium 23-speaker Meridian sound system, wireless charger, panoramic sunroof, configurable cabin lights, a 360-degree camera with 3D function, AI-enabled voice commands, and Cabin Air Purification Pro.
Of course, you have many add-on pieces of equipment which can be opted for at the time of purchase, and that includes everything from SV spec floor mats to refrigerator compartments, a hot/cold climate pack, or even a domestic plug. There’s also something called ‘clear sight’ interior rearview mirror which changes the IRVM into a rear camera display.
As for the car’s safety features, the Range Rover Sport offers emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, an under-car view, cruise control, driver condition monitor, lane keep assist, and traffic sign recognition as standard across the range. It also has a remote park assist function. In the Global NCAP test, the new-gen Range Rover Sport has also secured a full five star.
This being a sportier Land Rover, there’s also off-road focussed hardware like water wade sensing with a capacity of up to 900mm, clever 4×4, off-road adaptive cruise control, torque vectoring along with e-diff for better cornering, adaptive dampers to control body movements, and launch control.
With the new Range Rover Sport, the British carmaker is now offering a wide range of powertrain choices. Internationally you have petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid, and even a plug-in hybrid option. Here in India, we get the 3.0-litre turbo diesel making close to 350 horsepower and a healthy 700Nm. It is capable of hitting 0-100kmph in a time of just 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 234kmph. The petrol engine is also a 3.0-litre straight-six putting out around 400 horsepower and it gets a mild-hybrid system as well. There’s an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard along with Terrain Response 2 off-road hardware.
With its off-road credentials, the Range Rover Sport has special off-road geometry with impressive approach angle, departure angle, and ramp angle, especially helped by air suspension which can increase or decrease the height at a touch of a button. What’s more, the Range Rover Sport also get all-wheel steering to mask its weight both on road and along the beaten path.
Pricing for the new-gen Land Rover Range Rover Sport starts at 1.64 crore rupees for the Dynamic SE trim. The one we have seen here, Dynamic HSE is priced at 1.71 crore rupees. If you opt for the Autobiography, it will set you back by 1.81 crore rupees while the range-topping First Edition costs 1.84 crore rupees. There’s also a petrol engine option for those who don’t need the oil burner. It can be had only in the Dynamic HSE trim and is priced at Rs 1.68 crore. All prices are ex-showroom across India and before individual personalisation.
At this price, the Range Rover Sport comes as an alternative to other premium SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Porsche Cayenne, BMW’s X7 or its younger, sportier sibling the X5 M. It can also be an alternative to the Audi’s Q8 or the Italian Maserati Levante, apart from the many new electric alternatives. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel and tell you how this behemoth of an SUV, the Range Rover Sport performs on the street.
Pictures by Haji Chakralwale