19 Nov 2014

2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6 First Drive Review

I'm running a Range Rover Sport SDV6 Autobiography for a week. Here are my first impressions.

2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6
2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6
Good looking car isn't it. In photos the Range Rover Sport looks great, in the metal it's even more fabulous. The old Sport was a bit too square, a bit too squat and a bit too chunky - in physical weight as well as visual weight.

The new one carries over only the name. Instead of being based on the old Discovery the new Sport shares the aluminium chassis of the Range Rover, which means it's been on a diet. Instead of two and a half tonnes it weighs a 'mere' 2,144kg.

That makes a load of difference. I've driven the V8 petrol and the V8 diesel but for this car I needed a V6 diesel as I'll be putting a lot of miles on it so range and economy are vital.

You could say putting a more economical engine in a £75k SUV is daft but it really isn't. Less than 10% of Rangie Sports will be powered by the petrol V8, and the majority of the balance will be V6 diesels. If you have enough money for a £75k car you 'aint daft. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

And, besides, the SDV6 in the test car returns 37.7mpg and emits 199g/km of CO2. That slaughters the SDV8 on eco-stats and therefore running costs.

This one comes with Scotia Grey paintwork and Ivory leather seats. The combination of dark exterior and light interior works well. Subtle but classy.
2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6
2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6

The spec is to die for. The seats and most of the dash and doors is leather, trimmed to perfection. The ebony interior highlights and aluminium panelling look rather wonderful.  The Jaguar Land Rover touchscreen is a delight (even if some journalists don't like it) and controls several key systems such as the sound system and infotainment, heated and cooled seats (front and back), satnav etc.

The test car has a bunch of options, which will be handy as four of us will be driving to Germany and back over the course of a weekend. They include:

Dual View Touchscreen - £600
Super Premium Audio System 1700w - £5,000
Park Assist - £450
Privacy Glass - £300
Adaptive Xenon Headlamps - £300
Rear Seat Entertainment - £1,500
On Board Television - £800
Cooled and Heated Front and Rear Seats - £500

I've driven the car in the dark and the adaptive main beam is a bit basic compared to Volvo's as it switches on or off with no middle ground, but the light is clear and bright.

The engine is something of a peach. It's so quiet you'd hardly know it's a diesel but it has plenty of punch from low down in the rev range. The 8-speed automatic gearbox is well suited to the engine with ratios that suit its torque band and kick-down at a sensible pressure on the throttle. With some cars you have to firmly plant the throttle to overcome the car's inherent need to preserve fuel, which makes for often jerky progress.
2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6

It's also worthy of it's Sport moniker, well sort of. This is an SUV after all but it's a sprightly one that corners better than you'd imagine. Compare it to a ten year old 4x4 and it's light years ahead in terms of dynamics and performance for a given amount of power extracted from a litre of fuel.

I'll write a full review once the car's gone back. This week I'll be putting over 1,000 miles on it so will have plenty to say about it.

So far, after a few miles, it's proving to be worth every penny of its not insubstantial asking price.


Price - £74,995 
Engine - 3 litre, V6, turbocharged, diesel 
Transmission - 8-speed automatic 
0-60mph - 6.8 seconds 
Top speed - 130 mph 
Power - 288 bhp 
Torque - 443 lb ft 
Economy - 37.7 mpg 
CO2 - 199 g/km 
Kerb weight - 2,144 kg
2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6

2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6

2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6

2014 Range Rover Sport SDV6

By Matt Hubbard