2023 Range Rover Sport: Pure Heart Over Head Vibes

  • May 9, 2023
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Sometimes just the act of spending brings pleasure, but surely that’s not always a good thing?

At Rs 2 crore, the Range Rover Sport is a splash by any measure but it’s also redefining what splurging means. Will this purchase bring guilt or pleasure? Stick around till the end as we find out. 

Sinister Looks! 

  • Sleek LED headlights, flanking the grille and the bold ‘RANGE ROVER’ badging, give the front-end an aggressive look. 

  • Further sweetening the deal is the minimalist bumper design with copper design elements. 

  • If you want your Range Rover Sport to look sporty, pick a hue like red. For a badass and sinister look, choose darker colours such as this test car’s dark grey. 

  • Our favourite angle has to be the side profile where the flush door handles and the subtle lines and creases look minimalistic. 

  • Lack of window sills and the way the body meets the windowline in a flush line is an absolutely cool design touch. And if you slam the suspension to access mode (lowest height setting for the air shocks) and pair it with these large 22-inch alloy wheels, it looks even better. 

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  • The rear-end is where Land Rover has gone back to the design board with a brand new design and it’s now more rounded and curvier when compared to the outgoing car, which is more boxier and has sharper lines. 

  • Connected tail lamps look kickass, but a treatment like the Range Rover, which has its tail lamps hidden, would have given it a bit more drama.  

Has The Sense Of Occasion? 

  • Inside, you’re welcomed by a minimalist styled dashboard with a rather straightforward design and layout. 

  • Black and maroon dashboard looks plush and has a nice sense of occasion. 

  • Thumbs up Land Rover for retaining physical knobs to activate the climate control. 

  • That said, juggling through the multiple functions in the climate control knob might need some getting used to. 

  • Another thing that needs a bit of getting used to is the 13.1-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment system, where almost all functions are bundled in.

  • Positives are its crisp graphics and large icons, making it easy to access important features. 

  • On the flip side, it’s a bit laggy and there’s a minor delay after a particular function has been clicked. 

  • Also, we would have liked physical knobs for features like deactivating auto start stop as you need to hunt to switch it off in the infotainment system menus. 

  • Moving on to the digital driver’s display, it’s bright, crisp and easy to read even under harsh sunlight. 

  • However, it has limited customization options and using the onboard trip computer also ain’t as intuitive. Audi and Mercedes do a better job in this regard. 

  • Overall quality of materials used across the cabin is very good with plenty of soft touch plastics found in the lower half of the dashboard. 

  • We love attention to detail for certain bits such as the metal paddle shifters and the roof-mounted, leather-wrapped grab handles that feel like they’re lifted straight off an expensive set of designer luggage. 

  • However, some plastic bits like the tweeter cover and indicator stalks could’ve been better and don’t feel like they belong to a Rs 2-crore car. 

Pizza And The Amount Of Extra Toppings

As a standard car, the Range Rover Sport comes well loaded with features. Highlights include:

13.1-inch Pivi Pro infotainment system 

Multi-colour ambient lighting 

Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Electronic folding rear seats 

19-speaker Meridian sound system (not as impressive as Mercedes’ Burmester)

Powered tailgate 

Head-up display 

Wireless phone charger 

22-way power front seats with heating and ventilation

Four-zone climate control 

Massaging front seats 

360-degree camera (Crystal clear quality)

Our test car being the mid-spec Sport, it also comes with a handful of customisation options, including:

  • Front centre console refrigerator under the driver/passenger armrest

  • Black exterior pack for a sportier look that blacks out the shiny accents on the bumpers and the alloys

  • Dual 11.4-inch rear entertainment screens

  • Multiple rim designs ranging from 20 to 23-inches

  • Different interior and exterior colour and trim options.

Snoozing Levels Of Comfort

  • This Rangie’s front seats are like large armchairs - extremely comfy and accommodating, even for those with plus-sized bodies. 

  • There’s a good range of travel for both the seats and tilt and telescopic steering. Finding your driving position is a cakewalk, especially with powered adjustments for both. 

