Full 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is completely redesigned.
Although off-road capabilities have always been part of the Range Rover Sport's appeal, owners of this midsize luxury SUV typically spend more of their time driving in town than they do fording streams or climbing over rocks. The first-generation Sport catered to that reality, as it was more on-road-focused than its bigger brother, the Range Rover.
But the original Range Rover Sport was also heavy, even by SUV standards, and that dragged down fuel mileage and kept it from feeling truly sporty around turns. Moreover, while its interior was nice enough, it wasn't as richly furnished as some rivals in this class. The company has addressed all these issues in the fully redesigned 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. It should be right up your alley if you're looking for a do-it-all utility vehicle loaded with high-end ambience.
The improvements on the 2014 Range Rover Sport begin with a significant diet. Thanks to a new all-aluminum chassis shared with the standard-size Range Rover, it has lost more than 700 pounds by Land Rover's estimates. This, along with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, results in higher fuel economy ratings. And if the supercharged V8 is still too thirsty for you, there's a new supercharged V6 that provides solid performance and even better mpg.
In spite of its weight loss, the 2014 Range Rover Sport is actually longer and wider than its predecessors, and this has opened up more passenger room in the cabin and allowed Land Rover to offer a third-row seat for the first time. The third row is just for children, and small ones at that, but it broadens the Land Rover Range Rover Sport's appeal in this class, as competitors like the BMW X5 and Lexus GX 460 also offer seven-passenger seating.
Land Rover has also applied many of the Range Rover Evoque's design cues to the Sport, which now looks sleek, attractive and expensive. Looks do not deceive either, as the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport costs quite a bit more than either the BMW or Lexus, or the Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Only the X5 will keep up with the Range Rover Sport on a curvy road, though.
Stiff competition also comes from the 2014 Porsche Cayenne, which costs about the same as the Land Rover when comparably optioned. The Porsche lacks the Range Rover Sport's third-row seat and off-road capability, but offers a wider range of engine options and is one of the best-handling SUVs known to man. As is often the case, your decision will hinge on your priorities. If you're expecting your next midsize luxury SUV to accompany you on all of life's adventures regardless of the terrain, the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport should be on your list of candidates.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a midsize five-passenger SUV with an optional third-row seat that increases capacity to seven. It's available in two trim levels: SE and Supercharged. Within each trim, there's a major option package (HSE and Autobiography, respectively), and certain other options are only available when this package is equipped.
Standard features on the SE trim include 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, power-folding heated mirrors, a self-leveling air suspension, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, keyless ignition/entry, 14-way adjustable power front seats, front seat memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control. Also standard are a voice-controlled navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system with a 10-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack and USB/iPod integration.
The HSE option package adds 20-inch wheels, foglights, a panoramic sunroof, upgraded perforated leather upholstery, wood or metal interior trim and heated front seats.
The Supercharged trim level includes all of the standard SE and HSE equipment, plus a V8 engine; a more sophisticated four-wheel-drive system (with low-range gearing and a rear limited-slip differential); an upgraded suspension with both adaptive damping and roll stabilization; and steering-wheel paddle shifters for the transmission.
Adding the Autobiography package provides 21-inch wheels, adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam control, 14-way adjustable ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, an upgraded instrument panel, three-zone climate control, a front-console cooler compartment, a surround-view camera system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, and a 19-speaker Meridian sound system with satellite and HD Radio.
Many of the items in the Autobiography package are available in smaller option packages on other Range Rover Sports. The Climate Comfort and Visibility package for the SE bundles the adaptive headlights, heated front and rear seats, and heated steering wheel. A more elaborate version of this package for the HSE and base Supercharged trim has all of the above equipment, plus 14-way adjustable power heated front seats and the front-console cooler, while the Luxury Climate Comfort and Visibility package provides all of that plus ventilated rear seats and four-zone climate control (these items can purchased separately for the Range Rover Sport Autobiography). The 19-speaker Meridian audio system is available on all these trims as well, and HSE, base Supercharged and Autobiography models are also eligible for a 23-speaker Meridian surround-sound system.
The Vision and Convenience package for the SE, HSE and base Supercharged model combines the surround-view camera system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts and an automated parallel-parking system. The parking system is a stand-alone option for the Autobiography. Base versions of the Supercharged model can be equipped with the Dynamic package, which includes 21-inch wheels, perforated leather upholstery, upgraded instrumentation and various cosmetic upgrades.
A third-row seat is optional on all versions of the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and on the base SE, it's paired with 20-inch wheels. Stand-alone options for all trim levels include 22-inch wheels, all-speed adaptive cruise control with emergency braking, a rear entertainment system and a towing package (late availability).
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is available with two supercharged engines. Standard on all SE models is a 3.0-liter V6 rated at 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Range Rover Sport Supercharged models come with a 5.0-liter V8 that develops 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
All Range Rover Sport models also come with full-time four-wheel drive, hill descent control, hill start assist and Land Rover's Terrain Response system. The SE comes standard with a light-duty, single-speed 4WD system, while the Supercharged model is equipped with a two-speed transfer case that provides high- and low-range gearing for more serious off-roading. This system is optional on SE models. Terrain Response features driver-selectable modes and optimizes the vehicle's powertrain, suspension and electronics for increased traction in gravel, snow, mud, sand and on rocks. Supercharged models have an additional dynamic mode that optimizes handing on pavement.
Land Rover says the V8-equipped Range Rover Sport can sprint from zero to 60 in 5.0 seconds, while the V6 covers the same ground in a claimed 6.9 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates for the V6 version are 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, while the V8 is rated at 14/19/16 mpg. These estimates are average among comparable V6- and V8-equipped midsize luxury SUVs. A properly equipped Range Rover Sport with either engine can tow up to 7,700 pounds, according to Land Rover.
The 2014 Range Rover Sport comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, and first- and second-row side curtain airbags. Also standard are front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
Available safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic detection. The adaptive cruise control includes an emergency braking feature that automatically applies the brakes if a collision appears imminent.
Interior Design and Special Features
Overall, the interior feels much higher-end than the previous Range Rover Sport's cabin. Land Rover has eliminated the questionable plastic pieces, and the abundant leather surfaces and wide variety of interior customization options make the 2014 Range Rover Sport feel more sophisticated and worthy of its lofty base price.
The highly adjustable front seats are comfortable and provide plenty of support. You sit lower than you do in the standard Range Rover and the center console is higher, too, adding to the "cockpit" feel, but visibility is still excellent for an SUV. The pop-up gear selector knob from the previous Sport has been replaced by a conventional shifter on the console, and V8 models have paddle shifters mounted on the back of the steering wheel.
The third row of seating is only intended for use by small adults or children, as the legroom is quite tight. And when you don't need the space for passengers, folding the rear seats flat is an easy one-button affair. Cargo capacity remains low for this class, with 27.7 cubic feet of space behind the second row and a maximum volume of 62.2 with the second-row seats folded.
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a great leap forward from the previous-generation Range Rover Sport when it comes to ride comfort and handling. It feels lighter and more composed in normal driving situations, and its reflexes are downright athletic on twisty back roads.
We've yet to drive Land Rover's latest midsize SUV off-road, but with its ample suspension travel, favorable approach and departure angles, and impressive off-road hardware, the 2014 Range Rover should still be able to hold its own in this regard.