Viewed : 2,541 times

04 Mar 2023

What We Dislike
Still big and heavy
Engine's vocals could be louder
Intrusive traction control systems when driven hard

The latest Range Rover Sport is a luxury off-roader that's surprisingly light on its feet and feels more agile than its predecessor.

Standing nearly five metres long and towering over 1.8 metres tall, the Range Rover Sport is not the car that you picture when the phrase 'nice handling' comes to mind. Especially when you also discover that the luxury SUV weighs nearly 2.4 tonnes sans driver.

That is a lot of British sheet-metal to move in a dynamic manner.

Yet this is exactly what Land Rover says the Range Rover Sport can do - apart from going off-road, of course. In other words, you can drive the RR Sport while pretending to be a Secret Service or MI5 agent trying to get their VVIP to safety while being chased by baddies.

The scenario

Beneath the sleek and stylish exterior is a muscular character that's eager to be tested
Now, despite not having any VVIPs to protect or villains to run from, I tried to simulate such a scenario by putting the Range Rover Sport through a specially created 'circuit' at Changi Exhibition Centre.

Said circuit, marked using strategically placed cones, has long sweeping bends punctuated by two hairpin corners. It is designed to be driven counterclockwise.

Motivating the Range Rover Sport is a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Kicking out 394bhp and 550Nm of torque, it can propel the SUV from rest to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds. Impressively, that's quicker than a Golf GTI, which does the same in 6.4 seconds.

Crank up these settings and the SUV becomes more engaging and responsive
At idle, the Range Rover Sport is quiet and unassuming, with no indication of its abilities. However, the SUV is merely waiting for the driver to unleash his or her aggressive tendencies.

With the eight-speed automatic transmission in 'S' and the engine also set to Dynamic, the Range Rover Sport accelerates as quick as stated. The only reason you don't think so is because the cabin's refinement insulates you from the proceedings.

Gun the straight-six past the 5,000rpm mark and its throaty soundtrack finally reaches your ears. With 22-inch wheels, the car doesn't have much steering feel, but the helm is responsive.

Latest RR Sport overcomes inertia better than its predecessor and feels lighter on its feet, too
Keep the accelerator pedal pinned midway as you tackle a long sweeper and you'll find the RR Sport understeering in a linear and predictable manner, with the tyres wailing in protest as they try to keep the SUV on your chosen trajectory.

The air suspension helped in this regard. If you take a left-hander hard, you notice the dampers on the right compensating by increasing the ride height to help 'push' the car's body towards the left.

The Range Rover Sport is very forgiving. Despite carrying even more speed and making the tyres howl in pain as the SUV slides towards the outside of a corner, backing off the throttle eases the vehicle back into your chosen trajectory in a predictable fashion. Unless you drive with the intention of getting into an accident, it won't bite back.

The secret agent's choice

RR Sport works well in long sweeping bends, and when the ESP remains in the background
That said, the Range Rover Sport's electronic nannies are vigilant to the point of being aggressive, especially when you try to tackle tighter corners at speed.

The hairpin turns on the circuit never failed to trigger them. It's probably down to the combination of speed, steering angle and the car's movement, but the electronics intervened by cutting the engine's power and applying the brakes.

The result was the RR Sport suddenly slowing to a crawl right when you needed (and demanded) more power to get you around the bend. I had no desire to attempt the same manoeuvre with the traction control off, but a colleague who did said that it did not help matters.

Air suspension helps cornering by increasing the ride height on one side to help 'tuck' the Range Rover Sport into the turn
That said, most drivers won't push the Range Rover Sport close to its limits anyway. But if they did, it's good to know that the SUV can at least handle a few bouts of hard driving - without breaking a sweat - should the situation call for it.

So, if I ever had to escape villains who were intent on kidnapping the VVIP I'm chauffeuring, my route planning had better be meticulous, as I'd need to avoid places with tight turns. I should not attempt making dynamic U-turns either.

The good news is that even from a short but punishing 20-minute stint, it's clear that the new SUV feels more agile and dynamic than the older model.

It would be even more interesting to see how the car acquaints itself off-road, which to both the brand and its buyers, is just as important as how it goes on paved surfaces.
Car Information
Land Rover Range Rover Sport Mild Hybrid 3.0P Dynamic SE (A)
Rate it


: $612,999

Engine Type


6-cylinder in-line 24-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap





294kW (394 bhp) / 6500 rpm



550 Nm / 5000 rpm



8-Speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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