back to article Range Rover Sport: Like a cathedral on wheels, only with comfier pews

It’s all about the headrests. Forget the 4.4 litre V8, the defining feature of the Range Rover Sport is the driver's headrest. It’s an analogue for the rest of the car: supremely comfortable and cosseting. It’s a bit fraudulent to review the “best four by four by far” without taking it on as much as a dirt road, let alone a …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    24 MPG urban is pretty impressive for a 4.4l V8 lugging around a 2ton+ car.

    I only get 14 MPG urban in my little 4.0V8 ( Jag XK8 ) which is only 15 years old. Amazing what they can do nowadays.

    1. Jim 59

      for the record, the numbers are Urban 24.6.mpg, Extra urban 37.2 mpg and Combined 32.5 mpg

      What actual MPG did you experience, on your trip to the posh 'otel ?

    2. Borg.King

      I only get 14 MPG urban in my little 4.0V8 ( Jag XK8 )

      Then you need to get that sorted out. I get better than that from my 13yo 6.0LV12 Aston Martin DB7.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I only get 14 MPG urban in my little 4.0V8 ( Jag XK8 )

        It gets 28 on the motorway, which is (iirc) over the stated mpg, so I don't think there's anything wrong with it - I think its gear ratios are set for motorway driving, it is a GT afterall.

    3. Ned (the original)

      I tested the range rover sport, but it is too common for my liking. I ended up with a cayenne and that averages 17 mpg. The Audi I have is pretty old now and averages 15 mpg.

      I really rated the air suspension in the mk 2 RR vogue which I drove all over Mozambique without a problem. And I now really like the Cayenne's air suspension. It makes it a lot more sporty when you press the button.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        The problem with the Porsche soft roaders is that they tend to make the owners look like nobs. Porsche sports car styling does not translate to the offroader look at all well.

        LR Air suspension does work well, surprisingly compliant off road compared to the coil spring live axle jobbies. My car is part coil part air and the back does ride better than the front.

        My problem with the RRS is that it is too small inside for its size and between two better cars, The L405 is pretty majestic despite the silly door grills. Then the D4 is roomier and more practical.

  2. Alister Silver badge

    Is there actually any mechanical difference (or size difference) between this Range Rover Sport, and the Range Rover (Vogue or Autobiography)?

    Looking at the site, it would seem not, the LWB version is available in all three ranges.

    I thought originally the Range Rover Sport was smaller than the mainstream Range Rover but this seems not to be the case now.

    They all seem to be getting bigger as time goes on, my Discovery Series 2 looks positively tiny compared to a new Range Rover, even the new Freelander is nearly as big.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      RRS is lower than RR.

      D4 is nice, but not as user servicable as anything with live axles.

      I can carry out most work on my D2 myself

  3. Banksy
    Trollface

    Dat reliability doe!

    Not sure I'd touch a Rangy with a bargepole even if I could afford one. Would rather a Porsche Macan if I wanted an SUV.

    1. tony2heads

      @Banksy

      If you are seriously going off-road (i.e loose gravel with washboarding and ruts left by heavy trucks, steep climbs, steep declines, 100km from the nearest filling station) get a Toyota Land Cruiser.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: @Banksy

        No a pre 2007 Defender

  4. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Alert

    Wotcha driving Simon?

    "you might think that something which does 0-60 in 6.5 seconds is sporty"

    I do. That's pretty quick.

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: Wotcha driving Simon?

      Oh it's quick. But there is a difference between "quick" and "sporty". The RR is far to cosseting to be sporty.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Wotcha driving Simon?

        "Oh it's quick. But there is a difference between "quick" and "sporty". The RR is far to cosseting to be sporty."

        I can't imagine what the 'S' in 'SUV' stands for then? Can you?

        Thinking about it, motor sports don't even need to be quick. Although there are better off roaders than this, in some off-road motor sports speed is not the primary goal. A bit like non motor sports, Geoff capes wasn't like Usain Bolt but did he not excel at sport?

