Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged car test drives luxury cars landrover
Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged car test drives luxury cars landrover
Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged car test drives luxury cars landrover
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Nobody needs a Land Rover Range Rover Sport. This vehicle is pure want. Wanton, primal want.

I want one. Sure, the Range Rover is the King of the Hill, but its tall, boxy proportions leave the door open to this slightly smaller, lower, leaner Sport. Twenty kilos lighter, almost 150 mm shorter and 50 mm lower, but with the same wheelbase and width, the Sport plays in the same sandbox as the Range Rover, except it doesn’t. The Range Rover is the Range Rover – it competes with the likes of the S-Class, XJ, G-Wagen, Escalade and probably even 911s and Bentleys, iconic status vehicles of every sort. It transcends segments. The Range Rover Sport is here to fight other mid-size luxury SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz ML and GL, Lexus RX and Acura MDX.

The price matches up against its German competitors, all climbing well above the Japanese entries from Lexus and Acura (and Infiniti too, for that matter), but few climb as high as the Range Rover Sport. Then again, few have been making SUVs as long as Land Rover. While I haven’t tested any of the competition in similar conditions, I think it’s safe to say none would survive the beating we put the Land Rover through in our First Drive of the Range Rover Sport. And few would keep up on the track, though here the X5 and Cayenne have a sporting chance. The Cayenne might be the most similar in its range of capabilities.

This is the picture perfect SUV, straight lines with slightly softened edges, angled rear windshield with rooftop spoiler to highlight the Sport in its name and class. From the mesh grille and complex front end, the high-tech modern art headlight installations, the feature line wrapping all the way around from the lip of the front hood, through the door crease and into the taillights to the way the rising door crease and ever-so-slightly dropping roofline pinch together for a sensation of speed, and right down to little details like the fender vents, chiseled surfaces around the liftgate or a shifter so cleanly cut that looks like it could be used in a joint transplant if necessary.

The interior is a study in clean, modern design, the successful effect eluding others who have attempted to go full touchscreen. Three simple auto climate dials and large touchscreen are nested in the sweeping, linear dash, with touch-sensitive panels around it. The materials are all achingly lovely to the touch, whether a dial with just the right dampening or the soft give of the padded leather. One oddity is the redundant individual, height-adjustable armrests flanking the wide, central armrest and storage cover – I found they just got in the way. In our car, the soft texture of the black leather was complemented by metallic accents and glossy piano black trim.

Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged car test drives luxury cars landrover Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged car test drives luxury cars landrover
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged. Click image to enlarge

But it’s not all pretty looks and no utility. Although the step-in was a challenge for my 5’0” wife, the rear seats were at an ideal height for strapping kids into car seats, although our toddler had to be helped into the cabin. This Sport was not equipped with the seven-passenger seating option, so we had a spacious cargo area with 60/40 split-folding rear seats that fold to an almost flat surface. Good thing, that, because our dryer bit the dust and we picked up a cheap floor model at Lowe’s the same night and made off like bandits before anyone realized the deal we got. The official cargo measurements are 784 L and 1,761 L, and it was a tight fit height wise because of the panoramic sunroof and rather tall for loading, but plenty wide and the carpeted floor meant no scratches on our new machine, though I felt a little bad dragging our ancient dryer to the dump in the posh Rangie Sport.




About Jonathan Yarkony

Jonathan Yarkony is the Senior Editor for Autos.ca, a Brampton-based automotive writer with eight years of experience evaluating cars and an AJAC member.