2019 Range Rover Sport HSE MHEV Review By Larry Nutson
Be Seen and Go Anywhere
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Mention the Land Rover name and virtually everyone knows of the refined British luxury SUV brand with go-anywhere capability.
Land Rover’s Range Rover Sport offers that go anywhere capability, in variants from the mild to the wild. Of course, that doesn’t come without some cost. Prices start at $68,500 for 2019.
There are five trims: SE, HSE, HST, Autobiography, and SVR. Turbocharged V6 Diesel, mild hybrid I-6 gasoline, plug-in hybrid I-4 gasoline (2020), and supercharged V8 gasoline engines are yours to choose, depending on trim. Engine horsepower goes from 254hp to 575hp. All engines use an 8-speed ZF automatic and all-wheel drive is standard.
I had a week of living with the 2019 Range Rover Sport HSE MHEV finished in a wonderfully bright Firenze Red topped in black above the beltline. This HSE P360, as it is named, is powered by the 355hp 48-volt mild hybrid in-line 6-cylinder gasoline engine. It’s priced at $73,990.
One moment of pause here. Don’t only think of hybrids, or for that matter a pure battery powered EV, as slouches and for economy only. We have moved into the world of performance hybrids for production vehicles. Performance hybrids have been used in motorsports for a number of years now. They are now available for the masses.
The HSE MHEV’s engine uses an electric supercharger which supplements a twin scroll turbocharger to deliver immediate throttle response, more power and optimal fuel consumption. Boost is increased and there is reduced turbo lag. The mild-hybrid system recaptures energy through regenerative braking, and stores it in a 48v battery for later use such as when pulling away from a stop. In addition it allows for an enhanced start-stop system that can maintain an engine off condition longer without compromising passenger comfort…a common complaint with many idle stop-start systems.
If you should want increased performance, a 395hp version of the inline six powertrain is available in the Range Rover Sport HST model. With 406 lb-ft. of torque, it powers the model from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds.
My around-town driving of the Sport HSE along with a few highway drives proved to be quite comfortable. There is indeed plenty of torque for good acceleration as well as for highway merging and passing.
The midsize HSE is comfortable in a crowded city. It’s not too unwieldy and easy to maneuver as well as park. Park assist and a 360-view camera help out a lot. The all-aluminum body is tight and provides a good structure for an overall pleasant, well handling and comfortable driving experience.
At the same time, the Range Rover Sport has world-class off-road capability. Electronically controlled independent front and rear air suspension control ride. The Terrain Response System for the full-time 4-wheel drive offers Normal, Mud, Sand, and Snow settings.
The Ivory leather upholstery on my test car provided a high class and upscale look and feel. Getting in and out requires a bit of a climb up which had my wife wishing for running boards. It’s very quiet at highway speeds.
Two touchscreens are at hand for various controls and features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available. There’s a full array of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) safety features that help to avoid crashes. A Wade Sensing feature tells you the depth of water you may driving through, when crossing a stream for example, and alerts you to maximum wading depth.
Cabin storage is adequate. There’s a phone holder and an optional front center console refrigerator that can accommodate up to four 16 fl. oz. bottles and maintain their temperature at 41°F. A hands-free power lift gate opens to the rear cargo area. Rear seats fold for more room. Seating is for five. A third row seat with a power-fold feature is optional to add two additional seats that are intended for occasional use….think young children. The 7,716 lbs towing capacity is very good.
More information, details and pricing on the Range Rover Sport can be found at www.landroverusa.com.
Overall the Range Rover Sport is quite comfortable and well suited for its purpose….it has good street creds and fantastic off-road ability. The drive train is well matched for this overall purpose in life. And, it’ll move you about in lots of luxury.
The Most Independent Land Rover Vehicle Research Information Anywhere!
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© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy