It can be argued that nothing beats pulling up to the country club in a Land Rover Range Rover Sport SUV, especially if its the sporty new HSE P400e hybrid model.
This handsome SUV has a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a plug-in hybrid electric motor that deliver 398 horsepower and 472 pound/feet of torque.
The battery pack is said to let the Sport HSE P400e travel up to 31 miles on electric power. That's something I didn't try because i was anxious to get up and running with the HSE P400e.
I could find no acceleration figures on the vehicle's media site, but figure on 0-60 m.ph. in approximately 5.9 seconds, judging by the regular 395-horsepower Range Rover. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic with a crisp manual-shift feature. The Sport is quick for a vehicle that weighs roughly 5,000 pounds.
The owner's manual recommends fuel with a minimum octane rating of 91 to "maintain performance, fuel economy and driveability." But it says if such fuel isn't available, use fuel with at least an octane rating of 87. In any case, the new Sport has an efficient start/stop capability that stops the engine to prevent fuel from being squandered when it is idling for an extended period.
With the electric assist, the Sport HSE P400e's fuel economy figures of 19 miles per gallon the city and 25 on highways should easily be topped, especially if a driver puts it in "Eco" mode via a console control, and not "Dynamic" mode, which sharpens things up a bit.There's also "Comfort" and other driving modes, which include "Rock Crawl." After all, although the all-wheel-drive Sport has significant off-road abilities that can involve rocky terrain, it focuses more on handling prowess and ride comfort than off-road jaunts. Still, there's an excellent all-wheel drive system with a twin-speed transfer box.
It takes a fair amount effort to climb in, but occupants sit high. There's good room for four tall adults despite an extra-large front console with an optional refrigerator compartment, but the stiff center of the rear seat is best left to the large fold-down arrest with its twin cupholders. Rear door openings could be wider.
Both thick rear seatbacks flip forward to enlarge the cargo area reached by opening the power tailgate.The moderately sized cargo compartment has a wide but high opening that can make it difficult to load conventional cargo or to even put a large dog back there.
The steering is precise but rather heavy, and the ride is on the firm side. You can feel significant bumps despite the"adaptive dynamics electronic air suspension." I was aware of the vehicle's roughly 5,100-pound weight while buzzing round curves, but handling was helped by the Sport's electronic traction control, dynamic stability control and roll stability control, not to mention its 20-inch wheels. The anti-lock brakes have an emergency braking system.
The church-quiet upscale interior has top-notch materials that let you know this is, indeed, an upscale vehicle. The Windsor Leather front seats are heated, and the power adjustable leather-covered steering wheel helps assure a comfortable driving position. Among the many other interior features are two-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting, a surround sound system, cruise control, easily used touch screen, lots of steering wheel controls and a fixed panoramic roof. A sliding panoramic roof is optional, as is a heated steering wheel.
While the Range Rover Sport HSE P400e is rather large, it's not difficult to park. Helping a driver out are a rearview camera, lane departure warning, rear traffic monitor, blind spot monitor and a traffic sign recognition
Some attractive options are expensive. They include a $4,000, "Driver Assist Pack" that contains blind spot assist, a 360-degree surround camera, adaptive cruise control with steering assist and lane keep and park assist. Other options include four-zone climate control, head-up display, cooled front and rear seats, heated rear seats and special 21-inch split spoke style wheels.
With options and a destination and delivery charge, my test vehicle's bottom line price was $93,200.
My test Range Rover Sport HSE P400e looked especially sporty with its optional Firenze Red paint, which coved my test vehicle. It deserved nothing less.
Pros: Handsome. Luxurious. Fast. Roomy. Good handling. Off-road ability. Extra fuel economy. Snob appeal.
Cons: Step-up height. Narrow rear doorways. High cargo floor. Moderate-size trunk. Costly options.
Bottom Line: Considerable snob appeal.