Despite the name, the 2023 Range Rover Sport is not focused entirely on providing a sporty driving experience. Instead, it is an SUV that combines opulent luxury with exceptional off-road capabilities. 2023 sees the introduction of a new generation with a complete redesign both inside and out.
Engine – Like the full-size Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport is available with the same 3.0L turbocharged inline-6 engine with a mild-hybrid system. In this P400 trim, it produces 395 hp & 406 lb-ft of torque (294 kW &550 Nm). Range Rover claims a 0-100 km/h time of 5.7 seconds and I can tell you that from behind the steering wheel, it feels pretty brisk. This is a heavy SUV at 2,309 kg (5,090 lbs) but the engine’s torque and quick pick up hides that weight very well. The mild-hybrid system doesn’t allow for electric-only propulsion like in a traditional hybrid. Instead it aids the engine with momentary bursts of power and improved fuel economy.
Fuel Economy – This big SUV is rated for 13.1 L/100km (17.9 MPG) in a city and 9.1 L/100km (25.8 MPG) on a highway. In the real world, it is possible to achieve those numbers as I averaged 10.2 L/100km (23 MPG) during my time with the SUV.
Transmission – This inline-6 engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission that provides buttery smooth shifts. There wasn’t any situation in which this transmission tripped up and didn’t know what to do because it performed flawlessly. You can take over shifting duties with the paddle shifters but there is a slight delay in shifts.
Braking – The 2023 Range Rover Sport has massive front brake calipers that clamp down on equally massive brake discs. These front brakes provide the brunt of the braking force. When temperatures are cold, the brakes can be a bit too sensitive for those with heavy feet. But once the brake discs and pads warm up, the braking force is linear and much smoother to control.
Handling – It’s hard to ignore the weight of this SUV around corners. It has standard air suspension that changes its resistance depending on the drive mode but this SUV doesn’t feel agile on its tires. The steering is direct but it doesn’t have the quick response of something like the BMW X5M or even the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. But at least it is easy to maneuver this big SUV thanks to the rear wheel steering system that turns the back wheels in the opposite direction to the front at slow speeds.
With this being a Land Rover product, it also has to perform well when the paved roads end. It has standard Terrain Response 2 programs that can alter the performance of the center and rear locking differentials, the traction & stability control systems, the transmission shifts and engine response, and the air suspension. The different modes are Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Rock crawl, water wading (which can wade in up to 900 mm or 35.4 inches of water) and a configurable mode that allows you to change certain parameters such as differential lock, powertrain response, traction control, and so on.
Ride Comfort – One area where the 2023 Range Rover Sport really shines is the comfort department. The ride is exceptional. Although this demo vehicle is equipped with 21” wheels, the thick sidewall tires & air suspension provide a supple ride. But just like the full-size Range Rover, driving over bumps at slow speeds can be easily felt. It’s at higher speeds that the ride becomes sublime.
Interior Space – The Range Rover Sport is essentially a 2-row version of the full-size Range Rover. The interior is quite spacious for tall adults. The Sport also provides a tall driving position for excellent visibility. The back seats are power recline and can be heated & ventilated if you option them. My small complaint is that the back of the front seats is hard plastic instead of soft leather.
Behind the rear seats, the Range Rover Sport accommodates 645 L (22.8 cu-ft) of space. With the seats folded, it has 1,492 L (52.7 cu-ft) of space. The back portion of the SUV can lower to allow for easier loading and unloading with buttons in the trunk.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The cabin of the RR Sport is quiet and serene. Under normal driving conditions, engine noise, road noise, and wind noise levels are extremely low. Land Rover went to great lengths to keep the cabin isolated from the outside environment and the hard work paid off. For a non-EV SUV, this is what other gasoline powered vehicles should strive for.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2023 Range Rover Sport has a price tag as large as the SUV itself. It starts at $108,900 CAD ($83,600 USD) and can easily cost upwards of $210,000 CAD ($180,300 USD) for the SV Edition one trim. Each trim of the Sport can be equipped with a lot of options.
Gadgets – Some of the options that can be added on include laminated front & rear side glass, 21 to 23-inch wheels, forged carbon, aluminum, black veneer, or walnut wood trim, park assist, rear sunshades, 4-zone automatic climate control, a refrigerator in the center console, configurable cabin lighting and many more options.
Interior Design – The interior of the Range Rover Sport is nearly identical to that of the full-size Range Rover. A single 13.1” touchscreen is the only item on the dashboard with two knobs underneath it for the temperature controls. When the car is on, the capacitive touch controls for the climate are illuminated and the knobs double as heated/ventilated seat controls and fan speed.
Exterior Design – The lines of the exterior have been smoothed out for this new generation RR Sport. It now follows the same minimalist language as its bigger brother. It looks similar as well to the Velar and new Evoque. The only let down is the somewhat bland looking rear end. The previous generation was more interesting to look at while being stuck in traffic.
Safety – This new generation Range Rover Sport has every available safety & driver aid as standard except for the parking assist feature. All of the safety features work in the background as you drive along and the driver assists, such as lane centering on highways, work as they were designed to.
Warranty – Like all other Land Rover vehicles, the 2023 Range Rover Sport is covered by a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle limited warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on U.S.A. warranty, click here.
Conclusion – The new 2023 Range Rover Sport excels in luxury and off-road prowess. This SE trim may not be the sportiest or most engaging of the bunch to drive but the level of refinement and quality that this SUV delivers makes it worth every penny.
Thank you to Land Rover Canada for providing the vehicle. www.LandRover.ca