2023 Range Rover Sport review, road test - More Range Rover, more Sport
The Range Rover has become larger, pricier and more opulent with its latest generation. This also means that the Range Rover Sport, now in its newest third generation, can fully come into its own as a slightly more driver-focused and approachable spin on the Range Rover experience. How much of this holds true in practice?
2023 Range Rover Sport driving impressions
The Range Rover Sport can be had with two 3.0-litre inline-6 mild-hybrid engine options. The D350 diesel is more widely available with its 350PS and 700 Nm. The version seen here is the P400 petrol with its slightly more enthusiastic bent, putting out 400PS and 550 Nm. The ZF 8-speed pairs with both and you get air suspension, adaptive dampers and a locking central differential. Of course, off-roading chops are a given with the 4x4, the Terrain Response 2 modes, all-terrain progress control and great approach, departure and break-over angles and wading depths.
The Range Rover Sport makes the driving experience quite inviting. It starts with the flush door handles, and the soft close doors, and then when you step inside the car will remember your seat heating, cooling and massaging settings which do feel special. Yes, some of the controls like the auto hold and climate control function are buried in the screen but you don't use them often so it's a bit irritating only in the beginning.
As is always true of a Range Rover, seeing out of the Sport is not a problem. You don't sit quite as high as the regular Range Rover but you have those large wide seats with flip-down armrests(which are great on a cruise but can get in the way on a winding road). The bonnet pans out in front and there's the typically low Land Rover sill.
So driving the Sport in traffic is as simple as it gets with something this large. And when you feel swarmed by errant rickshaws and bikers, the 360-degree camera with its projections is a live saver.
As for the way it drives. This motor has enough grunt to make the Range Rover Sport feel quick if not fast outright. Refinement is top-notch at slow speeds with barely any noise or vibrations coming through. The eco mode is a touch lethargic but the comfort mode will have you largely covered. The motor has good performance right off the bat in this mode, it's quiet and the ZF 8 speed is tuned for soft but well-timed shifts. The steering has a touch more heft to it even in this more sedate mode but it is direct which again makes things fairly easy in traffic. It's also quite large and thin-rimmed giving you a good sense of leverage.
Now, these massive 22-inch wheels look great but going a size smaller should be best for our conditions. The Range Rover Sport can chop and thud over our uneven city roads but it must be said that the impacts are quite well-damped for such a large-sized wheel. Either way, this fades away quite quickly as speeds rise, and with the significant suspension travel, you don't really need to tip-toe over rough patches too.
And when you want to get a move on the Range Rover Sport livens up quite significantly in Sport mode. The air suspension becomes tauter without giving up too much ride comfort and body movements are tight too for something this large in the Sport damper setting. You can carry quite good speeds around bends although there could have been a grippier set of tyres. You won't really notice this in regular driving but it does hamper the Sport's cornering and outright performance. We only managed a 0 to 100 kmph time of 6.4s, against the claimed 5.7s. But this is a large 2.3-tonne SUV so there's more than enough grunt on tap. You even have quite an aggressive launch control function. Another fun addition is the exaggerated rumble played through the speakers which seem to do well to create a sense of urgency.
With the 35 per cent stiffer structure, the new Range Rover Sport is already quite a bit ahead of the SUV it replaces in terms of dynamic ability. This can be enhanced further with the Stormer handling pack with adds rear-wheel steer, torque-vectoring and anti-roll functions.
We couldn't test the Range Rover Sport off-road but it's quite clear that when specced right this SUV will take you quite a bit further than its rivals in the rough stuff with its masses of off-roading tech and Land Rover genes.
2023 Range Rover Sport exterior, dimensions
The taut, minimalistic design theme of the Range Rover has become a touch more expressive here with the Sport. You see it with the angles the clamshell bonnet makes with the grille, itself slimmed down like the LED headlamps.