  • Both front and rear seats get both heating and ventilation and four zones of climate control, but still the seats took some time to cool down, especially in Pune’s blazing summers. 

  • But the icing on the cake is the massaging function, which is super relaxing and gets multiple types of massages with different intensity options. 

  • Overall, the service the front seats offer can be compared to a luxury spa. 

  • Unfortunately, and potentially a big miss for chauffeur-driven owners, the massage function isn’t available in the rear seats. 

  • Also, while you get sunshades, we wish they were motorised, considering cars that cost half as much, like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, get it. 

  • In terms of seat comfort, once again, there are no complaints here. 

  • Good underthigh and back support, enough head room for someone over six feet and wide enough to accommodate three medium-sized adults.

Locomotive-like In Nature 

  • Our test car came with a 3-litre diesel engine putting out 350PS and a whopping 700Nm. It drives all four-wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. 

  • Thumb the starter button and the Sport settles down to a smooth and refined idle. 

  • That said, as you start driving it and engine revs increase, its engine note becomes apparent and you do know there’s a diesel underneath the hood. 

  • Its engine note is also played through the cabin speakers and the note is a bit sporty. 

  • Coming to driving manners, most of the action happens lower down the rev range. 

  • Power builds in a linear and responsive nature, making it all the easier to drive, especially in city conditions. 

  • Complementing the creamy nature of the engine is the slick 8-speed automatic transmission with smooth shifts. 

  • It keeps you in the right gear most of the time with power ready to be dialled up when you need it. 

  • Out on the open road, it won’t complain when you put your foot down. 

  • It can do three-digit speeds all day long without any complaints. 

  • And if you want to drive it in a hard and aggressive way, the gearbox won’t complain, dropping down a couple of gears to get you going. 

  • The engine is rather lazy though and redlines at a conservative 4000rpm; BMW’s and Mercedes’ 3-litre diesels feel more free revving in nature.

Wafty, Wafty Ride!

  • The new Range Rover Sport has a good balance between ride and handling. 

  • Basics first, the steering wheel is a bit heavy at slower speeds but weighs up progressively as you go faster with good feel and feedback. 

  • The brakes are easy to modulate and offer good bite. 

  • The new Range Rover Sport’s air suspension is wafty with a nice and flat ride. 

  • Expansion joints, minor speed breakers and potholes are dispatched with no drama and barely unsettle the cabin. 

  • It’s only when driving over really bad roads that the Sport has some side-to-side body movement. 

  • But even that is very cushy and we won’t describe it as uncomfortable. Overall, the ride quality is excellent. 

  • Tip - Be careful while driving over bad roads as the low profile tyres could damage the deliciously crafted rims. 

  • The cushy ride doesn’t come at the expense of highway driving and handling. 

  • The soft suspension means it does roll around corners; and handling isn’t what you would call razor sharp, like a BMW X5, but it’s not over the top, either.

  • Straight line stability is excellent and highway speeds are nicely masked. 

  • The cushy seats, thick insulation, combined with an effortless engine and cushy ride, make this Rangie the perfect long distance companion. 


Now coming to the head vs heart matter. At around Rs 2 crore (on-road) for the Range Rover Sport HSE we had on test, its value proposition is poor. Models such as the BMW X5, Audi Q7 or Mercedes-Benz GLE offer a very similar package for a much lower price point and practically equal brand value. And this is where the new Range Rover Sport struggles to make sense in financial terms. So maybe sense would suggest you settle for one of these and use the balance cash to invest on another complementary ride or a cool condo or even a farmhouse plot. 

But that’s not why you buy some cars, right? You spend freely, because the car gives you goosebumps, you love the way it looks and makes you feel, or maybe the interiors offer you a certain sense of occasion. Mainly, you feel special when you’re behind the wheel or while pulling up to a special event. You don’t buy this car with your head, but rather your heart. And, the Range Rover Sport does manage to pull just enough at those heart strings and that’s what could make it so special to you.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Rs. 1.69 Crore
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