This expensive SUV can tackle mountains one moment and then carve corners on a racetrack the next. Due to this wide range (pun intended) of capabilities, the 2014 Range Rover Sport Supercharged is, arguably, the finest all-around vehicle in the world right now.
Do you, in fact, need to scale a mountain? Do you enjoy being cosseted by a sumptuous cabin and surrounded by the latest infotainment and other technology? Do you require seating for up to seven passengers? Do you prefer to have your sports utility vehicle with the accent firmly placed on the “sports”?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions,—and you have the means—the Range Rover Sport Supercharged is right up your gravel-strewn, pothole-marred, country-club alleyway.
The Range Rover Sport comes in two distinct models, one powered by a 3.0-litre supercharged V-6 (340 hp; 332 lb-ft torque), the other with a 5.0-litre supercharged V-8 (510 hp; 461 lb-ft). To confuse matters, although all engines are supercharged, only the base version of the V-8 model is called the Range Rover Sport Supercharged.
The vehicles have different 4WD systems, with only the V8 version featuring a brand-appropriate, two-speed transfer case with a low setting for when the going gets extremely tough. The V-8 is also the only Range Rover Sport with paddle shifters for the 8-speed automatic and a dynamic mode for its Terrain Response System. This system gives the vehicle competence in such a wide variety of settings.
Prior models in the Land Rover/Range Rover fleet have allowed drivers to dial in the perfect setting for grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, sand rocks and tarmac. This second-generation version is more impressive. With the new automatic mode, sensors feed bits of information 500 times per second to determine the type of surface underneath the wheels and selects the optimum traction settings.
The latest Range Rover Sport also benefits from recent advances in aluminum construction; this model is some 290 kilograms lighter. This weight loss translates into better acceleration, better fuel efficiency and a more robust chassis even more suited for serious driving, on-road or off.
I’ve witnessed any number of displays of off-road capability , but SUVs bearing the Land Rover logo seem uniquely able to scale impossible-looking climbs while fitted with street-performance tires. The Range Rover Sport will crawl up a rock face that would send the average SUV to the scrap heap. Then it will take corners at speeds that would leave many a sport sedan in its wake. It just may be the best all-around vehicle in the world.
2014 Range Rover Sport Supercharged
Type: Luxury SUV
Base price: $91,490
Engine: Supercharged 5.0-litre V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: 4-wheel drive
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 16.2 city; 10.4 hwy
Alternatives: Audi Q7, BMW X5, Lexus LX, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover, VW Touareg
Looks: Evokes the look of the, err, Evoque to create a sporty presence in both urban and remote settings.
Interior: Quality, appearance, workmanship and ergonomics—the Range Rover Sport has it all.
Performance: Fast on the road and more than capable off-road.
Technology: The 4WD system is sheer brilliance; supporting technology, including a 360-degree camera, is flat-out cool.
Cargo: This is a sport sedan disguised as an SUV with the cargo capacity of an SUV.
Verdict 9.5/10: The level of engineering at work here is truly impressive.
You’ll like this car if… You have a definite aversion to compromise in your choice of vehicle.
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