Range Rover Sport: An SUV That Drives Like A Sports Car

Features 3 minutes, 32 seconds


WHEN I first laid eyes on the new Range Rover Sport at the Indera Motors Showroom in Lambak, I almost mistook it for its cousin, the Evoque.

Both have the same rugged stance, the tough and muscular lines and the eye-catching design that made the Evoque so popular. It’s only when you really look at the front fascia of the Range Rover Sport and the shape of the headlights and the side vents that you can start to see the difference.

It is also longer than the Evoque by almost two feet at 4850mm given that the Sport is a seven-seat premium SUVs while the Evoque is a compact SUV.

However, despite all that, it is still shorter than other seven-seater SUV and most E-Segment sedans, which makes it more manoeuvrable and easier to park, while still maintaining a long wheelbase that allows for a lot of room and improved access for rear passengers.

The new Sport is also the first in its segment to have an all-aluminium monocoque body, following the path that was blazed by the Jaguar XE back in 2014. That means that the new Sport is lighter, stronger, safer, more fuel-efficient and sustainable as the high strength aluminium is made using recycled aluminium.

Inside, I was pretty amazed at the amount of space there was, despite being shorter than many other seven-seater SUVs.

Behind the wheel, I could immediately tell that aside from the external visual cues, the new Sport also adopted a similar seating positioning to the Evoque. Combined with the small steering wheel, higher centre console and the generous seat bolsters, the vehicle gave me the feeling of being inside a sports car instead of an SUV.

The model that I drove was the HSE, All-Wheel-Drive version with the 3.0L Supercharged V6 engine that puts out a satisfying 340 horsepower and accelerates from 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds, though when I took this baby on the road, it felt far faster than that.

Taking to the streets and then the highway towards Tutong, the SUV felt surprisingly agile and responsive, far more than I thought it would for its size and I could feel the power of the Supercharged V6 as I sped down the highway.

Thanks to technologies such as the Dynamic Response Active Lean Control, Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential and the Torque Vectoring by Braking, which transfers torque to the outside wheels during cornering, this 2.5tonne beast manoeuvred the afternoon traffic smoothly even at high speeds.

It’s not just on the road. I took the SUV to the Seri Kenangan Beach to test out the car’s off-road capability.

With just a turn of the selector to access the sandy terrain programme and raising the ride height to the standard off-road height, thanks to the HSE sport’s air suspension, I drove through the sand with no problems.

Granted it won’t be able to handle some of the more adverse terrains that I can think of — you have the Discovery Sport for that instead — it is still pretty impressive and I can imagine having a nice weekend at the beach, at some of the more remote places where the roads are impassable to most, with this SUV.

If I had any complaints, it would be the fact that the 3.0L Supercharged V6 Petrol version is a ‘thirsty’ car.

Even though on paper it says that its fuel efficiency is 10.5L per 100km, which is good but not great, with the amount of power and manoeuvrability at your finger tips, you are so very tempted to push the car to the limits and that puts a toll on the efficiency.

My jaunt from the Indera Motors Showroom to Tutong and back was about $10 worth of petrol and I was in no way driving conservatively.

Head over to the Indera Motors Showroom if you are interested in experiencing for yourself the new Range Rover Sport. Now’s a good time because Indera Motors is having their Holiday Special and you can get yourself a nice gift, like say a return ticket for two to Bali inclusive of accommodation, if you buy a Land Rover or Jaguar Car during the promotion period, which ends on December 31.

The Brunei Times