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2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Review

LIKES
  • Superlative performance
  • Handsome looks
  • Genuine off-road chops
  • Luxury appointments
  • Smooth ride
DISLIKES
  • And none of it comes cheaply
  • Very small third row
  • Where to begin with powertrains
BUYING TIP
  • The V-8 is still our pick among powertrains for its deep wells of available power and grunt. The more-efficient options are welcome, but we know…


The 2020 Range Rover Sport is one of the most luxurious, most capable SUVs on the planet—befitting its high price.

The 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport sits atop the mountain of luxury and performance SUVs because it drove there. 

Its impressive off-road abilities this year are complemented by a bevy of new powertrains tilted at efficiency, including a plug-in hybrid version with more than 30 miles of all-electric range on a single charge and mild-hybrid inline-6s. 

The 2020 Range Rover Sport gets a 7.8 on our overall scale thanks to what was already there: amazing performance, good looks, and impressive options.

This year, the Sport costs at least $70,000 in base configurations and can easily run up the tab to more than twice that. This year’s trims for the 2020 Range Rover Sport include SE, HSE, HST, Autobiography, and SVR with a handful of performance packs and options scattered among them. 

Regardless of trim, the Sport gets the family’s good genes and dresses them up well. It has all the Range Rover signatures—upright angles, clamshell hood, grille and LED lights—but drapes those over a right-sized body ready for five adults. 

Under the hood is a long list of available engines that include 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder configurations, gas or diesel power, with or without help from electric motors. Our advice? Pack a lunch before starting in on configuring your Range Rover Sport. 

The short of the long, since you asked: The turbo-4 plug-in hybrid is the most efficient around town, the turbodiesel V-6 has the longest legs for road trips, and the supercharged V-8 is the undisputed powerhouse of the bunch. A new inline-6 helps color in the lines between the turbo-4 and V-8, we’ll report back once we drive it—outside the lines and onto the trails, we must say. 

All Range Rover Sports get four-wheel drive and most will use a low-speed transfer case to complement 9.3 inches of ground clearance and a terrain management system that can take the SUV nearly anywhere. 

The ride will be comfortable. On top of a standard air suspension system that smothers bumps, the Range Rover Sport swathes its interior in real leather, wood, and metal that’s dressed to impress. Five adults will fit, although four will ride more comfortably, with room in the back for 27.5 cubic feet of cargo. 

Most Range Rover Sports won’t want for luxury fittings either. Even base versions get 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, an adjustable air suspension, power liftgate, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, navigation, active safety features that include automatic emergency braking and a pair of 10.0-inch touchscreens for infotainment and climate controls.

Top trims get a fire-breathing 575-horsepower V-8, 21-inch wheels, heated front and rear seats, four-zone climate control, premium audio from 19 speakers, Windsor leather, and even a refrigerator in the center console.

Styling
Its looks haven’t changed much, and that’s a good thing for the 2020 Range Rover Sport.

The Range Rover Sport’s styling has come out from under the bigger Range Rover’s shadow—and in some cases eclipsed it.

The Sport’s the cleaner of the two—although they look very similar—and wraps a trendy body on a right-sized frame with a lower stance. We give it a near-perfect score for looks. 

From the outside, the Range Rover Sport shares much of the family DNA, including many right angles, its grille, LED headlight signature, and clamshell hood. The Rover Sport’s the more compressed of the Range Rover models and looks lower thanks to a front bumper that reaches toward the ground, even though the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are the same height. 

The Sport’s also the trendier of the two, with a blacked-out roof pillar and smoothed over surfaces and a truncated tail. In spendier trims, including the Range Rover SVR, the bigger wheels fill the arches more and some of the ride height drops—adding more menace to the already-impressive looks. 

Inside, the Sport takes the twin-touchscreen infotainment system from Velar and I-Pace and plunks them between supple leather surfaces and impressive wood finishes. It’s an old-world library with a tablet staring back at us—a touch of modern in the middle of the Old World. 

Performance
The depth and breadth of possible powertrains in the 2020 Range Rover Sport is matched only by its impressive capabilities on and off road.

The 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport opens its menu this year of available powertrains to include 6-cylinder engines with a mild-hybrid assist, and a turbo-4 with electric motors and a plug. 

It’s still available with a supercharged V-8 or turbodiesel V-6—nearly every base is covered. 

