Land Rover produces some of the best engineered and most capable off-road vehicles in the world. Most of the time, though, they see far more time in the valet line at Four Seasons than they do in the dirt.
Land Rover owners generally don’t ask their vehicles to get them down remote and rugged trails, but they know that if they did, the vehicle would get them where they wanted to go.
My week with the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport didn’t result in much mud getting on the Lorie Blue paint job, but I already knew what this vehicle is capable of doing. I was lucky enough to attend Land Rover’s off-road driving school at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina a while back and got to see first-hand the remarkable capabilities of this SUV.
I took a Range Rover through boggy bottomland and down deeply rutted trails. I forded hood-deep water, and crawled over rocks, wondering the whole time, “How in the world did we get across that?”
And the whole time, I was cocooned in a world-class cabin loaded with technology.
Land Rover gives buyers of the 2017 Range Rover Sport several choices when it comes to engine power, both V6 and V8. All Range Rover Sport engines are either supercharged or turbocharged and hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. All are 4WD.
First, there’s a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 340 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. Next is a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with 510 horses and 461 lb.-ft. of torque. In high-performance SVR models, the big V8 is tuned to deliver 550 horses and 502 lb.-ft. of torque. Range Rover says the SVR models can roar from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds.
Our test Range Rover Sport was the diesel version, sporting a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that developed 254 horsepower and a remarkable 443 lb.-ft. of torque.
The diesel engine in the test SUV was remarkably quiet and astonishingly powerful for a 3.0-liter powerplant. Without listening carefully, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the diesel and the gasoline engines.
Our test diesel Range Rover had EPA fuel economy figures of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. And with its 23.5-gallon fuel tank, our test car had a whopping 658 miles of highway range.
Pricing for the 2017 Range Rover Sport starts in the mid-$60,000s, but the top end SVR models can double that. My HSE turbodiesel model had an MSRP of $72,650.
The cabin of the test Range Rover Sport oozes with sumptuousness, with just about everything covered in fine leather. The front seats adjusted 16 ways, all four seats were heated and ventilated, the steering wheel was heated and there were four zones of climate control. There was a panoramic sunroof, special Range Rover audio, 20-inch wheels and connectivity via a 10.2-inch touchscreen.
One of the most significant changes to the 2017 Range Rover Sport is the introduction of InControl Touch Pro, which has the ability to pinch and zoom when navigating maps, or swipe through menu screens as you would on a smartphone or tablet.
InControl Remote allows drivers to leverage a smartphone app to check the vehicle’s mileage or fuel level, lock and unlock the vehicle, adjust the climate control settings or remote start the vehicle.
For 2017, Land Rover has also introduced a series of new advanced driver assistance technologies including Blind Spot Assist, Intelligent Speed Limiter and Advanced Tow Assist.
While not everyone will use it, all-terrain capability remains a cornerstone of Range Rover vehicles. An enhanced All-Terrain Info Center is new for 2017. Accessible through the central touchscreen, it displays useful information when driving off-road, such as vehicle geometry, slope assist engagement and wheel information. This display also now includes Drive Assist, which uses the vehicle’s surround cameras to help with low-speed maneuvers when off-road.
2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE Td6
3.0-liter turbodiesel V6
EPA mileage estimates:
22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/24 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: