Tested: 2016 Range Rover Sport Supercharged

Let’s face it, spending a week driving any new Range Rover is hardly a chore. But the task is made even more delightful when Land Rover's buff 5.0-litre V8 is found under the hood.

I drove this muscle-bound Range Rover Sport from one side of Michigan to the next while it was in my charge. And though I almost completely avoided both mud and ruts in that time (there were a few puddles) I still came away with almost completely positive impressions of the legendary off-roader’s latest incarnation.

Pros:

  • Somewhere in recent years Range Rover interiors have gone from great to outstanding, with first-class finishes, leather quality, and overall design. Even though I’d like another inch of width in the driver’s seats – and remember that I’m a well over six feet tall and two-hundred and forty pounds – the chairs are massively comfortable over the long haul. I put well over 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) on the Sport in a week, and could’ve done another thousand without feeling much stiffness or soreness. I know I mentioned this the last time I reviewed a Range Rover, but the 1,700-watt Meridian sound system (a $6,500 option) is heavenly for long drives, as well.
  • For 2016, Range Rover will sell you a Sport model with two quite sensible and enjoyable 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engines: one gasoline fed, one diesel. Nice though both of those engines are, given my preference I’d take this supercharged 5.0-litre, V8 grinder every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. The 510 horsepower, 461 pound-feet output ratings make this giant sled wickedly quick, both from a standing start (0-100 in just 5.3 seconds) and while passing lesser vehicles on the freeway. The available power, associated exhaust note, and smoothness of the eight-speed automatic transmission all speak to both driving joy, and luxury.
  • Just above the Range Rover Sport Supercharged is the SVR version of the sporting ute, which is admittedly a degree more athletic. But for daily use, I’d take this version, with more than enough power and looks, and roughly $30k in change. Same argument against stupid-fast SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, by the way.
  • You wouldn’t expect to find a lot of “good values” in the Range Rover options catalog, but here’s one: the $537 USD (estimated $695 CAD) Protection Package. That’s five hundred bucks for front, rear, and tailgate floor mats, yeah. But the mats are really thick, well-made, and good looking, and the package also includes a collapsible cargo carrier that makes the load area far more suitable for the humdrum task of grocery shopping.

Cons:

  • Even hooked up to that eight-ratio transmission, this is far from a frugal vehicle. I struggled to hit the EPA-rated 19 miles per gallon (14.7 L/100 km NRCAN rating) in my highway driving – admittedly over the posted speed limit of 70 MPH (112 km/h) most of the time. But the fact is, with this much easy power you’ll be hard pressed to keep the consumption in check.
  • The overhauled software and hardware that runs this Jaguar Land Rover infotainment suite can’t come fast enough. The current system is adequate, but just, for a vehicle at this top-tier price.
  • More of a personal preference than a true demerit, but if I were buying this truck today, I’d leave the glossy-finish “Grand Black Lacquer” wood trim off the options list. I’ve rarely met an auto-interior surface more disposed to displaying fingerprints; quickly defeating its sleek-design mission.

Competitors:

  • Audi Q7
  • BMW X5
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Infiniti QX70
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE Class
  • Volvo XC90
Engine Supercharged 5.0L V8
Output 510 Horsepower / 461 Pound-Feet
Transmission 8-Speed Automatic
NRCAN Fuel Economy 16.6 Highway / 12.3 City / 14.7 Combined L/100 km
Weight 2,310 KG (5,093 lbs)
0-96 KM/H 5.0 Seconds
Top Speed 249 KM/H
Base Price $92,990
As-Tested Price $92,347 USD (US model tested)
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