The new Range Rover Sport will undoubtedly be the best selling Range Rover in India. With prices starting at Rs 1.09 crores for the V6 diesel, it is a whole lot cheaper than the hugely expensive full-size Range Rover. The TDV6 Autobiography was what we took for a quick spin on and off road at the Amby Valley city premises above Lonavla.
This new one is based on the full-size Range Rover and that means it has an all-aluminium chassis and body that helps cut its weight by 420kg (as compared to the old Sport that was based on the Discovery).
What this directly translates to is a more agile SUV, one that can, to a certain extent, be thrown around an airstrip like a much smaller car and that’s exactly what we did. The Sport was taken through a slalom track and an emergency lane change maneuver course and it’s impressive how the Sport’s complex electronics and new found agility controls all that weight (it still weighs slightly north of two tonnes).
The TDV6 in this car is a 3.0-litre diesel and generates 288bhp which makes for reasonably brisk performance. There is some initial hesitation when you floor the throttle but once the eight-speed automatic has hooked up, it really hauls itself upto speed well. The engine is as quiet and smooth as you would expect of a Range Rover and it is quite a soothing experience driving one. The ride is really great as well – it’s pliant and has little of the stiffness that you find in some of the Sport’s counterparts.
We can’t think of many owners who would take their Rs 1 crore-plus car into serious off-road situations (knocking something off could kill your life savings) but we can confidently tell you the Sport is very capable off-road. Our car didn’t have a transfer case of low ratios but it's breathtaking how its clever electronics makes it get through so easily, all you have to do is feed in power. The rest, the Terrain Response System and the Torsen-based 4x4 system take care of. In fact, it makes it easy to the point of boring, which speaks volumes aobut how capable the Sport is off-road.
As for the things that the typical Range Rover Sport owner looks for, this one won’t disappoint. It looks far better than the old Sport and has a lot more presence as a result. Like all Range Rovers, you have to climb into the driver’s seat although with the air-suspension set on its lowest ‘access’ setting, its less of a climb than before.
The cabin is clean, simple and superbly built. It emulates the Evoque’s cabin in its design and that means there’s a touchscreen display that controls most of the car’s features (including the many camera views that are useful for off-roading and parking next to high kerbs) and a clear and easy-to-use cabin. The seats are broad and supportive, the rear seats are really comfortable and, typical of a full-size Range Rover, the view out is terrific.
It also has one of the biggest boots in its class but our car didn’t have the seven-seat configuration. Instead, it has a full-size spare wheel which is nice for your peace of mind.
So, the new Range Rover Sport is an impressive car with a broad range of abilities. It will be available in S, HS, HSE and Autobiography trims and prices for the 5.0-litre supercharged petrol Autobiography tops out at Rs 1.65 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai).