I'm not the biggest Range Rover guy, but I really enjoyed my time with this SUV. Although I know the ute is still a capable off-roader (so too are most Land Rovers), I was able to play with this toy only on the street - the environment that most, if not all, Range Rover Sport models are destined for.
Unlike the Land Cruiser, the driving dynamics of the Range Rover aren't compromised in favor of off-road chops. Even though it rides a bit trucky, the air suspension at all four corners kept things comfortable and compliant. I'd even go so far as to say that it's floaty, which disappoints me - I'd expect that in the larger Range Rover, but the Sport model shouldn't be quite as soft. Can I at least select a sport suspension mode? Please?
I'm also not sure I'd spend the extra cash for the supercharged model. Although it moves the beast around OK, it could really use the extra 30 ponies given to a similar engine in the Jaguar XF. I did, however, fall in love with the six-speed automatic transmission. It occasionally hunted for gears in sport mode, but the shifts were silky-smooth and rather quick. I do wish kickdowns were quicker in normal mode, however - for highway passing or merging I usually shoved the shifter into sport mode, letting me tap into the rev band sooner than later. Still, with such a technique, I wonder if I'd find solace in the base 300-hp model instead. I imagine I could...
I was a bit surprised at how narrow the cockpit feels. I'll attribute that in part to the wide center console, but the adjustable armrests - squeezed between each bucket seat and the center console's own armrest - made things worse.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer