First Drive: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

It comes as no surprise the 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport shares its upgraded engines and transmission with the 2010 Land Rover Range Rover. The Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have always been very similar with the main difference being the slightly more rakish exterior on the Sport and more demure handling on the regular Range Rover. Now there are even bigger differences between the two Range Rovers.

Aging Gracefully
Though the appearance changes for all 2010 Land Rovers are pretty slight, the Range Rover Sport is perhaps the easiest to tell apart from its predecessor. The LED headlights are sure to impress valets and two-bar grille looks a bit tidier than the outgoing design. There are new front fenders, but they are hardly revolutionary in design. Out back new taillights and a redesigned bumped balance out the changes to the front. The wheel arches have been redesigned to improve aerodynamics and highlight the 19- and 20-inch wheels.

The Real Treat is Inside
Of course owners will spend a lot more time inside the range Rover Sport than admiring the outside, so it makes sense that the majority of the design upgrades are in the cabin. We're thrilled that the Range Rover Sport now looks as upscale as its price suggests, with an abundance of soft-touch plastics, softer leather, and wood trim. Additionally, the entire infotainment system is much more intuitive and half of its buttons have been eliminated. Optional adjustable side bolsters help the front seats fit drivers of all sizes and the seats are more comfortable to boot.

More Tech Toys
Like the other 2010 Land Rovers, the Range Rover Sport has a lot of optional gadgets. The surround-view camera system is very helpful during off-road excursions, though Range Rover Sport owners would be wise to use it during parking maneuvers to keep those big wheels free of scuffs. High beam assist allows the vehicle to automatically switch between high and low beam headlights as traffic allows. The hard drive navigation system is much faster than the old system and iPod integration is very good.

A fancy, 5.0-inch TFT display is situated between the speedometer and tachometer, but currently it can only display basic information about the vehicle. We hope a software upgrade will allow information about what song is playing, or navigation directions, to be displayed in this location. It can be much less distracting to look down to the instrument cluster for navigation info rather than looking down and to the right at a nav screen. Such an arrangement could also allow navigation information to be displayed to a driver and infotainment information to be displayed to a passenger, or vice-versa.

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