When you want the ultimate luxury SUV, you're really looking at Range Rover. Sure, Bentley and Maserati have gotten into the market, but they've got a way to go before they catch up to Rover. By any measure you want to use, Range Rover is still the benchmark in this class of vehicle.
One of the most amazing things about a Range Rover is its off-road capability. Even when it's fitted with 20-inch wheels and high performance tires, you can take a Rover where few other SUVs can go and the Rover will make it look easy. Unlike other brands, you don't have to buy the super-tough off road version to get that performance, which means you don't have to give up luxury on the weekdays to have capability on the weekends.
For the last couple of years, Range Rover has offered its SUVs with the Td6 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine. This is a remarkable driveline because it's got none of the downsides you associate with diesel engines. It's fast, returns great fuel economy, and it's quiet. You have to look at the badge on the back to know for sure that the vehicle is a diesel. The 8-speed automatic transmission makes good use of the power, accelerating the Range Rover Sport from 0-60 in just 7.1 seconds. If you find yourself at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the top speed of the Range Rover Sport is 130 MPH.
Inside, you get a top-shelf luxury experience in any Range Rover. The Sport HSE is the mid-grade trim, and includes features like heated and ventilated seats and heated steering wheel. There's an optional Meridian sound system that's just wonderful if you enjoy great music.
The technology story is equally compelling. In addition to features that are fast becoming standard throughout the industry like adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring, the Rover includes near-magical tech like Park Assist, which will steer the SUV into a parallel or perpendicular parking space perfectly, every time. There's also Advanced Tow Assist, which allows you to back up a trailer without endless retries and adjustments. You'll also enjoy a surround-view camera and proximity alerts whenever you're performing parking lot maneuvers.
The driving experience in the 2017 Range Rover Sport HSE is exactly what you expect. It's solid, fast, quiet, and in command of the road. You can use Range Rover's terrain response system to change the ride height and the 4WD performance for different surfaces. So while it's hot outside right now, you can have confidence that the Range Rover will handle anything that next January can throw at us. With all that, the Range Rover Sport is well worth your consideration.
2017 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6
Base price: $68,645
Price as tested: $81,745
Type: Midsize SUV
Engine: 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 (254 hp, 443 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 22/28
Overall length: 191 inches
Curb weight: 4,709 pounds
Final assembly: Solihull, UK