If there’s really going to be a party at the end of the world – like the one Jimmy Buffett sings about in his song of the same name – there’s one particular vehicle that I’d choose to get me there. When Armageddon comes, I’ll take Land Rover’s 2019 Range Rover Sport.
A luxury performance SUV that is more capable off-road than just about any other, the Range Rover Sport also has the goods on the pavement. It is a strikingly designed vehicle that comes with three engine choices in six trim levels, including SE, HSE, HSE Dynamic, Supercharged, Autobiography and one more.
Land Rover says the beastly SVR trim is “our fastest and most capable performance SUV ever,” and when Land Rover makes a statement like that, you know it’s a special vehicle.
I must be living right because my test car was the SVR trim outfitted with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that delivers 575 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. The Range Rover Sport weighs more than 5,000 pounds, but this amazing engine can push it to 60 miles per hour from a standstill in just 4.3 seconds. Helping out are integrated air vents in the carbon fiber hood that allow the engine to take big gulps of air.
The V6 engine choice is a 3.0-liter supercharged power plant that develops 340 horsepower in the SE and HSE trims. In the HSE Dynamic trim, the V6 is tuned to kick out up to 380 horses.
The Supercharged, HSE Dynamic and Autobiography trims can be outfitted with the big V8, which develops 518 horsepower and 461 lb.-ft. of torque. Only the SVR gets the supercharged V8 tuned for 575 horses. Maximum towing is 6,613 pounds.
All Range Rover Sports come in 4WD, making it capable in just about any condition. Mud, sand, rocks…you name it, the Range Rover Sport can tackle it, even dressed in the 22-inch street tires that came on my test car. New this year is an automatic drive mode selection for Eco; comfort; grass, gravel & snow; mud & ruts; and rock crawl. A dial on the console governs the drive mode settings.
The SVR trim has a button that can raise or lower the vehicle from entry level to normal to off-road heights (my 7-year-old granddaughter thought it was the neatest thing in the world that she could raise and lower a whole car by pushing a button). In its highest setting, the Range Rover Sport has a whopping 9.3 inches of ground clearance, and it can ford up to 33.5 inches of water.
On the road, the SVR beast is tamed and comfortable, although its roar is still aggressive thanks to dual exhausts. Land Rover says the 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR has a top speed of 176 miles per hour. As you might guess, the Range Rover Sport SVR mileage figures aren’t tops in the SUV world, but they’re still not bad considering its weight and performance figures. The EPA says you’ll get 15 miles per gallon in the city, 20 mpg on the road and 16 mpg combined.
The cabin of my test Range Rover Sport was roomy and comfortable with special SVR heated and ventilated seats that adjust 16 ways. There is a fantastic heads-up display on the windshield and two big touchscreens on the console. The upper screen displays the navigation system map among other things, and the lower screen displays controls for climate, seats, vehicle settings and a redundant control for the drive mode settings.
Headroom in the front seats is 39.4 inches and in the rear seat it’s just about as good at 39.1 inches. A fantastic panoramic moonroof stretches over both rows but shortens front seat headroom to 38.7 inches and in the second row to 39 inches. At 6-foot-1, I didn’t have any problems under the moonroof. Cargo space behind Row 2 is 27.5 cubic feet. Fold Row 2 down and there’s 59.5 cubic feet of cargo volume.
All this capability, luxury and performance doesn’t come without a price, however. You can get in a base Range Rover Sport for less than $70,000, but my SVR trim started at $114,500 and jumped to $131,520 after options and freight. But if your pockets are deep enough, the 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR is a special kind of ride.
2109 Range Rover Sport SVR
Engine: 5.-0-liter supercharged V8
Horsepower/Torque: 575/516 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Price: $114,500 ($131,520 with options & freight)
EPA Mileage Estimates: 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway/16 mpg combined
Estimated Highway Range: 550 miles