        Getting all semantic about the word sport in the name is a bit silly really.

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Too cossetting to be sporty

          From my own, somewhat bitter memories (had a Stag AND a TR6 - glutton for punishment or what?), I think the British image of a truly sporty car involves a rainy layby, a lifted bonnet and LOTS of steam, but very little actual travel, unless the RAC came out to collect you.

          Happy Days

          1. Chris Parsons

            TR6

            Name something that could go wrong with a car and it happened to my TR:

            Wheel fell off

            Diff blew up

            Caught fire (twice)

            Engine seized

            Clutch seized

            And many, many more. Loved it, though, and would have it back tomorrow - as long as I had another car when I need to get somewhere.

    2. Lis 0r
      Devil

      Re: Wotcha driving Simon?

      Bless, car driver ideas of quick 0-60 times! Sooo cute ^_^

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wotcha driving Simon?

      "I do. That's pretty quick."

      Didn't feel it when I took the bosses for long drive back to the dealer and picked another up. In fact, the over-riding impression I had was what a sludgey unpleasant drive it was, although being automatic there's some contribution from the gearbag. So definitely Lord of the Road, but a bit undignified doing that mincey half-hop to get down out of it, not much fun to drive, and on a thirty mile round trip I made 16 MPG.

      But then again, this isn't a car for the likes of me, its a car for people with more money than sense to show the lesser mortals how much they can waste on a steel box to move them about. Kings of old used similar approaches with castles and crowns - in reality not of that much use, but great for demonstrating how far apart you are from the herd who actually create the wealth you're spending.

    4. launcap Silver badge

      Re: Wotcha driving Simon?

      >>"you might think that something which does 0-60 in 6.5 seconds is sporty"

      >I do. That's pretty quick.

      .. unless it's a motorbike. In which case it's pathetically slow.

  5. Dr_N Silver badge

    Access to a loaner test drive Range Rover...

    ...and no off-roading?

    What a waste of a chance at some fun.

  6. Lis 0r
    Trollface

    Issit though

    Pretty sure the defining feature of a range rover is the chief behind the wheel.

  7. MJI Silver badge

    My thoughts

    They are lower than the full fat Range Rover (which I prefer) but you sit too low behind the wheel.

    I felt more comfortable behind the wheel of a Discovery 4, but the big difference is when you go over very steep summits.

    You cannot see the ground, whereas you can on the higher seating position cars.

    This car is in market between what I would want.

    Family off roader, I'd go Discovery

    Luxury off roader, I'd go full fat Range Rover

    Full offroading, an older product like a pre 2007 Defender, or a Discovery 1 or 2

  8. sandman

    Very popular here...

    ... in Surrey. This - "“yes, traffic calming is for poor people" - explains why ;-)

    1. robin maddison

      Re: Very popular here...

      Surrey, yes all our dough is being sent north to the poor people so our potholed roads are shite, Always find money for a speed hump or seven though, so a

      RR makes sense. I have a Freelander 2, Damn sight cheaper, feels like driving and RR, and 43 to the gallon, what's not to like?

  9. Neil 44

    Marlow Bridge

    At least you were in good company: lots of Chelsea Tractors in Marlow...

    You may, or may not, be aware that Marlow Bridge has a weight limit of 3 tonnes.

    In the old days it was really only lorries that exceeded this gross weight. However some of the increasingly popular large vehicles in common use today are quite heavy and the owners may be completely unaware that they do in fact exceed the bridges weight limit, even in an unladen state.

    For example the following vehicles are, and have always been, to heavy to go over Marlow bridge:

    Range Rover- 3.2 tonnes

    ******* Range Rover Sport- 3.175 tonnes ********

    Land Rover Discovery 4- 3.24 tonnes

    Land Rover Defender 110- 3.05 tonnes

    Mitsubishi Shogun- 3.03 tonnes

    Toyota Landcruiser v8- 3.35 tonnes

    1. John Miles

      Re: Marlow Bridge

      where are you getting those weights from? Parkers has a V8 Land Cruiser at 2.7 metric tonnes (or about 3 short ton

      1. Chris Parsons

        Re: Marlow Bridge

        That is very, very heavy for what is, after all, a car.

