2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Test Drive

2015  Range Rover Sport side 2By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
Crossovers are the result of mixing the characteristics of an SUV with those of a car. In most cases the outcome is a compromise that looks SUVish but has diluted off-road capabilities.

We think the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport may be the one of the best crossovers built, because it maintains 100 percent of its SUV capabilities with the crossover capabilities not unlike those of a world class sport sedan — it’s the best of both worlds.
The only thing more we could ask for is a Land Rover convertible and a diesel engine option…but wait, there is a Land Rover convertible and a diesel engine coming soon, but those are future stories.

2015  Range Rover Sport front q2015  Range Rover Sport Osprey watching

The Range Rover Sport entered the Land Rover lineup in 2005 to bridge the gap between the legendary Range Rover and the Freelander, Discovery and smaller models. It was redesigned and reengineered in 2014 and the result is roomier, very attractive and more vibrant.

The new Range Rover Sport was developed starting with an all-new aluminum architecture including a new lightweight suspension design from the larger Range Rover and tailoring it to fit the smaller Sport. The result is the best performing and fastest Land Rover ever built.

2015  Range Rover Sport front

The aluminum architecture and lightweight suspension cut the weight by about 800 pounds helping to improve performance, handling, fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

2015  Range Rover Sport rear q2

The heart and soul of the 2015 Range Rover Sport are supercharged engines including the standard 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, the latest generation 510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 and a new high performance SVR 550-hp version of the supercharged V-8. This trio of engines produces 0 to 60 mph times of 6.9-, 5.0- and 4.3-seconds respectively – remember these are 2.5-ton crossovers. For those interested in such numbers, the SVR has a track top speed limited to 162 mph. However, the most visceral feature of the V-8 is its deep, rich exhaust note which rivals nearly every V-8.

Our 510-hp V-8 test vehicle has an EPA fuel economy rating is 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. We averaged 17.1 mpg in mixed driving and with a few spirited sprints, which we made just to hear the exhaust note.

2015  Range Rover Sport interior

The engines have a new Stop/Start fuel saving technology that shuts off the engine at stoplights or longer pauses at stop signs to save fuel. This system is much smoother and quicker than most similar systems we’ve driven.

2015  Range Rover Sport dash

The eight-speed ZF transmission is brilliant with quick and positive shifts up or down. The V-8 comes with standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, but they are an option on the V-6. The console-mounted transmission shifter is more pro-active than the dial used on the top level Range Rover. The Sport utilizes a conventional shifter with a button to put the transmission into park and a gated shifter control for manual shifting.

2015  Range Rover Sport cargo area

Located to the rear of the console-mounted shifter is the Terrain Response® 2 system control. During spirited driving, the system sets up the vehicle for a firmer ride, tighter body control, reduced roll and more responsive steering along with quicker throttle and transmission responses. For off road, the Terrain Response® 2 uses the Active Rear Locking Differential for better traction and Torque Vectoring to move power to the wheels with the best traction. The system is actually capable of controlling the front and rear suspension independently.

Off-road there is no question of the Range Rover Sport’s abilities. The driver simply turns the dial to the best Terrain Response®2 setting including General, Dynamic, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Rock Crawl or Auto which intelligently selects the most appropriate mode and it goes almost anywhere it’s pointed, as long as it doesn’t break the law – of gravity.

2015  Range Rover Sport 3rd row

The plush 2015 Range Rover Sport seating is classified as a 5+2 with an available third row for occasional use. When the occasional seating is not needed, it hides quickly under the floor so it doesn’t take up cargo space. The posh British-styled interior is filled with soft leathers with twin needle stitching, real wood and aluminum trim in a clean simple look with excellent placement of controls and instrumentation. The navigation system is improved, but still could be faster acting for our tastes.

The redesigned Range Rover Sport has a fresh interpretation of the Land Rover DNA. The new look is more aerodynamic with a steeper windscreen angle and rear-sloping version of Land Rovers signature floating roof-look. The significantly longer wheelbase cuts the front and rear overhangs for better off-road entry and exit angles. It also gives it a more contemporary look.

2015  Range Rover Sport front q2

Base models have standard analog style instruments with a five-inch display screen in the middle for messages and indicators. Upper level models have a new 12.3-inch high-resolution display, which looks three-dimensional. The display changes when different drive modes are selected to provide more information for the driver. There is also an eight-inch high-resolution touchscreen on the center stack for the navigation system, audio and other vehicle functions.

 

2015 Range Rover Sport sideThe 2015 Range Rover Sport comes in five models: SE, HSE, Supercharged, Autobiography and SVR. The SE and HSE are both powered by the supercharged V-6 engine and have starting prices of $65,945 and $70,945 respectively, including the destination charge. The V-8-powered Sport Supercharged starts at $83,690, the Autobiography model is $94,290 and the new SVR performance model is $112,345.
Some of the new safety features and driver aids are adaptive Xenon headlights with Auto High Beam Assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, surround camera system and systems that detect front or rear traffic.

2015  Range Rover Sport rear qSome of the new safety features and driver aids are adaptive Xenon headlights with Auto High Beam Assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, surround camera system and systems that detect front or rear traffic.

With it’s cool persona, comfortable appointments, outstanding performance, and world class off-road abilities the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is the ultimate crossover and for that matter, one of the best all-around vehicles you can buy.

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