From Wayne to Willow Grove, the Range Rover Sport continues to set the standard for sport utility vehicles.
The 2014 Range Rover Sport, longer, lighter, and sleeker than ever.
When Land Rover arrived on US shores in the late ’80s, the expression “sport utility vehicle” was obscure cult jargon among off-road driving enthusiasts. But it was undoubtedly the royally endorsed, battle-tested Range Rover that launched the era of the SUV, a model that still dominates the US auto market.
The Range Rover Sport, an instant hit upon its 2006 introduction, has been the juice that has recently driven Land Rover to healthy sales and increased market share. From Malibu to the Hamptons and the leafy, mansion-lined back roads of Gladwyne, Bryn Mawr, and Villanova, the new Sport, priced from $65,000 to $95,000, is the fashion-forward SUV of the moment.
I first saw the new Sport when James Bond (aka Daniel Craig) premiered the vehicle for the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Its first impression was striking. The new-generation Sport is two and a half inches longer—with a wheelbase stretched seven inches over that of its predecessor. The larger dimensions give the new Sport the gravitas of the full-size Range Rover, while the hint of a back-sloping roofline accentuates its carved and cut physique.
Sliding into the driver’s seat, I was amazed at the precision ergonomics of the 5-liter V8 Supercharged. Driving the Sport is immediately comfortable and familiar: the slight reclining pose, akin to sportscar seating; the dashboard controls and intuitive tech array within perfect reach; the commanding view at the heart of SUV popularity. The road manners of the new aluminum unibody frame—with all-wheel drive, air springs, adaptive dampers, and variable antiroll bar—are as civilized as brandy and cigars. And having shaved off nearly 800 pounds, the entry-level Sport SE, with a supercharged 3-liter V6, gets a respectable 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. The next-generation eightspeed automatic transmission adds to the mileage performance and provides silky shifting, even in off-road and high-speed maneuvers. In short, one go around in this Sport was enough to elevate the Delaware Valley into a commuter’s playground. Land Rover Main Line, 325 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, 610-520-2000; The Great Britains Jaguar Willow Grove, 900 York Road, Hatboro, 215-443-5900