By Cars.com EditorsJanuary 24, 2014
About the video
If you can live without the sportier handling of its predecessor, you'll find the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport worthy of the brand. Kelsey Mays says the luxury SUV carries the weight of its name while shedding the weight of its frame.
(upbeat music) Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for Cars.com here with the redesigned 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. This is sort of a middle child in the Range Rover family between the Range Rover Evoque and the flagship Range Rover itself.
It should share more components now with the Range Rover since Land Rover says the two were developed in tandem with each other, as opposed to the last Range Rover Sport, which shared its platform with Land Rover's LR3 turned LR4. Let's see if this new Range Rover Sport deserves the Range Rover name. A lot of styling similarities upfront to the Range Rover Evoque, you'll notice. New aluminum framework saves about 800 pounds over the last Range Rover Sport, Land Rover says. That's a ton of weight, it allows the new base engine to not be a naturally aspirated V8 like it was, it's now a supercharged V6, 340 horsepower down to 375. But along with the smaller engine and a new 8-speed automatic gas mileage, an EPA combined ratings with four-wheel drive is up to 19 miles per gallon combined. Now, that's up nearly 30% over the last V8. Now, if you just need everyone to still get the hell out of the way, there is a Range Rover Sport with a supercharged V8 that makes 16 miles per gallon in EPA combined ratings. Our tester has the supercharged V6, which makes you forget that you ever wanted those extra two cylinders, plenty of power, you punch the gas, this thing really flies. Not perfect in every way though, the new 8-speed automatic, a little bit slower to react to your right foot than last year's very good 6-speed automatic. It behaves a little more like that when you put it into sport mode, but again, not the most responsive when it's in regular drive. Less sporty handling in this Range Rover Sport, steering feels fine on straightaways, gets a little bit vague going into corners though, and there seems to be a lot of body roll kind of pitching motions as you're coming into them. Wheel choices go from 19 all the way up to 22 inches in diameter, our tester has 20 inch wheels with a fixed suspension. The results yield kind of a mixed ride. Isolation is good on highways, on straightaways, a little bit choppy over certain bumps though. Now, the V8 supercharged Range Rover Sport does get an adaptive suspension, which we haven't driven yet. Cabin materials are good with soft stuff in all the right areas, big comfortable seats, with premium leather in our test car, and good room, both in front and in back. Second row head restraints sit above the seats though, they don't nest down in the seats like the old Range Rover Sports did, that was kind of a nice thing in the outgoing SUV, allowed you to see really easily out the back, can't do that as well here. But they do fold down very easily if you need more cargo room. Nothing like the multi-step process that you had to do in the old Range Rover Sport. Let's check out the cargo area. Decent amount of cargo room back here about 30 cubic feet behind the second row, and about 62 cubic feet of maximum space if you fold those seats down. Now, that's a little bit down versus the outgoing Range Rover Sport, but it is competitive for this segment. If you need maximum room, check out something like the Mercedes-Benz M-Class that has about 38 and 80 cubic feet behind the second and first row, respectively. So does the Range Rover Sport live up to the Range Rover name? I think so. It shares a lot more architecture with the flagship Range Rover, and it shares a lot of styling aspects with the Range Rover and the Range Rover Evoque. Now, the Range Rover Sport does lose a little bit of sportiness and some cargo room versus its predecessor, but it gains a lot of fuel efficiency, which highlights this redesign. It also gets a little bit more versatile thanks to a new optional third row seat that raises maximum seating capacity to seven. So see if it suits you versus other luxury SUV's, it's on sale right now. (car engine revving)