    2. Steven Burn

      Re: Marlow Bridge

      I'm screwed then .... my Jeep Commander is 4783 according to its spec sheet :o( (unlikely to get go over that bridge though, hadn't even heard of it before your post)

  10. elaar

    "The RRP of the car as tested is £97,600."

    Don't forget the extra cost of the obligatory vanity plate, which is required to be worn after 6months.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Don't forget the extra cost of the obligatory vanity plate, which is required to be worn after 6months.

      Don't be silly, one would already own the plate. It's just £80 to transfer it off the holding certificate.

      1. Smudger 1

        Shiny shiny

        I think the OP is implying that you run around boasting you have a brand new vehicle for six months before transferring your (no-doubt pre-existing) vanity plate.

  11. Steve 114
    Thumb Down

    Constrained rear

    The disappointment is the lowered roof at the back, and the widthwise restriction aloft there. Abandon hope, if you want to take a wardrobe to the hills.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a minute...is this a review or a cut and paste job?

    Can someone explain how it is possible to admit in the first part of the article that no off-roading or otherwise challenging driving was done and then to write later that the car "is even better suited to more challenging terrains"?

    Range Rovers are lovely land yachts, but they left their off-roading credentials behind years ago. If I'm pulling a trailer up a wet muddy hill, I want a Land Rover Defender or a Jeep Wrangler. If I'm (ahem) "advising a foreign government" in somewhere hot and sandy I want a Toyota Land Cruiser. If I want my ears to work after 30 minutes on tarmac, I want a Range Rover.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Hang on a minute...is this a review or a cut and paste job?

      RRS works well off road, just the visibility

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Hang on a minute...is this a review or a cut and paste job?

        Thumbs down, has anyone actually driven one?

        The visibilty down is not good, but otherwise it is good off road. Just I prefer the full fat RR or the Discovery.

        Someone I know were looking at a large offroader and the RRS was too small inside. So bought a D4.

    2. Bloakey1

      Re: Hang on a minute...is this a review or a cut and paste job?

      I thought it was a bit of a hagiography as well. I have a Freelander for bikes and dogs with off roading in hills but if I was to do some real off roading as I used to do in Africa then it would be the Toyota Landcruiser.

      Range Rovers and to some extent Land Rovers tend to be top heavy. hence the army radio message "Rolled the rover over, over"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmmm

    Can't park in Tesco and just navigating the car park was too difficult, not to mention being amazed by automatic parking which has been around on far, far cheaper cars for about 5+ years. Not sure the author should be driving, let alone reviewing high end cars..

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm

      I think knowing the existence of Tesco disqualifies you from reviewing high end cars.

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: Hmmmm

        Tescos is brilliant... at keeping the scum out of Waitrose

  14. Yugguy

    Retinas

    The best thing about driving an RR is the ability to boil the retinas of the working class with your headlights.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Retinas

      The best thing about driving a 40+ year-old Series is the ability to repay the favour in kind when faced with a refusal to dip beams. They don't like it up 'em!

      (Doubly so when I've just done a rally and haven't yet removed the extra candlepower.)

  15. s. pam
    Paris Hilton

    You also cannot take it over Marlow Bridge (even if you're a Yummy Mummy)

    The funny thing is all the Yummy Mummy Brigade in Marlow are all up in arms crying into their White Wine that they get tickets for taking RR's over the bridge as they're 1/2 tonne too heavy.

    The vehicle is heavier than a WW I Sherman Tank and will earn the owner s £120 / 6 penalty point fine if you happen to get caught on the bridge in the background driving over it.

    The pictures were obviously shot at the very trendy Compleat Angler in Marlow by the wier.