Almost as impressive is the Range Rover Sport’s ride and capability, which vaults it to a 9 on our scale. 
The possibilities are prolific, so pack a snack.

Last year’s supercharged V-6 is gone, replaced this year by a new 3.0-liter inline-6 mild-hybrid with two outputs. The base inline-6 in SE and HSE versions is a 355-hp mill paired to a small hybrid battery and 48-volt system. It shaves a second off the turbodiesel’s time to 60 mph (7.2 seconds vs. 6.2 seconds) but the EPA hasn’t yet rated it for efficiency. 

The mild-hybrid inline-6 found in HST versions makes 395 hp and shaves 0.3 seconds off the 0-60 mph time without sacrificing fuel economy, according to Land Rover. 

We haven’t yet driven the inline-6-powered Range Rover Sports, we’ll report back once we do. 

The next step up for the Range Rover Sport is a 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel that makes 254 hp and 443 pound-feet of torque. Efficiency is the oil burner’s claim to fame for now—up to 28 mpg on the highway—although it’s relatively refined. It’s a smooth driver and a small price bump over the inline-6-powered Range Rover Sports at just over $1,000. The turbodiesel’s fuel-efficiency title likely will be claimed by the plug-in hybrid turbo-4 Range Rover Sport, although the EPA hasn’t yet chimed in with official ratings. 

The plug-in hybrid version makes 398 hp and matches a busy 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 296 hp with an electric motor that makes 141 hp. The plug-in hybrid’s battery pack is much larger than the mild-hybrid version (13.1 kwh vs. 0.23 kwh) which means the Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid can travel on electricity alone for more than 30 miles at speeds up to 85 mph. We’ve briefly driven the plug-in hybrid powertrain and came away impressed with the low-speed acceleration and off-road potential of the electric powertrain. The plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sport adds nearly 400 pounds to the overall weight of the heaviest Range Rover, which means the battery pack pushes the big ‘ute to nearly 3 tons overall. 

The supercharged V-8s sit atop the range and produce profound power in any configuration. The “base” supercharged V-8 churns 518 hp and speeds the SUV up to 60 mph in about five seconds. Its V-8 grumble and grunt will be appealing to well-heeled Range Rover Sport buyers, it’s the one we’d choose to live with. 

The 575-hp supercharged V-8 in the Range Rover SVR appeals for its 4.3-second runs to 60 mph and brappy exhaust note—although a track-focused SUV kind of misses the point on several levels. Compared to its rivals—BMW X5 M, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Mercedes-AMG GLE 63—the SVR is more vociferous and mellifluous, even if those other SUVs are faster around a track. 

Regardless of what’s under the hood, the Range Rover Sport uses a telepathic 8-speed automatic transmission to shuttle power to all four wheels. Only the base Range Rover Sports lack a two-speed transfer case in the back, but most models will get the low-range box for better off-roadability and crawling capabilities. 

And the Range Rover Sport is hugely capable off-road. The Range Rover Sport has 9.3 inches of ground clearance and can ford nearly 3 feet of standing water, which belies its Beverly Hills provenance. The Range Rover Sport is equally at home bounding through rutted terrain as it is blasting dunes as it is in hip-deep snow as it is in valet lots. 

In Auto setting the Range Rover gumptions its own settings for terrain and speed, and takes the thinking away from us—we don’t mind. 

Left to its own devices the standard air suspension smothers the road and trails perfectly and delivers a glass-smooth ride that for the money is hard to beat. 

That feeling even extends to the sporty SVR, which nearly makes us forget about other fast Jags. The weight’s up higher in the track-ready Range Rover Sport SVR, but the “RANGE ROVER” badge is in the right place—and that perhaps will matter more to SVR buyers. 

Comfort & Quality
Few cars are exceptionally comfortable and capable like the Range Rover Sport.

The 2020 Range Rover Sport cossets passengers just as well as its bigger brother Range Rover, with plenty of space for adults and cargo. It’s fantastically appointed and aces our comfort score. 

The front seats adjust in at least 14 different directions (most models get 16-way adjustable seats that can be heated and cooled). The front passengers sit deeper in the Range Rover Sport than they do in the Range Rover, with a center console between them with cupholders, USB ports, touchscreens—even a small refrigerator that perfectly holds four 12-ounce skinny aluminum cans. 

