2019 Range Rover Sport HSE PHEV
Did you know Jaguar Land Rover has a warrant? No, not a warranty, a warrant. Yes ladies and germs HM The Queen, and HRHs Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales love a bit of a Jaguar.
Liz, Phil, and Chuck don’t mind a Range Rover either.
They can often be seen whizzing about their taxpayer subsidised estates, often without having accidents, unless you count Phil’s car crash of a car crash.
There are many reasons to buy an indulgent pressie too.
Many miffed memsaabs were promised posh presents to sooth savaged sensibilities. What gift is posher than a Range Rover, unless you count diamonds of course.
The metalwork shows what can be done with a hint of imagination.
Bland boxes of blancmange blighting carparks countrywide pale into pastiche by comparison.
Wheels have been upgraded from 20” to 21” alloys on our test car for the princely price of $3,400. The rest of the Range Rover Sport is almost indiscernible from its bigger Range Rover stablemate.
We tested the Sport a few years ago. Since then, a PHEV version was created to satisfy tastes of the responsibly-green well-heeled buyers. And why not indeed?
Only the discrete outlet cover secreted within the front grille, and PHEV badge give the game away.
Headlights are a beautifully complex matrix of individually controlled LEDs. Delicious outlines ring the array in bright white light. Line is another series of LEDs which change to orange once the indicator is activated.
Rear LED lights are unmistakably Range Rover. This technology has allowed designers a free hand in making ever-increasingly decorative displays. Most vehicles light up during the day, but this impressive show gets even more dramatic at night.
Since we reviewed Range Rover Sport in detail HERE, we’ll keep this to things that have changed, or are worth a second look.
Here are some more of our Range Rover stories:
The cabin is a showcase. This temple to good taste and elegance is supremely comfortable. Options can be fitted to individualise the experience to the buyer’s every whim.
The LCD screens replace the driver instruments and centre console controls. Slim black panels on the steering wheel and driver’s door light up with Ignition On. The panels on the steering wheel change function depending on what mode is being used. Left buttons are used for audio but switch to telephony during a call.
The lower screen on the centre stack contains controls for climate and vehicle functions. Drive modes include on and off-road programmes. Climate controls have 2 large multi-function dials that act like small screens. It is beautiful design that rates function and form in equal measure.
Above is the infotainment screen which can adjust a few degrees to get better viewing angles. It can be fitted with television too.
In front of the driver is the last of the LCD screens and replaces traditional instruments. Different information can displayed in conjunction with the HUD projected onto the windscreen.
The system can be tailored to driver preferences by fettling the menus. Speed and navigation, as well as speed signs picked up by the recognition system can be duplicated, or split. If you wish, the map can show on the centre console, and driver display. In addition, turns appear magically on the windscreen and seem to hover at the end of the bonnet.
All Rangies have a high seating position befitting the attitude of its driver.
Upholstery is as impeccable as the wood and metal trim that completes the club-like atmosphere. Leather is sumptuous, and is complimented at night with the ethereal glow of programmable ambient lighting. Some of the sources are obvious with graceful sweeps of indigo along each side of the console. But, there are limpid pools falling gently from the doors and into the footwells.
If it all gets too much, you can mute the lot including the screens on the centre stack.
There is the practical side to this palace on wheels.
Rear seats fold flat, and the rear hatch swings up and out of the way, yet is big enough to shelter a cosy couple from a light shower of rain. With the key on your pocket, you can kick to open or close it by waving a foot under the rear passenger corner.
You can do as much or as little as you want, but it will be all done a rarefied, thoroughly British atmosphere.
Get into a large SUV, and you almost always expect a slightly ham-fisted road experience.
Tyres with very tall sidewalls, and suspension more at home in mud, usually gives a drive feel more akin to sailing than touring.
The “Sport” moniker is not just talk. Air suspension provides a subtle cushion rather than billowing pillow.
You still waft along, but occupants are not subjected to the sickening, wave-like, bounce you find in the more pedestrian brands.
When you get to a corner, you’ll want to toss the Range Rover around like it’s a rag doll. Sharp steering is aided by precise calibration. It also allows driver aids like active lane assistance and automated parking.
Once on the open road, the active cruise control takes the strain out of continent crossing. It watches the road ahead and will speed up or slow down. It does a decent job of keeping the set speed on downhill stints as well.
Active safety systems try to avoid accidents but if all else fails, will throw out the anchors. It has brakes the size of dinner plates and pulls up like a cat on carpet.
I plugged my phone in, and streamed music using Apple CarPlay.
The meridian sound system is first class and is clear and rich. I decided to let fate dictate, and switched the tunes to random. Mozart’s Requiem was followed by Dolly singing Jolene. Happy days. I as wafted down the highway, I dialled myself up a concert.
The Hybrid system is incredibly clever.
By hooking up to a charger, I could store almost 50km of silent, CO2-free travel. If you had an outlet both at home, and at work, you could stretch your bowser visits out to be rarer than then rocking horse poo.
Even when you run out of charge, the system will still spend part of the time in EV mode. The i4 turbo petrol engine goes to sleep and lets the electric motor do all the work.
The i4 also shuts down at lights too, unless you’ve slipped the drive mode in to Dynamic.
Doing so is to “cry havoc, and let slip the dogs-of-doings.”
You sublime ethereal experience turns into something somewhat more dramatic. The steering and suspension spasm join the throttle in a fit of apoplectic rage. Range Rover Sport gets angry, but in a typically British way.
Until you take off, the only thing to tell you what you’ve done is some subtle redness on the driver dials. Then, you stomp on the peddle and your loafer hits the Axminster.
All hell breaks loose. The nose lifts ever so slightly, and the rear hunkers down. By the time you reach the other side of the intersection you’re already almost at the 80kph limit, in an 80 area, of course.
I set the Range Rover Sport a simple task: be the city car that buyers are going to want her to be.
Despite doing my normal chores, I struggled to use 1/8th of a tank. I have nowhere to charge, like most inner city unit dwellers. And still, the old girl refused to gulp the juice.
It’s no secret that I am a Range Rover fanboy. So, let’s see how if went with our new scoring system:
|Overall look and feel||9|
|Interior look and feel||7|
|Technology – cabin||6|
|Technology – driver assist||5|
1 – terrible
5 – average
Remember, each car is now rated against others in the segment. Range Rover Sport is extremely comfortable but so are most other models in the segment. It is the most handsome in its class, but the safety and security are now not only ubiquitous, but essential so scores as average. The hybrid system scores highly for its ability to plug in, and off-road, Range Rover is almost without equal. The only thing able to beat it, is its bigger brother, Range Rover
Watch our Video review again, and take particular note of the Dragon Challenge.
- Engine: Hybrid Petrol/electric 297kw/640Nm
- Transmission: 8 speed automatic
- Warranty: 3Yr/ 100,000 km with 3 Yr (extended programme available)
- Safety: Five stars (Range Rover tested 2013)
- Origin: UK
- Price: from $146,600 MLP* (as tested $166,358)
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