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2010 Range Rover Sport HSE Review

2010 Range Rover Sport HSE
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2010 Range Rover Sport HSE

SEE ALSO: Land Rover Buyers Guide

"This Range Rover is so much more capable than just about any other SUV on the market"



Model: 2010 Range Rover Sport HSE
Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 375 hp @ 6,500 rpm/375 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Command Shift
Wheelbase: 108.1 in.
Length/Width/Height: 188.5 x 75.9 x 71.5 in.
Tires: 275/40YR20 (temporary spare)
Cargo volume: 33.8/71.0 cu. ft. (rear seat backs up/down)
Fuel economy: 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway/13.5 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 23.3 gal.
Curb weight: 5,540 lbs.
Sticker: $70,845 (includes $850 inland transportation charge and $9,350 in options)

The Bottom Line: The Range Rover is so much more capable than just about any other SUV on the market. It holds hills like a mountain goat, climbs them even better, and has the power and comfort to make highway driving comfortable as well.

The interesting thing about Range Rovers is that they are so much more than what most of the people who buy them are aware of. Range Rovers are often bought by people who have a lot of discretionary income and like the image of being seen in a Range Rover. Probably less than one percent are aware of what the Range Rover can do off road, or even take them off road.

They should spend some time at Range Rover’s headquarters, or even try the small obstacle course offered at most dealerships. Then they would see and feel what the mid-size SUV can do and appreciate it more.

There must be some reason it’s priced at more than $70,000.

Let me give you an example. I had a chance to take a ride with an instructor at the Range Rover headquarters in Lanham, MD. I rode shotgun. First we forded a small stream that was deep enough to go over the wheel hubs. Then we hit a hill. First we climbed what seemed like a 45 percent grade. At the top we saw nothing but sky. Heading down, the driver put it in low-low and took his foot off the gas pedal and let the car carry us down.

Then we hit this same hill from the side. Unfortunately, I was on the side near the bottom as we drove across the hill. The Range Rover was completely stable. I’m not so sure my stomach was.

The Range Rover Sport has permanent 4-wheel drive, with four-wheel electronic traction control and a four-corner electronic air suspension.

That’s the good, Range Rover stuff. Much of the rest is relatively normal, or luxury stuff, like the puddle lights, 480-watt sound system, keyless entry with pushbutton start/stop and a dual glove box.

For example, under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 delivering a healthy 375 horsepower. The engine delivers very good power and response, despite the weight of the vehicle. Power gets to the wheels (all of them) through a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. This ain’t necessary for normal driving folks (and is of questionable necessity even in off-road conditions) because you don’t drive a vehicle like this hard enough to need a manual.

The Range Rover Sport, like all Range Rovers I have been in, rides high. This makes entering it somewhat difficult, but not impossible. There are assist handles at all four doors to help.

Once you’re in, the front seats offer good side support and real arm rests in the center. The perforated leather seats are heated.

The rear seats have good legroom and with a flat floor, five can fit back there. They also offer some side support. The rear seat backs fold to increase the rear cargo area, but you have to fold the seat cushions forward to get a flat floor. The cargo area is good with the seat backs up, excellent with them down.

I had a small problem with the clamshell tailgate. At first I could only get the window to go up. Sometimes the whole tailgate would lift. Then I discovered all I had to do was push a button and the whole tailgate goes up; don’t push the button and you get just glass.

The instrument panel was clear with a large tachometer and speedometer and smaller fuel and water gauges. There’s an information panel between the two large dials. The navigation screen had a good audio readout. I wasn’t able to program the navi system because the CD was only for New Jersey and not Pennsylvania.

Among the $9,350 in options were a surround camera system that gives a 360-degree view of the car ($800); a rear differential lock ($500); an extended leather package ($1,000); a luxury interior package ($3,800); rear seat entertainment ($2,500); and 20-inch wheels ($1,200).

Overall the Range Rover Sport is a great vehicle. It has wonderful capabilities, but I have problems with the price.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate

SEE ALSO: Land Rover Buyers Guide