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Land Rover’s offshoot of its traditional full-size Range Rover, the midsize Range Rover Sport, dates back to 2006. Redesigning for the 2014 model year reduced weight substantially, courtesy of a new aluminum body.
Newly standard automatic emergency braking heads the list of changes for the 2017 Range Rover Sport model year. A software revision works with the rearview camera to make backing up a trailer easier. Upgraded infotainment includes a new 10.2-inch touchscreen with pinch/scroll operation, Restructured option packages aim to simplify the buying process.
Anyone seeking flawless on-road behavior, coupled with supremely capable off-road talents, need look no further than the Range Rover Sport. Few SUVs come close to its blend of sporty behavior and practical utility, blended with luxury amenities. While both the big Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport stress superior off-road abilities, the full-size model leans toward opulent luxury and comfort, whereas the Sport focuses on sporty road manners. Both deliver a serene environment, but the full-size model has the more traditional demeanor.
Seven-passenger seating is an option for the Sport, but think of it as a 5+2: The optional third row is not comfortable for most humans.
A quartet of engine possibilities is available. The Range Rover Sport SE and Range Rover Sport HSE use a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that develops 340 horsepower. Supercharged 5.0-liter V8s come in two power levels, each deserving the Sport label. The standard 510-horsepower V8 powers Range Rover Sport Supercharged and Autobiography. The Range Rover Sport SVR unfurls 550 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque.
All models work with an admirable 8-speed automatic transmission that can include paddle shifters. Even the V6 promises a snarly sound and 0-60 mph acceleration in 6.9 seconds. That 60-mph sprint takes a mere 5 seconds with a V8.
The turbodiesel option uses a 3.0-liter V6 diesel that produces a muscular 443 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration is comparable to the gasoline V6, and diesel owners can expect pleasantly quiet operation.
Safety features include a lane departure warning, surround-view camera, parking sensors, parking assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. An optional Driver Assistance Package adds blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition that can display the current speed limit. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have crash-tested the Range Rover Sport.