2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
The Range Rover Sport offers a driving experience that is as fun as it is capable. The Rover Sport is available with either a 300- or 390-horsepower V8, so it is not surprising that the most common complaint about the Range Rover Sport's performance is its poor fuel economy.
- +"This is a four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle that seems to defy gravity." -- The Washington Post
- + "On the squiggly, the Sport is the best handling Rover we've ever tested, feeling far more car-like than SUV." --- Motor Week
- + "Handling, assisted by cornering the brake control, dynamic stability control, and dynamic response systems, is assured and solid, even at high speeds." -- CNET
Acceleration and Power
The Range Rover Sport is available in two models. The HSE has a 4.4-liter V8 that makes 300 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 315 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. The Supercharged model has a 4.2-liter V8 that creates 390 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 410 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. Reviewers find the smaller, normally aspirated V8 engine powerful enough for everyday driving, but some reviewers recommend upgrading to the Supercharged for its extra power. The most frequent criticism of the Range Rover Sport's performance relates to its gas consumption. The HSE gets an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 12 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway, while the Supercharged gets the same figures. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
- "Though not as quick as V8 Porsche Cayennes and BMW X5s, Range Rover HSE never seems taxed in everyday driving. The Supercharged model is impressively strong. A Supercharged did 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds in our testing. Credit the transmission with shrewdly matching power delivery to demand." -- Consumer Guide
- "A hefty curb weight keeps the base HSE Range Rover Sport from winning any awards, whether on the drag strip, through the slalom or at the gas pump. The torquey Supercharged version, however, does a much better job living up to the Sport's higher-performance image. In our opinion, this is the only trim level that can truly match the performance of the Sport's highly capable competitors" -- Edmunds
- "We much prefer the rush (zero to 60 miles-per-hour in 7.2 seconds) that comes from the Supercharged 4.2-liter engine." --Kelley Blue Book
- "The Sport's appalling gas mileage -- just a little more than 10mpg in our experience -- is an expensive caveat that every potential emptor should heed." CNET
- "The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly," -- Cars.com
Handling and Braking
Most test drivers agree that the Range Rover Sport offers a comfortable, responsive ride. The Range Rover Sport's four-wheel independent air suspension has four settings: optimum handling (the standard setting), highway (for high speeds), access (which lowers the SUV when parked to allow easier loading), and off-road (providing more clearance). A Dynamic Response system, standard on the Supercharged and optional on the HSE, controls front and rear anti-roll bars to minimize body roll and lean. The Range Rover Sport's four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with power-assist impress reviewers.
- "On-road travel is fast, wonderfully stable and comfortable." -- The Washington Post
- "Not as quick to react to steering inputs as an X5, but Range Rover Sports are always secure, balanced, and grippy." -- Consumer Guide
- "The Sport's chassis and suspension deliver a smooth ride and responsive handling -- thanks in part to the Dynamic Response system." -- Edmunds
- "On the squiggly, the Sport is the best handling Rover we've ever tested, feeling far more car-like than SUV." -- Motor Week
- "Handling, assisted by cornering the brake control, dynamic stability control, and dynamic response systems, is assured and solid, even at high speeds." -- CNET
- "The steering can be sharp in corners without being twitchy at speed in a straight line." -- Motor Trend
- "The shocking thing about the Range Rover Sport is how amazingly well it stops." -- Car and Driver
- "Braking is more than adequate, much better than older Land Rovers." -- New Car Test Drive
Like every other land Rover in production, the Range Rover Sport excels in its off-road capabilities - and most test drivers agree that in this area the big SUV is among the, if not the absolute, best off-roader in its class (excluding, of course, the top-of-the-line Range Rover).
- "Off-road, the Range Rover Sport will astound you with its capabilities." -- Kelley Blue Book
- +"Both the Range Rover Sport HSE and LR3 have onboard, automatic terrain-setting systems. Turn a dial. Choose a setting for pavement, rocky terrain, sand or gravel. The vehicle makes numerous appropriate adjustments (suspension setting, braking, handling, acceleration control) in response. You are set to go with confidence." -- The Washington Post
- + "The Range Rover Sport may push the needle a bit closer to the on-road end of the gauge than many of the marque's faithful will find appropriate. But most needn't worry, as it'll still go where many will hesitate to tread." -- New Car Test Drive
- + "Unlike a lot of SUVs with macho names and steroidal styling, the Range Rover Sport is more than an off-road poseur."-- Automobile Magazine
- + "It handled muddy terrain with ease, despite its wide, low-profile tires. Deep sand, too, was a walk in the park; just keep your foot planted in the throttle and it'll scoot up steep dunes that would leave lesser SUVs stranded." -- Edmunds