The original Range Rover sport, which made its debut in 2004, was a toned down version of its legendary sibling the Range Rover, and the company’s answer to the Porsche Cayenne. It was a runaway success. Land Rover launched the second generation Range Rover Sport in 2014, which has now been given an upgrade for 2018. The updated model includes tweaks in performance, styling and more upgrades, like the new Land Rover infotainment system.
The 2018 Range Rover Sport looks unmistakably sharper than its predecessor. It has all-new bumpers, a slim and wide grille, massive 21-inch wheels with muscular arches, and smaller tail lights – all of this gives it a sleek and athletic look. My favourite touch is the new full LED headlamps with ‘Pixel LED’ adaptive beams; they are slim, wide, and add oomph to the aerodynamic form factor.
Step, or rather climb inside, and you are greeted with lush interiors. Be it front or rear it is lavish and elevates the sense of luxury. Every switch and knob is well engineered, and every surface soft to touch. Once inside, the first thing you notice is the number of touch-screens and reflective surfaces. Hit the ignition button, and the interior lights up. The feel is like that of an airline cockpit.
WHAT WE LIKE
Traditional yet aggressive looks, extremely comfortable ride, leather covered opulent cabin, Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, can take on any terrain with ease
The most significant upgrade is the dual-screen infotainment system. JLR calls it the ‘Touch Pro Duo’, which consists of a set of 10 inch HD touchscreens. The top one lets you control everything from the media to connectivity and navigation. The bottom screen is for climate control – it has two multi-function knobs with their own screens that show the temperature, fan speed, and seat temperature setting. There is a third high-resolution display screen that replaces the usual instrument cluster behind the steering wheel.
It has its own set of menus and settings which you can access via the controls on the steering wheel. The downside to all these screens is the time taken to figure out which one is for what.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
Lack of Apple Car Play and Android Auto, slightly sluggish at low speeds, a tad on
the pricey side
The steering of the 2018 Range Rover Sport has also undergone a facelift. The buttons are replaced with plastic housings that contain touch-sensitive controls. I didn’t have the best of experience with them, fumbling to get my settings registered and getting distracted trying to look at the instrument panel.
In the Land Rover line up the Range Rover Sport sits below the flagship Range Rover and above the newly launched Velar. In India, the Sport is available with four engines – two supercharged petrol engines (a V6 and a V8) and two turbocharged diesels (again, a V6 and a V8). Our test car was the V6 Diesel which churned out 255 bhp and 600 Nm of torque. It was a permanent all-wheel drive and did the 0 to 100 kph run in 7.7 seconds.
2993 CC V6 TURBODIESEL
7.7 SECONDS 0-100KPH
Considering its size, the 2018 Range Rover Sport is surprisingly easy to drive in city traffic. In Comfort Mode, the air suspension absorbed everything that the road threw at it. Despite the rush- hour traffic the cabin was silent; all I could hear was the soft hum of the air conditioning with faint traffic noise in the background. On the highway, even at triple-digit speed, the car felt comfortably planted on the road. While there is a noticeable amount of body roll on twisted roads, the air suspension did a fantastic job of keeping its 2.2-tonne weight in check.
The 2018 Range Rover Sport comes with Land Rover’s smart Terrain Response system. It’s more like an assistant for extreme off-roading. Depending on the surface, use the pop-out knob to choose a matching mode, and the vehicle will automatically adjust the transmission, suspension, traction, throttle response, differential locks, brakes, etc.
ON THE INSIDE
Touch Pro Duo infotainment, leather upholstery
8 airbags, ABS, EBD, Brake assist, Hill hold control, Traction control
There is also an auto mode in which the car senses the surface it is on and makes the adjustments accordingly. The vehicle is built to wade through the most treacherous of terrains and up to 33.5 inches of water. As for safety, the car is equipped with eight airbags, traction control, hill descent control, roll-stability control, surround camera system, ABS and multiple driver assist technologies. The Sport is not at its best at low speeds. Sometimes, in bumper to bumper traffic, the engine and gearbox struggled to find their equilibrium. However, it is solidly built, looks sharp, and is exceptionally comfortable. Of course, you can take it to places where the roads don’t let you go. The infotainment system gives it an all new cool quotient.