Test Drive: 2015 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Review

Listeners to my radio show know that I have owned Range Rovers for many years.

Most have been the largest model, the HSE, but I have owned LR4s also. I have reviewed but never owned a Range Rover Sport, but my wife is actually thinking she wants one, so having this one for review was good timing.

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.

My review vehicle has the 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.

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 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, wood, 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 (which 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 ‘ute is the HSE, the middle of the trim levels, and it comes nicely equipped with 14-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: (1) general mode, for everyday driving, (2) grass/gravel/snow, (3) mud and ruts, (4) sand, (5) 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 panoramic sunroof, Meridian sound system with 19-speakers and 825 watts.

There are a few notable items missing on this particular vehicle, like blind spot monitoring and cooled seats, but it is nicely equipped. On a sour note, it 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 move the vehicle 11” with the push of a button and it will rise even higher if the vehicle senses you need more clearance. 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.

The Sport is a true joy to drive and it makes a statement. When you pull into a valet parking area, odds are it will stay close to the door.

What I liked most: The interior, and the exterior looks.

What I would change: Make a few important items standard, not optional.

MSRP: Base price $62,600. As equipped $73,375.

Fuel Economy: 17 City/23 highway/19 combined.

Odometer reading when tested: 4770 miles.

Weight: 4727 Pounds.

Length-Width-Height: 191” long/81.6” wide/70.1” High.

Fuel Tank Capacity: 27.7 gallons.

Towing Capacity: 7716 pounds.

2015 Range Rover Sport in a few words: Suitable for trips to Nordstroms, the beach, or up the side of a mountain!

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

Manufacturer’s website: www.landroverusa.com

Photo Credit: Land Rover

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