New car review: Range Rover Sport SE (183kW MY19.5)

The new Rangie exudes refinement and that sense of travelling in best of British style.

Land Rover reckon the Rangie Sport combines the refinement and capability of a large SUV with the performance of a sports car. But does it stack up to the company’s spin?

The popular Sport SE with 183kW turbodiesel V6 is the entry point into the Range Rover Sport diesel model hierarchy, and undercuts the price of rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

Standard equipment includes an eight-speed auto, paddle shifters, electric park brake, hill descent control, low-traction launch control, multi-mode Terrain Response system, electronic air suspension, trailer stability assist, front/rear recovery eyes, and LED headlights with Signature DRLs.

Tick also a power tailgate, 19” alloys, 14-way power seats, ambient interior lighting, leather trim, two-zone climate, security alarm, rear camera, dual 10” touchscreens, Navigation Pro, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and lane departure warning.

There’s no shortage of expensive options including DAB+ radio, 360⁰ camera, self-park system, driver assistance features, HUD, traffic-sign recognition, two-speed transfer box and other off-road enhancements.

Range Rover Sport Interior

The 183kW, 600Nm turbodiesel is a solid punchy performer with minimal lag evident on acceleration, and a decent spread of torque that together with the very smooth shifting eight-speed auto, ensures good drivability. Buyers who really feel they need more get up and go can opt for the 225kW diesel or even the potent 386kW or 423kW 5.0-litre V8 petrol models.

The Rangie exudes refinement with the engine giving little clue to occupants that it’s a diesel. And that sense of travelling in best of British style continues thanks to height adjustable air suspension that has it wafting along comfortably dismissing road imperfections.

Comfortable seating and a premium finish including thick-pile carpet in the cargo area, quality leather trim and plenty of soft-touch surfaces throughout the cabin continue the theme.

Dynamics are quite impressive for a large off-road capable SUV though there’s obvious body roll through tighter turns and rapid direction changes. But its near-2200kg mass, high stance and design requirements for genuine off-road capability limit how sporty it can be, even if there’s a Sport badge on its elegant rump. Some of its German rivals get closer on that score.

But off-road the Brit hits back proving more able to tackle tough terrain, even without the optional low range box and off-road goodies. The Terrain Response system has programs to suit varying surfaces including mud, ruts, sand, gravel, snow, and grass, while the suspension can be raised for extra ground clearance.

KEY STATS

  • MLP: $107,400 (plus on-road costs)
  • ENGINE: 3.0-litre, turbodiesel V6
  • ANCAP SAFETY RATING: 5 stars (2013)
  • TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 204

FOR:

Ride comfort, prestige finish, space, on-road manners with off-road talent, full-size spare.

AGAINST:

Lots of expensive options, like other prestige brands warranty should be longer.

Range Rover Sport Rear