    1. mhoneywell

      Re: You also cannot take it over Marlow Bridge (even if you're a Yummy Mummy)

      "The pictures were obviously shot at the very trendy Compleat Angler in Marlow by the wier."

      Presumably by someone whose never used a camera before..they are awful - manage to make an extremely expensive, luxurious car look like a second hand car-boot-fair runner.

    2. cosymart
      Headmaster

      Re: You also cannot take it over Marlow Bridge (even if you're a Yummy Mummy)

      @ s.pam <Pedant Mode>The Sherman is a WWII Tank and weighed 30Tonnes. </Pedant Mode>

    3. Bloakey1

      Re: You also cannot take it over Marlow Bridge (even if you're a Yummy Mummy)

      <snip>

      "WW I Sherman Tank "

      <snip>

      Lies, there is no such thing as a WW 1 Sherman! Wrong war old chap.

  16. Shades

    Third Row Seat

    "Buttons control the rise and fall of the seats for the little ones you’ll put in the back."

    Cathedral on wheels or not, anyone who puts their kids (or anyone for that matter) on the third row of seats is a massive f*cking idiot!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4nMXcB7ffI

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Third Row Seat

      That's actually no different to using the back seats in some sub-compact cars.

      The film was a pretty unlikely scenario, so to use your reasoning we would arrive at the following refinement:

      "anyone who puts their kids (or anyone for that matter) in a car on a public road is a massive f*cking idiot!"

      So we live our entire lives in fear.

  17. veti Silver badge
    WTF?

    Is El Reg bidding to replace Top Gear now, or what?

  18. James Cane

    Sport?

    What sport is that? Sumo wrestling?

  19. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    If I was looking for an SUV...

    I'd rather just buy a new Jeep, a good used sports car, and still have enough money left to pay off a good chunk of my mortgage without touching the Rover's price. And still get better reliability and as good of off-road ability out of the Jeep. (but I'm not rich enough to be able to aspire to that degree of impracticality)

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: If I was looking for an SUV...

      Good for you mate. Now we all know which car you would choose.

      But this £100K car is aimed at a different target market so don't worry yourself about it.

      And why do people still bang on about reliability? There are no unreliable cars anymore, it's not 1981 and we don't pull out chokes and flood cylinders. 90+ % of all cars just work. The last truly unreliable marque was TVR and they had mitigating circumstances.

      If you check the surverys, the difference in actual scores between first and last is really very small and much car breaking has a lot to do with operator incompetence.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: If I was looking for an SUV...

        And why do people still bang on about reliability? There are no unreliable cars anymore, it's not 1981 and we don't pull out chokes and flood cylinders.

        The Land Rover brand has had a well deserved reputation for poor reliability with their recent vehicles, particularly to do with their electronics and electrical systems. The early Discovery 4s in particular were known to suffer from various problems on a regular basis.

        However, I do believe most of these have been sorted in the last few years.

        From my own experience in a Discovery 2, the wiring loom to the ECU has required replacement due to oil contamination twice now, due to poor design, and the sunroofs are known to leak badly, although mine doesn't have this problem.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: If I was looking for an SUV...

          D2 injector loom

          How else can they get signals to the uint injectors?

          Easy just to replace when necessary, not a bad job. Just annoying, but the design does work.

          Sun roofs. Mine had a broken pipe, now dry inside

      2. DaneB
        Mushroom

        Re: If I was looking for an SUV...

        50 percent of cars become uneconomical after eight years use and / or the overcomplicated electrics make them unrunnable long before. Any eco waffle manufacturers give is total BS. Give me a 1990s Toyota any day.

        (I understand this isn't of any relevance to a pimped up posh assholes' car like the one in the review, but it could be written as a comment to any over-electrified modern car review. )

    2. Steven Burn

      Re: If I was looking for an SUV...

      Might change your mind, price wise, if you drive mine (only bought last year (8K, 14K financed), already had to spend 5K for repairs to it (my fault for knowing shag all about cars I suppose), and has now developed a lovely "shuddering" sensation sporadically (caused the check engine light to come on last weekend, no idea why - stopped, checked the oil, it went away) - which reminds me, still need to call the garage).

