Land Rover’s Range Rover Sport is a 5-passenger luxury SUV that seldom gets used to its full potential. While many Range Rovers don’t ever take the path less traveled, their off-road capabilities are unquestioned. There are few changes to the 2013 model, and in fact, the 2014 Range Rover Sport has already been unveiled last month in New York.

The 2014 Range Rover will be the fastest, most agile and responsive Land Rover ever, according to Land Rover officials.

The 2013 model is no slouch, either.

We drove this year’s Range Rover Sport with an optional audio upgrade package and luxury interior package, which gave the vehicle a world-class interior with straight-grained walnut wood trim and premium leather upholstery.

Powered by a 375-horsepower V8 engine that sends an equal amount of torque to the wheels via a 6-speed electronic transmission, the Range Rover Sport is nimble for a vehicle of its heft – considerably more than 5,000 pounds. It is available in two trim levels: HSE and Supercharged.

The Range Rover Sport is a permanent 4WD vehicle with normal, sport and manual shift modes. It rides on 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels and has a two-speed electronic transfer box with an electronic center differential. It has four-corner electronic air suspension that allows the vehicle to be raised or lowered for access, standard and off-road heights.

Inside, the cabin is luxurious and spacious, with good visibility all around. We liked the squared and wide top of the interior door panel; it makes the perfect resting spot for a taller

driver’s left elbow. The driver’s right elbow is always supported thanks to Land Rover’s exclusive adjustable center armrest.

Seats in the test vehicle were firm and well-bolstered, wrapped in fine almond/nutmeg colored leather. The Luxury Interior package added heat to the front and rear seats and the steering wheel, as well as 20-inch wheels, a cooler box and adjustable driver’s side seat bolsters.

Standard amenities include dual-zone air, leather, a power adjustable steering wheel with controls, memory settings, heated mirrors, a power sun roof, a power tailgate, navigation and a 7-inch monitor, a CD/DVD player, USB ports, voice-activated controls and Bluetooth capability.

Probably the biggest drawback to this fine off-road luxury SUV is its fuel economy – the 2013 Range Rover Sport manages but 13 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.

The Range Rover Sport also has Land Rover’s signature Terrain Response system with settings for general, mud, sand, snow and rocks. Do not doubt this off-road SUV can cross ditches, ford streams, slog through mud and pull you up hills on the way to the camp.

Most owners will spend way more time on the asphalt than in the mud in their Range Rover Sports, and the vehicle does well here too. Even with its upright stance, the vehicle is solid in the corners without much lean. Acceleration is fine with the big V8, but we found the brakes a bit spongy on the test vehicle.

When it comes to safety, the Range Rover Sport has six airbags and side-impact steel beams in the doors, rain and speed sensing wipers, park distance control and automatic Xenon headlights with power washers. It also has hill descent control and gradient release control for steep hills, all-terrain dynamic stability control and anti-lock brakes. It has not been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The 2013 Range Rover Sport starts at $60,045. With options, our test vehicle was $67,785, which included $850 in freight.

The Range Rover Sport – stylish, sophisticated and comfortable – is as much a status symbol as it is a premium off-road SUV, and it can get you just about anywhere.

2013 Range Rover Sport

  • Engine: 5.0-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 375
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Test model base price: $60,045 ($67,785 as tested)
  • EPA mileage rating: 13 mpg city / 18 mpg highway