Now, here’s a question that you might not know the answer to but will almost certainly have an opinion on. Is the Range Rover Sport one of the most influential cars of the modern era?
A decade or so ago it seemed like all the celebrities were arriving to events in a Range Rover Sport, and since then the SUV market has exploded. Now nearly everybody wants one. Furthermore, almost every manufacturer is now making them.
The Sport is not really a full-blown Range Rover. It’s a lot cheaper for a start, and doesn’t come with the option of seven seats. This is a lower, smaller ‘Rangie’, designed to appeal to a slightly sporty, successful crowd. And the focus has moved from out-and-out luxury to one that is more about power and pure on-road use.
Of course, it’s a Range Rover, so it is well equipped, and the interior is of a high quality. The Windsor leather seats are impeccable – but the Sport is quite different to the full ‘Range Rover’. There are three diesels, two petrols, and even a new hybrid powertrain to choose from – and all are tuned primarily for clout.
Being designed for on-road action, rather than the full-blown Range Rover’s off-road capability, the Sport comes with optional air suspension. This keeps it comfortable and composed, even when cornering hard. The issue with driving it fast is more the size than the capability of the car. Britain’s most enjoyable roads are just a bit too small to be throwing a two-tonne SUV around, however good it might be.
The Range Rover Sport is a status symbol, a luxury cruiser, and an enjoyable car to drive hard. But it’s expensive to buy and run – especially with its more commanding engines. And it’s not certain that the new hybrid unit can deliver on the claimed figures. Nevertheless, those who want one won’t be put off by such trivial matters.