Then there's the more focused stance which seems accentuated by these large body-coloured panels on the bumper and more slim elements. These are unique to the dynamic package standard for the Indian-spec model. Quite unlike most modern cars, the new Range Rover Sport is marginally narrower than the SUV it replaces, although it is 67mm longer and 17mm taller.
The now signature Range Rover silhouette of the roofline and window line converging works well as usual. Helped by the near absence of any fussy body lines except for a strong beltline and the flush door handles and clean window surrounds.
The rear is especially stark in its minimalism. There isn't a bodyline to be seen again but there is a cohesiveness here that comes through just from the clever sculpting of the boot lid and the gloss-black panelling. A nice touch with this P400 petrol is those large metal exhaust tips, again a part of the Dynamic package for India.
2023 Range Rover Sport interiors, rear-seat, features, practicality
The Sport may be the second-rung in the Range Rover hierarchy but that doesn't mean that you get a sense that Land Rover hasn't gone the distance in the cabin. So it isn't quite as large as a small Mumbai home in here, in the way the Range Rover feels, but the Sport is not a small SUV by any stretch.
In keeping with the minimalist but expressive theme of this SUV, the dash facade is a touch more angular but you have quite a similar sense of luxury as the full-size Range Rover with the slim air vents, the button-operated twin gloveboxes and the monolithic centre stack. So the 13.1-inch display is quite intuitive now, despite some tasks buried deep in the menus, although it could do with a touch less lag. Yes, the gloss black central panel is a fingerprint magnet but the multi-function rotary knobs are still one of the best solutions to control the climate and seat functions in this age of touch-everything. It's the same with the terrain response knobs but we would have liked separate buttons for the functions that are on the panel.
The 13.7-inch instrument cluster has also improved. It's a bit easier now to switch between the display modes and information but others still do it better, but the graphics and resolution have improved quite a bit. There's also quite a bright HUD to go with this and the handy rear-view camera, although this could have been placed a touch lower.
If you are looking at something like this Range Rover, invariably the back seat will be of quite some importance. This new Sport has moved up in this sense too. It now has the same wheelbase as the standard-length big Range Rover at 2,997mm, a 74mm increase over the last-gen model. This translates into quite a bit of rear legroom. The seats are similarly wide and supportive as the front with the well-judged cushioning, and there's a powered recline function to take you to a comfortable angle.
As seen in this example, you can have heated and cooled seats here as well as two more climate zones. Other highlights are the sunshades and the requisite large sunroof, its effect enhanced by the great headroom and large windows. A great touch is a three-pin plug that can power appliances aside from the usual USB charge ports.
While the door pockets could have been larger, there is great storage otherwise in the cabin. The optional refrigerated centre console is a great addition given how effective its cooling is and its fairly large size. You get a full-size spare helpfully and there's still a massive 835 litres of boot space. This increases to a significant 1,860 litres quite effortlessly with the power-fold function for the second-row bench.
2023 Range Rover Sport safety
Now you get some lane warning capability but we think the absence of a full suite of ADAS functions is a miss in the current Indian scenario. You do get those immensely useful 360-degree cameras though as well as all the airbags and passive safety equipment you might care to think of.
2023 Range Rover Sport price, verdict
With prices starting from Rs 1.64 crore, the Range Rover Sport costs quite a bit less than the full-size Rangie. In that sense, it comes quite close to offering quite a good glimpse of the Range Rover experience at a more approachable price point. It's not the best handling SUV at this price but has got that same sense of gravitas with decent dynamics, competent performance and about as much tech as you would need.
2023 Range Rover Sport real-world mileage, performance
0 to 100 kmph - 6.4s
30 to 50 kmph - 1.7s
50 to 70 kmph - 1.8s
60 to 80 kmph - 1.9s
100 to 0 kmph - 47.8m, 3.8s
City - 4.9 kmpl
Highway - 9.3 kmpl
Overall - 6 kmpl
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Starts Rs 91.27 Lakhs