Competing in a crowded category that includes solid alternatives like the Audi Q8, BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne, the Range Rover Sport is Land Rover’s mid-level offering, positioned between the larger Range Rover and smaller Velar and Evoque models. With its redesign, the brand did a nice job of updating the Range Rover Sport’s styling while retaining a distinctive Land Rover look. The redesign also brings other welcome improvements, including a much better infotainment system.
But the newest Range Rover Sport comes up short against some of its luxury competitors, as Cars.com News Editor Jennifer Geiger learned after spending time behind the wheel of one in the base SE trim. Tap the link above for Geiger’s complete review or, for a quicker look, read on to learn five things we like about the 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport and five things we don’t.
Things We Like
1. Potent PowertrainThe standard powertrain uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine with mild-hybrid technology that’s matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission; it makes a total of 355 horsepower. The powertrain gives more than ample power for highway passing and merging, with smooth shifts and immediate response once you get going. Better still, it’s accompanied by a throaty yet refined soundtrack.
2. More ManeuverableThe redesign brings easier maneuverability in parking lots and close quarters thanks in part to a turning circle that has been reduced from 41 feet to 36 feet. All-wheel steering gets at least some of the credit as it allows the rear wheels to turn as much as 7.3 degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels.
3. Updated InfotainmentA new infotainment system ditches the previous model’s dual touchscreens in favor of the more modern 13.1-inch tablet-style display found in the Range Rover. With a more intuitive menu structure, the new system is easier to use and also includes wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with Amazon Alexa compatibility with advanced voice recognition.
4. Roomy InteriorRear-seat passengers get an additional inch of legroom over the previous model, and the cabin is wide enough to provide ample room for three passengers in back. The generous room helped the Range Rover Sport earn high marks in our Car Seat Check thanks to easily accessible lower Latch and top tether anchors. Cargo room has also been increased by 4 cubic feet to 32 cubic feet, and there’s plenty of storage for smaller items in the cabin, including a double glove box, large bin under the shifter and a big console box.
5. Added Off-Road CapabilityLand Rovers typically boast impressive off-road capability — whether owners ever use it or not. For 2023, the Range Rover Sport gets increased capability for those who do, with the addition of adaptive off-road cruise control to the Terrain Response system. This enables the driver to focus solely on steering off-road, leaving the system to manage speed.
Things We Don’t Like
1. Stiff RideA standard air suspension and chassis updates do little to add to the luxury experience and instead result in an overly stiff, unrefined ride. Our test vehicle came equipped with 22-inch wheels and tires, and the suspension felt firm and busy, with road imperfections sending vibrations through the cabin. In addition to the stiffness, there’s also considerable body lean in corners that only adds to the unsettled feel.
2. Hesitation BluesAs smooth and enjoyable as the Range Rover Sport’s powertrain is at speed, getting underway from a standstill is another matter. Pronounced powertrain lag from a stop is a problem and is made worse by lurching acceleration once the SUV wakes up. More than an annoyance, this can make for some unsettling moments when trying to pull into traffic.
3. Interior IdiosyncrasiesLand Rover has long been known for opulent interiors, but here the Range Rover Sport is a bit of a disappointment. The overall look is modern and attractive and offers plenty of soft leather and decent materials quality, but the interior’s monotone color palette and the trim on the dash and doors leave more to be desired. In addition, some controls are awkwardly placed and hard to reach. The interior is arguably not as nice as one would expect in a nearly $90,000 vehicle.
4. Control IssuesAs much as we appreciate the updated infotainment system, other controls get mixed reviews. More physical knobs and switches than before are welcome, but the Range Rover Sport still relies extensively on touch-sensitive controls that can be slow to respond and awkward to use. Climate controls include two dials that perform multiple functions and can be hard to operate on the fly, and the huge digital instrument display can result in information overload.
5. PricingPrices for the redesigned 2023 Range Rover Sport started at $84,475 (all prices include destination), representing a hefty increase over the old version’s $72,250 starting price. The price hike was more notable given that base versions of the 2023 Q8, X6 and Cayenne all started in the low $70,000 range. The 2024 Range Rover Sport starts at $85,075.
Article courtesy of Jim Travers of Cars.com