Range Rover … the name rolls off the tongue like an expensive red. It’s the quintessential look-at-me bling accessory for the who’s who of movie stars, sports gods and those famous for simply being famous. It embodies style, elegance and sophistication in what may be the best-looking genuine 4X4 SUV ever made.
What is it?
The RRS is no longer a trumped up re-skinned Discovery. The Sport now stands on its own firm rubber. Those sassy bodylines amalgamate design cues and DNA engineering mastery from the big brother Range Rover and the trendy, angular proportions of little sister Evoque.
What does it say about me?
Like the Range Rover Sport’s split personality, there’s a definite demographic split in its admirers. There’s the pretentious Armani-clad exec who leased it because it was expensive! Then there are those who deeply appreciate engineering brilliance, electronic wizardry and being ensconced in totally indulgent luxury. Unfortunately, many never access low range, which is a real shame … because they don’t know what they’re missing!
can I boast about?
Smartly dressed and safety conscious, our test SDV6 HSE tech sheet read like a definitive list of acronyms at a safety systems conference. Just imagine the look on your mate’s face when you tell him, “Buddy, it’s got EBA, ABS, CBC, DSC, EBD, ETC, HDC plus RSC with electronic cross linked air suspension, automatic load leveling, variable ride height, legendary Terrain Response … but wait there’s more … dual two stage main driver and passenger airbags, driver and passenger side thorax and pelvis airbags with Rollover Deployment of Restraints. Oh, did I mention a full-sized spare?”
Before their face is completely glazed over, you can finish off with “there’s connect and view letting you access smart phone apps via the 8-inch touch screen display.
And colour Head-Up Display for navigation using lasers for the read outs. Plus a way cool digital camera system that not only shows what’s in front, to the side or rear of the vehicle but adds Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beam Assist and even Traffic Sign Recognition.”
And before he starts laughing about your new 4×4 you might want to throw in, “Mate, it’s even got wade sensing. Yep, the Sport will keep an eye on the depth whilst I focus on the river bank exit. If it gets deeper than it’s impressive 850mm limit, I’ll know about it before my bus has the chance to down a couple of tannin creek schooners!”
What’s the stereo like?
For anyone who still needs convincing you’ve got a sweet machine, you’d better lay down a cool $13,600 so you can have the Meridian Signature Reference Audio System with no less than 1700w pumping through 23 speakers. You’ll feel like AC/DC are sitting in the back seat!
If it were a celebrity,
who would it be?
The RRS is Daniel Craig’s James Bond. It’s got street fighter smarts but looks great in a tuxedo. Don’t dismiss this rig as a driveway poser because of its sharp good looks and clean-cut image. In a fair fight you just might take an embarrassing beating.
What other 4X4
does It most resemble?
Some would put the Sport in the company of the ML Class Merc or Audi’s big Q7; others compare it to the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne. But the Sport’s strengths don’t rely on one or two specific abilities such as cornering or straight-line speed, which the X5 and Cayenne do better. Nor does it achieve the perfect form of the Audi and Merc. What makes the Sport unique is its incredible breadth of capability. It corners well and accelerates at a good clip, but has a luxurious interior and genuine off-road capability.
How thirsty is it?
When it comes to drinking habits, the SDV6 is impressive, with a claimed urban 8.7L/100km. We covered city traffic, highway cruising, dirt roads, tracks and some sand work without sparing the ponies to return an average of 9.2L/100km.
How does it go?
Our test SDV6 3.0L diesel almost made perfect sense with a feisty 215kW and 600Nm on tap. The long, fat torque curve is superb for towing duties, providing relaxed touring and executing passing maneuvers with safety and confidence. Left in D around town, the RRS is an easy, comfortable drive, with a docile initial response to throttle input that belies the Sport moniker. A quick tap to the left on the space age joystick enables Sport mode and things get a whole lot more interesting. The eight-speed ZF auto is a real knockout, keeping the SDV6 on the boil and exploiting the brilliance of the 3.0L diesel with throttle blips on downshifts and crisp, precision upshifts.
You can’t help but be impressed by this slick machine. The name’s Rover…
Words: Ray Cully