      Still love my Jeep' though (old CG, Commander (my favourite of the entire Jeep range) or if I had to, the Patriot)

  20. Grandma Funk

    What's with all the Marlow bashing?

    "Yummy Mummy Brigade crying into their white wines"?

    Say what now?

    -Marlow Resident (that's not yummy, a mummy, or drinks white wine)

  21. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    re: If I was looking for an SUV ...

    "From my own experience in a Discovery 2, the wiring loom to the ECU has required replacement due to oil contamination twice now, due to poor design, and the sunroofs are known to leak badly, although mine doesn't have this problem."

    Sunroofs leak in lots of cars, electrical faults plague lots of brands, steering racks are prone to failure in half a dozen brands ... the problem (rightfully) is expectation in a very expensive vehicle.

    My Range Rover sunroof does not leak (hasn't got one), it hasn't had injector loom leakage (hasn't got one), doesn't suffer from expensive electrically controlled steering rack failures (hasn't got one) and the carpets don't get damp and soggy and rot the footwells - guess why. It's 42 years old, still going strong and doesn't flood carbs as I actually know how to use a choke and do routine maintenance on my engine ...

    In my opinion the 'gizmo kids' have beaten the modern vehicle to an unmaintainable, conformant pulp, another large Ford-a-like for the very rich, where style, acceleration, speed and the bass level of a wirelessly connected mp3 player are obviously far more important than reliability, durability, functionality and anything else ending with 'lity' ... sad really.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: re: If I was looking for an SUV ...

      There is an argument about this, when did they stop making repairable Land Rovers.

      To some the end of the series.

      To others the end of the TDi300.

      Some the Transitification of the Defender.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: re: If I was looking for an SUV ...

        when did they stop making repairable Land Rovers.

        Well I reckon it was the later model 300Tdi - so '87 onwards? when they introduced the ECUs in both the Defender and Discovery. Prior to that I reckon they were still completely fixable by a knowledgeable home mechanic.

        I started with a Series 2A SWB in 1983, and have owned (and fixed) most types of Land Rover since then at some stage or another.

        I really dislike the fact that my D2 is mostly black boxes, but it's still possible to do stuff yourself (like the injector loom) to stave off the effects of old age.

        The D3 onwards however, you've got no chance...

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: re: If I was looking for an SUV ...

          With the ECU cars the answer is Hawkeye or Nanocom.

          I had intermittant 3 Amigos, the only thing which fixed t was clearing with Hawkeye, it has behaved ever since. Sensors all OK, wiring all OK.

          I do have a spare SLABS ECU but loath to swap due to calibrating the suspension.

          With newer cars a code reader like the above two is essential.

          Found out that aftermarket MAFs are crap by monitoring the air flow, cleaned the original and now OK, the one I fitted made the car flat.

          Ny previous car was OBD2 compliant, gearbox played up, the reader I used on that car said selector switch, used to get to work until repaired (not a fan or gearbox repairs in the snow) was by resetting error codes when they occured. Even discovered new gears like lock up second. Or pulled lock up top from around 300rpm.

          I would say that with a code reader the D2 is as maintainable as an early car.

  22. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    200TDi was the last good one - the 300 is a bit more awkward to work on.

    Long gone are the days of stories such as 'I made an emergency Land Rover head gasket in my hotel room from a copy of the New York Times' ... That's the reason the military don't want to know - if a vehicle needs computer diagnostics just to find out what may be at fault it means it's not basically serviceable by a squaddie in the middle of the desert and it's potentially a coffin ...

  23. ntevanza

    Wank magnet

    There was another RR Sport Wanker Moment (R) this morning on the way to work. Can it all be coincidence? Lovely though the vehicle may be, there would appear to be a dreadful flaw in the owner selection criteria. Perhaps the impatient gentleman in question was not a Reg reader.

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