My first time hitting the road in the driver seat of the Range Rover Sport SDV6 HSE was appropriately a bit of an adventure. I was handed the keys at the end of our luxury SUV comparison shoot on a Friday afternoon, and the storm clouds were rolling in.
I quickly came to understand why Range Rover fans love the ride. It’s incredibly smooth and comfortable – and this is the Range Rover Sport rather than the plusher main Range Rover. The Sport was kitted out with a few optional extras, including powered seats with memory. Land Rover has also lowered the seating position compared with the full version, but it’s still quite a jump up into the cabin.
No matter what your preferences are in regards to seat position and comfort, anything is achievable. The sides of the front seats can be inflated, tucking you in securely. You can hear the balloons deflate if you push the button back the other way.
The collection of electric toggles also allows for extra lower back support, and there’s the usual tilt, forward and back, and up and down, as well as headrest height adjustment. There are arm rests either side of a generously sized cubby box, and because of the lower seat position, your outside arm rests neatly on the door arm rest. The interior is incredibly plush and the seats are reminiscent of a lounge suite.
It also featured an optional panoramic sunroof, which was fantastic as I began the two hour drive back to Sydney. But then it started to bucket down, heavy enough to significantly reduce visibility. At no point did the Sport feel unsteady on the wet motorway. The only problem was keeping the speed down. Though it felt like I was moving at an appropriate speed for the conditions, I kept creeping back up towards 110km/h without realising. One of the standard safety features I quite liked is that the hazard lights will come if you brake heavily.
The hard disk navigation system took a little while to get used to. There are a lot of features and different formats, you can customise the amount of information that you see on the screen. It just takes a bit of time to experiment and fiddle with the configuration until it speaks your language.
Another extra interior feature that I found handy is the ability to control the, driver and passenger side temperatures independently, with 4 zone air conditioning. While I was happy with a balmy 23 degrees, my daughter had a lot of fun exploring the full gamut of seasons on the passenger side. Interestingly, the fluctuation in temperature wasn’t too pronounced on my side of the car.
As I had the Sport for the weekend, after arriving back in the city I headed to the airport to pick up my daughter who was arriving back after school holidays. The blind spot sensors that light up in the side mirrors were a god-send while navigating the lane changes necessary to end up in the right parking lot. Then I realised I’d have to park the car.
For someone who admittedly gets a little nervous parking large cars in tight spots in busy car parks, I thought this would be a challenge. But it was surprisingly easy. A reversing camera with sensors comes as standard, and the trajectory guides visible on the 8 inch touch screen in the dash makes parking stress-free. It also comes with exterior mirror auto reverse dipping as standard.
The Sport also featured optional keyless auto-entry, I feel a little silly because it did take a couple of minutes for me to realise. I locked the car then checked by lifting the door handle (I may or may not have tried this a few times). Of course, because I was still in close proximity to the car, the door opened. Though keyless auto-entry is a nifty idea, those with a compulsion to double check everything is locked or switched off, may find it challenging to trust the push of a button and the flash of lights.
Being a mum, I can imagine how satisfying rolling up to school to drop the kids off in a Range Rover would be. Perhaps it could be status driven, or based on the desire to inspire envy in others, but in practical terms I certainly can’t question the feeling of safety and stability that the Range Rover Sport inspires. Being smaller than the original Range Rover, it’s relatively easy to drive in the cramped and busy city lanes.
The 5 seat Range Rover Sport is up to 420kg lighter than its predecessors, with the body made entirely of aluminium. The SDV6 HSE has a 3.0litre turbo-diesel engine, and is yours for $125,800 as standard.
With an eight-Speed automatic transmission with Commandshift, plus electronic cross linked air suspension with automatic load levelling, four corner air suspension, terrain response, hill descent control, and many more features, the Sport SDV6 HSE is certainly built to handle off-road conditions.
Though it’s engineered to be more than capable of tackling rough terrain, taking into consideration its plush interior, sleek looks and the price tag, my first impression is that it’s just too pretty to get too dirty.
Read our technical and more detailed review of the Range Rover sport below: