Range Rover Sport SDV: Has the car company made this model a justifiable purchase?

 

Price: £81,570 (range from £51,550 to £81,575)
Engine: 367cc, V8 cylinders, 32 valves, turbo diesel, 339bhp
Transmission: eight-sped automatic, four-wheel drive
Performance: 140mph, 0-62 in 6.9 sec, 32.5 mpg, CO2 229 g/km

Many of us rage at the brashness and selfishness that goes with the battalions of 4x4s that nowadays patrol our roads. They are mostly unnecessary for the tasks they perform, they clog up streets because they can't squeeze past each other, they are heavy and thirsty, and they reverse into lower-set cars because their drivers fail to notice the existence of life below their elevated level.

All that said, they are here to stay, because too many people convince themselves that such a behemoth is an essential adjunct to a status-driven life. And, leaving aside my prejudices outlined above and reconfirmed nearly every day, there is no doubt that driving, or being driven in, the latest Range Rover models is a lush experience.

The smaller, highly fashionable Evoque has become massively popular, while the latest version of the full-size Range Rover is much lighter and more frugal than its predecessor. And now there is a new incarnation of the model which hitherto most overtly illustrated the unhealthy disregard for fellow citizens too often associated with 4x4 drivers: the Range Rover Sport.

The old one, square-cut and brash, was a product of the rolled-steel-joist school of structural engineering. The new one, instead, is based on its larger, dearer sibling's new aluminium, and chassis-less, underpinnings, a construction lighter by a massive 420kg.

The new Sport is also more rounded, elegant and subtle in design, making it look like the bridge between Evoque and full-size Range Rover that it is. It's also £20,000 cheaper than the full-fat model, despite being little smaller: the extra outlay for the top model goes on extra equipment and the warm glow that comes from owning the grand one.

Most Range Rover Sports are bought with a 3.0-litre, V6-cylinder turbodiesel engine in either 258 or 292bhp form, and, given the easy pace and sub-200g/km CO2 on offer, there is little reason to do otherwise. At the other extreme is a 510bhp supercharged petrol V8 for the bottomless of pocket, while in between lies the subject of this test, the unusual prospect of a diesel V8. This 4.4-litre engine produces 339bhp and a massive 516lb ft of pulling ability to haul the car's 2.4 tonnes, and its exhaust gases sadly include a high-tax 229g/km of CO2 every kilometre.

But what an extraordinary generator of smooth, seamless, effortless energy it is. Something this large and diesel-powered shouldn't be able to reach 62mph in just 6.9 seconds, but it does so if asked. Yet better, to an appreciator of physics if not to someone with an automotive conscience, is the way this hefty seven-seater (children-only in the back row, realistically) tidily flits through curves and smothers disturbances beneath, as though its mass has been sucked through a black hole.

Here is a Range Rover for the post-profligacy age, still an extravagant purchase but more tasteful than its predecessor and less overbearing than the full-size version. It's also more fun to drive than the biggest one, as well as being cheaper. A Range Rover Sport can never be a rational purchase, but its V6 diesel versions get the closest to that side of the justification process. Our SDV8 test car, however, did give an intriguing insight into the art of the diesel-powered possible.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

    SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

    Citifocus Ltd: ACA - Financial Reporting

    £Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Chartered accountant (ACA or CPA), must be...

    Langley James : Senior Infrastructure Engineer; VMWare, Windows; Disley; £40k

    £40000 per annum + benefits: Langley James : Senior Infrastructure Engineer; V...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?