Wednesday 26 October 2016
  • :
  • :

Test Drive: 2016 Range Rover Sport HSE Review

Test Drive: 2016 Range Rover Sport HSE Review

I don’t make it a secret I am a fan of Land Rovers and have been for a long time. I have personally owned many of them. Most have been the largest model, the HSE, but I have owned others also.

I have reviewed, but never owned a Range Rover Sport, but have always admired the sporty looks of this large, luxury SUV.

The Rover Sport went through a big transformation in 2014. It shed 800-pounds by going to an all-aluminum body.

A 6-cylinder supercharged engine replaced the naturally-aspirated V8, and an 8-speed transmission replaced the 6-speed. The body and interior underwent big changes as well. The end result of the changes produced the most refined and best Range Rover Sport ever and for 2016, pretty much everything is carried over.

My review vehicle has the standard 3.0-liter V6 supercharged engine that is putting out 340-horses. I am used to driving the 510-horse supercharged V8 in my personal vehicle, and expected to be disappointed in the power of the 3.0-liter, but honestly it is fine!

The 8-speed and the supercharger together provide amazing acceleration, especially considering it weighs over 4700 pounds. New for 2016 is a diesel engine that delivers amazing fuel economy.

Range Rovers are known for several things…an exceptional interior, an incredible 4-wheel drive system, and safety. I am not sure why they don’t make this better known, but the last time I checked, there has never been a death in the United States in a Range Rover. Low volumes certainly have an effect on this, but it’s still quite impressive.

Like all Range Rovers, the interior of the Sport is exquisite. There is leather, black lacquer wood trim, and aluminum everywhere you look or touch. The seats are extremely comfortable and the leather trim is soft to the touch. You will not detect any plastic anywhere. Clean is the best way to describe the look of the dash; it is simplistic and uncomplicated.

The Driver Information Center is centered in the dash, and most everything operates on an 8” color touch screen.

It has all your audio controls, navigation system that is voice activated, settings for the vehicle and climate controls, and much more. The screen is easily reachable by the driver and passenger. The re-do of the Sport in 2014 yielded more back seat room, and now you can get a third row seat in it, but I assure you, it is only for children.

My review Rover is the HSE, the middle of the trim levels, and it comes nicely equipped with 16-way power front seats, power tailgate, pushbutton start, rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, navigation, and much more.

It has full-time four-wheel drive, and features Rover’s famous Terrain Response System.

To use the Terrain Response System, you turn a small knob on the center console down between the seats to choose among five usage or surface settings: general mode, for everyday driving, grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, sand, rock crawl. For each setting, Terrain Response adjusts the aforementioned components to perform best for each driving condition. It is awesome.

Options on my tester include tow package, an ebony headliner, 20” spoke wheels, full- length fixed panoramic sunroof with power shade, and Meridian sound system putting out 825 watts. Also on this one, you get blind spot monitoring, heated and cooled seats, backup camera, navigation system, and power liftgate.

It also has the very annoying stop/start system, but luckily it can be deactivated with the push of a button.

You have to experience the four-wheel drive system at a Land Rover dealership to understand what the system will do. You can raise the vehicle 11” with the push of a button and it will rise even higher if the vehicle senses you need more clearance. It also lowers itself when you put it in park to make entry and exit easier. It is my opinion that it is the best four-wheel drive system in the auto industry.

The Range Rover Sport is the best selling Land Rover made in the United States, and given the price versus the larger HSE, it is easy to see why.

The only substantial complaint I have on the vehicle is it has a little too much engine noise for me, but I am getting used to it. It is only a distraction under heavy acceleration.

One other thing I dislike is there are hood vents on both sides of the hood, and there is one on each front fender. Although neither is functional with the 6-cylinder engine, I find the hood vents to be a little over the top. Not enough to keep me from buying the vehicle, however.

It is rated at 17 miles per gallon in town and 23 on the highway, and it will tow 7700 pounds.

The Sport is a true joy to drive and it handles great. Given the competition in the large, luxury SUV segment, it is a good buy also with an MSRP of just over $79,000.

For the record, I often hear from people who say that Land Rovers have a bad record of reliability. At one time that was a true statement, but since the early 2000s, they have been exceptional. If you are shopping SUVs in this price range or size range, do yourself a favor and drive a Land Rover Range Rover. You’ll see why their sales are through the roof and they have been short in supply for over two years.

What I liked most:  Interior quality, fuel economy for a large SUV, value.

What I would change: A little less noise from the engine.

MSRP: Base price $69,950, as equipped $79,302.

Fuel Economy:  EPA rated at 17 city, 23 highway, 19 combined.

Fuel Tank: 27.7 gallons of premium fuel.

Dimensions: 191” long/87” wide/70” high.

Weight: 4700 Pounds

2016 Range Rover Sport in a few words: A great luxury SUV and a good buy!

Trailer Towing: 7700 pounds

Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance.

Miles When Tested: 325

Manufacturer’s website: Land Rover

Photo Credit: Land Rover