The rear seat riders get nearly the same treatment—the rear outboard seats can be heated and cooled too. There are 37 inches of rear seat leg room, but big buckets or tall passengers in the front can eat into that available space. The deeply sculpted outboard seats make a statement that two adults in the back are preferred—although three abreast is possible. 
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Behind the second row, there’s 27.5 cubic feet of cargo room, which expands to nearly 60 cubes with the rear seats folded. There’s an itty bitty available third row for the Range Rover Sport that’s suitable only for small children, and just two of them, that is available on some models. If three rows are a priority, we’d suggest something better suited for the task—can we show you something in a Land Rover Discovery, perhaps?

The fittings and finish of the Range Rover Sport are among the best in any car, anywhere. The soft leathers, real wood, brushed metal, and solid plastics feel spectacular. Fitting for the Range Rover’s high price—easily six figures at that, too.

Safety
The 2020 Range Rover Sport lacks official crash-test data.

Federal and independent testers don’t rate the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport for safety so we don’t either. 

Absent official crash-test data, there are reasons for optimism. 

Every Range Rover Sport gets standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and parking sensors. HSE versions and higher get a surround-view camera system, a driver recognition monitor, blind-spot monitors, and a traffic sign recognition system. 

Land Rover’s driver assistance features are sophisticated, but far from hands-free. 

As a tall-riding vehicle, the Range Rover Sport is fairly easy to see out of, only the rearward vision is compromised by a small-ish hatch. 

Features
As rich as you like, but even base 2020 Range Rover Sports get most of the good stuff.

It’s no wonder that the jet-set is often found in Range Rover Sports—in top trims it takes a small fortune to even buy one. 

Our rating of 8 applies to the lowly base Range Rover Sport SE that’s hardly lowly at more than $70,000 to start. For that sum, buyers will get 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, an adjustable air suspension, power liftgate, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, navigation, active safety features (that we cover above) and a pair of 10.0-inch touchscreens for infotainment and climate controls. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are in the mix, mercifully replacing the software on (just) one touchscreen. Land Rover’s new-car warranty isn’t as generous as Jaguar’s, but it’s still good: All Range Rover Sports are covered, bumper to bumper, for 4 years/50,000 miles. 

Like last year, the Range Rover Sport ascend the mountain of cash in SE, HSE, HSE Dynamic, HST, Autobiography Dynamic, and SVR trims. 

The SVR is king of the hill again, although we wouldn’t necessarily take it off road. Included in the high-po Range Rover Sport are 21-inch wheels, heated front and rear seats, three-zone climate control, premium audio from 19 speakers, advanced active safety features (covered above), performance seats shod in Windsor leather, and unique exterior accents. Before options are added, the 2020 Range Rover Sport SVR costs more than $115,00 to start. The final price can rise as high as $150,000, especially when trimmed in British Racing Green on red and black hides with premium audio and a visit from the carbon fiber fairy. Not that we’ve saved the build for our big lottery haul someday or something. 

Our recommended Range Rover Sport starts with a V-8 and the HSE Dynamic trim, which adds 21-inch wheels, a two-speed transfer case, leather upholstery, premium audio, premium audio, and soft Windsor hides for about $89,000. 

Touch Pro Duo

Range Rover’s infotainment system changed last year to twin 10.0-inch touchscreens perched one atop the other, which the automaker calls Touch Pro Duo. 

The bottom touchscreen handles climate controls and vehicle functions including terrain controls, the top screen handles navigation and audio functions. Thankfully there are still hard knobs for temperature settings and volume controls, but the rest of the news isn’t as good. 

Range Rover’s infotainment system can lag, and in some cases has completely shut off on us. There’s some reprieve via smartphone operating systems such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but they’re only as stable as the hardware. And sometimes the hardware doesn’t want to play ball at all. 

It’s a minor inconvenience that most owners will anticipate or ignore, but Touch Pro Duo can be complicated for even minor tasks. Turning on the heated seats, for instance, requires physically pressing the temperature knob and twisting in one direction—easy. Adding a frequent destination or function to the favorites screen? Swipe at least two menus over, find an opening, press the “+” button, find the function, add the button, resize the button to be one icon, three icons, or more icons, then long press to set. The days of holding down a button for a favorite radio station seem far behind us. 


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