Full 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport gains a new tow package option and a Supercharged special-edition model with cosmetic flourishes.
It's been said that of all of the capable off-road SUVs sold over the last decade, few have had anything other than pavement under their tires. Perhaps this is why the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Sport exists. While Land Rover strives to blend serious all-terrain talent with transcendent luxury, the Range Rover Sport represents a shift away from the untamed wilds and toward civilization.
Despite the name, the Range Rover Sport is not simply an adaptation of the range-topping Range Rover. Instead, the Sport is built on the now-discontinued Land Rover LR3 platform and, as a result, is smaller than its namesake and lacks some of its all-terrain prowess. For the rare driver who actually needs some of these capabilities, however, the Range Rover Sport is still much more proficient off-road than pretty much anything in the luxury segment.
With features like full-time four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case, ascent and descent controls and an electronic locking rear differential, the Range Rover Sport certainly has the credentials to conquer most obstacles that would leave lesser SUVs stranded.
Being that it's more city- and luxury-focused, though, the Range Rover Sport is more at home on the highway, and in that regard, it excels. Refinement permeates the cabin, isolating passengers from the outside world in a silent cocoon of rich leather and wood, complete with all of the technological marvels expected of all top-tier luxury vehicles. Unfortunately, it's not without a few faults, either. While the raised rear seats allow for a commanding view of the road, headroom is compromised. Then there's Land Rover's reputation for poor reliability that should give any buyer some pause.
The 2013 Lexus LX 570, on the other hand, is known for its bulletproof reliability and off-road prowess, though it lacks the Range Rover's panache. If you're in the majority of shoppers who will rarely, if ever, venture off the highway, we would suggest taking a look at the 2013 BMW X5, Infiniti QX and 2013 Porsche Cayenne. For the weekend outdoorsman who still pines for British opulence, however, the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is the rare beast that can tackle it all.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a five-passenger SUV available in HSE and Supercharged trim levels.
The HSE comes standard with 19-inch wheels, a sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, foglights, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, an adjustable air suspension with adaptive damping, keyless entry/ignition, a power tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, power front seats with driver memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, wood interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, a navigation system with off-road tracking, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and information controls, and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with CD player, auxiliary jack and USB/iPod integration.
An optional Luxury package adds 20-inch wheels, a heated windshield, heated washer jets, heated front and rear seats, available piano black trim, premium leather upholstery, driver seat bolster adjustments and a cooler box.
The Supercharged model includes all of the above plus a more powerful engine, steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, Brembo front brakes, an upgraded adaptive suspension system (which enhances both on- and off-road handling), satellite radio and HD radio.
Opting for the Autobiography package (available only for the Supercharged model) adds adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, unique wheels, grille and exterior treatments, a rear roof spoiler, a 360-degree parking assist camera, upgraded leather and a premium 17-speaker surround-sound audio system.
Available for the HSE is a GT Limited Edition package that adds most of the features from the Autobiography package, along with a body kit, exclusive paint and faux-suede interior trim. A new Supercharged Limited Edition adds a few unique badges inside and out and available carbon-fiber interior trim.
A tow package and rear-seat entertainment system are available for all models, but adaptive cruise control is optional on the Supercharged only.
Powertrains and Performance
Range Rover Sport HSE models are powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. The Supercharged model churns out an impressive 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque from a supercharged version of that engine. Both engines are joined to a six-speed automatic transmission with three modes: Normal, Sport and Manual. In Edmunds testing, a Supercharged model sprinted to 60 mph in a very quick 5.2 seconds.
All Range Rover Sport models feature full-time four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case and Terrain Response. The latter optimizes powertrain, suspension and electronics for increased traction in grass, gravel, snow, mud, sand and rocks. The Supercharged model also features a Dynamic Mode, tailoring the chassis and powertrain for more sporty and responsive on-road driving. Properly equipped, Range Rover Sport models can tow up to 7,700 pounds.
Fuel economy estimates for the HSE V8 are 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined, while the Supercharged model rates an estimated 12/17/14 mpg.
Standard safety features for the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Sport include antilock disc brakes (more powerful Brembo brakes are fitted to the Supercharged model), hill-descent control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Traction and stability control with rollover protection are also standard on all models, as are front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
Supercharged models equipped with an adaptive cruise control system also benefit from a collision mitigation system. Using forward-looking radar, the system primes the brakes if a collision appears imminent. It will even initiate braking in extreme cases. The optional Vision Assist package adds blind-spot monitoring, adaptive front lighting, automatic high-beam assist and multi-camera parking assist.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Range Rover Sport Supercharged slowed from 60 mph to zero in 123 feet, an average result for a luxury SUV.
Interior Design and Special Features
One of the best features of any SUV is its commanding view of the road. The Range Rover Sport takes this a step further with elevated stadium-style seating for rear passengers, affording them the same view. And though headroom might be scant back there for taller passengers, they will enjoy the high-grade leather upholstery and elegant cabin accents that include wood or black lacquer accents.
Although the Range Rover Sport doesn't radiate the same Old World luxury charm as the more traveled top-line Range Rover, it still feels rich and contemporary. Its console and switchgear are thoroughly modern, as is its thin-film dash display, which presents essential -- and customizable -- driver and vehicle information through graphics and virtual gauges.
For a vehicle that leads its class on several counts, the Range Rover Sport rates only average in cargo capacity, with 71 cubic feet available. Its sloping rear window can also hamper the loading of bulky items.
Even though the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is billed as a more nimble sibling to the top-of-the-line Range Rover, it still weighs a hefty 5,500 pounds. Thankfully, the 5.0-liter V8 is a smooth, torque-rich mill that is happy to rev, and brings the Range Rover Sport's performance within striking distance of the competition.
Around corners, the Range Rover Sport feels composed, exhibiting an impressive lack of body roll for a vehicle of its size and weight. But we suspect most buyers are more interested in a plush cabin and a smooth, quiet ride, which this baby Range Rover delivers.