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The all-new 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport combines a sports car-like performance with impressive off-road capability, excelling on both counts. An OER review.

Redesigned from the frame up, Land Rover has turned its sportiest SUV into a preferred family-hauler for those who demand the best in their SUVs. The Range Rover Sport still has its iconic and stately looks. The sharp angles and block like shapes from the previous iterations give way to a more well rounded and neatly proportioned body.

More agile and capable than the outgoing model, the 2014 Range Rover Sport features a new Terrain Response system as well as a line-up of more powerful and efficient engines. The Range Rover Sport also has a completely new look, striking a fine balance between the larger Range Rover and smaller Evoque. Although off-road capabilities have always been part of the Range Rover Sport’s appeal, owners of this luxury SUV typically spend more of their time driving in town than outdoors.

So the all new Range Rover should be right up your alley if you’re looking for a do-it-all utility vehicle loaded with high-end ambience. The improvements on the 2014 Range Rover Sport can be seen from a distance. Thanks to a new all-aluminium chassis shared with the standard-size Range Rover, it has lost more than 700 pounds by Land Rover’s estimates. This, along with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, results in higher fuel economy ratings. And that’s not all it comes in two variants – the supercharged V8 and a new supercharged V6 that provides solid performance and even better mileage.

In spite of its weight loss, the 2014 Range Rover Sport is actually longer and wider than its predecessors, and this has opened up more passenger room in the cabin and allowed Land Rover to offer a third-row seat for the first time. The third row is just for children, and small ones at that, but it broadens the Land Rover Range Rover Sport’s appeal in this class.
Land Rover has also applied many of the Range Rover Evoque’s design cues to the Sport, which now looks sleek, attractive and expensive.

Style quotient

The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a midsize five-passenger SUV with an optional third-row seat that increases capacity to seven. It’s available in two trim levels: SE and Supercharged. Standard features on the SE trim include 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, power-folding heated mirrors, a self-levelling air suspension, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, keyless ignition/entry, 14-way adjustable power front seats, front seat memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control. Also standard are a voice-controlled navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system with a 10-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack and USB/iPod integration.

The HSE option package adds 20-inch wheels, fog lights, a panoramic sunroof, upgraded perforated leather upholstery, wood or metal interior trim and heated front seats.

The Supercharged trim level includes all of the standard SE and HSE equipment, plus a V8 engine; a more sophisticated four-wheel-drive system (with low-range gearing and a rear limited-slip differential); an upgraded suspension with both adaptive damping and roll stabilisation; and steering-wheel paddle shifters for the transmission.

A third-row seat is optional on all versions of the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and on the base SE, it’s paired with 20-inch wheels. Stand-alone options for all trim levels include 22-inch wheels, all-speed adaptive cruise control with emergency braking and a rear entertainment system.

Powertrains and performance

The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is available with two supercharged engines. Standard on all SE models is a 3.0-liter V6 rated at 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Range Rover Sport Supercharged models come with a 5.0-liter V8 that develops 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

All Range Rover Sport models also come with full-time four-wheel drive, hill descent control, hill start assist and Land Rover’s Terrain Response system. The SE comes standard with a light-duty, single-speed 4WD system, while the Supercharged model is equipped with a two-speed transfer case that provides high- and low-range gearing for more serious off-roading. This system is optional on SE models. Terrain Response features driver-selectable modes and optimises the vehicle’s powertrain, suspension and electronics for increased traction in gravel, snow, mud, sand and on rocks. Supercharged models have an additional dynamic mode that optimizes handing on pavement.

Land Rover says the V8-equipped Range Rover Sport can sprint from zero to 60 in 5.0 seconds, while the V6 covers the same ground in a claimed 6.9 seconds. A properly equipped Range Rover Sport with either engine can tow up to 7,700 pounds, according to Land Rover.

Safety features 

The 2014 Range Rover Sport comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, and first- and second-row side curtain airbags. Also standard are front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

Available safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic detection. The adaptive cruise control includes an emergency braking feature that automatically applies the brakes if a collision appears imminent.

Even though Range Rovers are capable of traversing the toughest terrain to the middle of nowhere, you’ll get there in the lap of luxury, surrounded by the new Range Rover Sport’s luxurious standard leather and loads of high-end amenities.

Overall, the interior feels much higher-end than the previous Range Rover Sport’s cabin. Land Rover has eliminated the questionable plastic pieces, and the abundant leather surfaces and wide variety of interior customisation options make the 2014 Range Rover Sport feel more sophisticated.

The highly adjustable front seats are comfortable and provide plenty of support. You sit lower than you do in the standard Range Rover and the centre console is higher, too, adding to the “cockpit” feel, but visibility is still excellent for an SUV. The pop-up gear selector knob from the previous Sport has been replaced by a conventional shifter on the console, and V8 models have paddle shifters mounted on the back of the steering wheel.

The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a great leap forward from the previous-generation Range Rover Sport when it comes to ride comfort and handling. It feels lighter and more composed in normal driving situations, and its reflexes are downright athletic on twisty back roads. If you’re expecting your next midsize luxury SUV to accompany you on all of life’s adventures regardless of the terrain, then you need to look no further than the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport.