I completely agree with Joe DeMatio. There's just something special about the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, which is pretty remarkable when you consider how much they share under the skin with the Land Rover LR4. The I-don't-give-a-damn-about-aerodynamics design, the variety of rich interior materials, and the robust power delivery combine to make the Range Rover family of SUVs feel much better than the sum of their very impressive components.
The supercharged Range Rover Sport is a wolf in sheep's clothing. This vehicle looks (and is) incredibly heavy, boxy, and certainly has a large footprint. But behind the wheel it seems much smaller, lighter, and certainly a whole lot faster than you'd imagine by looking at the exterior. The fact that a Range Rover Sport still felt fast to me when the last car I drove was a Subaru WRX STI says a lot about the overall tuning of the Rover's powertrain.
My only gripe lies with the rather archaic touch-screen infotainment unit. It takes me far too long to accomplish basic tasks like changing a radio frequency or moving from navigation to audio functions. I realize it's a pretty minor complaint, but I guarantee owners will spend more time wrestling with this interface than indulging in the full range of the engine's superb power band. Still, the fashion-crazed status-symbol set will likely tolerate this imperfection to have that undeniable curb appeal and presence that comes standard with every Range Rover. And I can't fault them for that.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
As my colleagues have described in detail, the Range Rover Sport's interior is comfortable, opulent, meticulously detailed, etcetera, etcetera. The quintessentially British mix of both comfort and luxury has been a Range Rover hallmark for decades, so it's not surprising that the company has been able to execute it all to perfection.
The supercharged 510-hp V-8 doesn't seem the least bit hampered by the Range Rover's 5700-pound curb weight. I do have one complaint, however. At very low speeds (think a crowded parking lot) acceleration is extremely non-linear. You reach a point in the throttle travel where the vehicle stops creeping and practically lurches forward, as if the horses can no longer stand to feel so constrained. It takes a feather-light touch on the throttle to keep things moving along at a slow pace. This behavior off the line is fine for aggressive driving, but it might be a problem when driving in traffic.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor