The obnoxious little brother no more
I’ve been itching to get my hands on one of these.
Why? Well, because I’ve never truly been able to decide whether I like the Range Rover Sport or not. You see, having owned Land Rover products for decades, I’ve always viewed the Sport as the kid brother to the Range Rover; you know, the one who tries his best to emulate his older sibling, yet never quite manages to achieve it.
Now perhaps I’m being a tad unfair having never owned one, but as I’ve always purchased my LR products secondhand (I was, in the past, a LR technician), I’ve never seen any point in buying a Sport as they fetch nearly as much used as the full-size Range Rover.
Of course, that in itself is somewhat confusing, as having driven this vehicle for a week I now realize that the Sport is almost the size of my wife’s 2001 P38 Range Rover (which was the full-size model of its day), so perhaps it’s simply a case of the big brother gaining a little extra bulk hence making its younger sibling appear slightly more fit and agile?
Olympic contender? Perhaps
Well, that was certainly the case with my test vehicle because the supercharged 5.0L V8 (510 hp & 461 lb-ft of torque), which nestles under the hood turns the 2012 Range Rover Sport Supercharged into an Olympic-grade athlete! In fact, if it wasn’t for the scrumptious wood & leather (read: gentlemanly) interior, I’d be tempted to label this the world’s first hooligan SUV!
Yes, sitting at the lights waiting to turn left in heavy traffic can often be daunting for a sports utility driver. Even with plenty of oomph under the hood, there’s always the feeling of accelerating a tad too lively and upsetting a high-centred SUV. Well not in the Range Rover Sport!
You simply sit back enjoying the opulence of one of the finest interiors in the business until there’s a small break in the traffic and then, whoosh, you’re gone (0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds). No fuss, no drama; it’s like being fired out of a gun with the exception that this bullet can pull 90-degree turns.
No need for more than one car
Of course, now I get it! No wonder these vehicles are becoming so popular: they’re absolutely addictive. Why purchase a sports sedan for the weekdays and an SUV for those weekend cottage getaways, when the Range Rover Sport Supercharged bundles this all together in one magnificent package?
Now, obviously, there’s a price to pay for all of this. No, in my opinion, the figure of less than $100k ($97,600 as tested) makes this vehicle almost bargain-priced for what’s on offer. What I’m speaking of is the fuel-economy figures. Natural Resources Canada gives this vehicle a fuel economy rating of 18.1L/100 km city and 11.7L/100 km highway. However, I struggled to get anywhere near those numbers during my test week.
Yes, perhaps if you were to drive the vehicle like your granny would on the way to church on Sunday morning, you could possibly achieve somewhere around those listed numbers. However, I challenge anyone to drive the supercharged Range Rover Sport like that. Yep, no matter how hard you try to resist it, there’s always that temptation nestling there beneath your right foot, and that’s going to cost you at the pumps.
So, how does one justify purchasing a vehicle like this? Well, it’s a Range Rover, so it’s built as tough as the brickwork of Buckingham Palace and therefore pretty much as safe as vehicles come today. It also carries the Best in the Business off-road credentials, so you’ll never need worry about your cottage trail again, summer or winter.
Then of course, you have to take into account the prestige value of its nameplate. Yes, there have been numerous pretenders to the throne, but the name Range Rover has always held its ground as the King of the Hill. In many ways, it’s the perfect blend of performance, luxury and practicality. It is as much at home parked outside a stately manor house as it is traversing the muddy field adjoining the farm manager’s cottage.
The 2012 Range Rover Sport Supercharged is, for want of a better description, the gold-plated Swiss Army knife of the transportation world; which is why one day I plan on one day having one of these parked outside my residence for longer than a week.
So, yes, I’ll admit to having wrongly evaluated this vehicle in the past. I should have known better and driven the vehicle before jumping to foolish conclusions. Its sports-like ride (20” rims) might not be to everyone’s taste, and unless your family owns the odd oil rig or two you’re likely to cringe each and every time you visit the gas pump.
However, if you’re looking for a vehicle which is as at home on the track as it is off on the grass beside it, then the supercharged Range Rover Sport is just what you’ve been searching for.
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