2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport PHEV – Efficient Luxury

Range Rover Sport

For Range Rover enthusiasts, the “Sport” nameplate has always been controversial. It offers a great amount of comfort and luxury similar to the “grander” Range Rovers, but it just adds a little bit of sportiness to make it competitive against other sporty entries in this segment, such as the BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne. For people who want a little bit more nimble luxury SUV, the Range Rover Sport might be the ideal choice.

As expected, the Range Rover Sport looks undoubtedly Range Rover, but with sportier design details. It has a sleek and distinctive front fascia, with an iconic grille and headlight design. All grilles are completely functional for extra cooling, the iconic clamshell-style hood gives it a sportier and elegant look. You will not be able to find a lot of chrome pieces, as most of the details are blacked out to match the character of the Range Rover Sport.

The Looks: Exterior & Interior

From the side profile, you will find a little bit more sloping roof than the traditional Range Rover. A two-tone colour is an option, but worth paying extra for a luxury SUV. Small design details underline the luxury and technology it offers, including the retractable door knobs that hide when it’s locked or when you are on the move. The elegant design language continues when you make your way to the rear end of the vehicle. It comes with real exhaust tips, blacked-out accents as well as sleek taillight design are the most distinctive design features of the Range Rover Sport.

Just as expected from a Range Rover, the interior design and quality are why you would choose it compared to other entries. It gives you the traditional dashboard design with a nice balance of high-quality materials, including wood, leather, and very soft touch surfaces anywhere you can see and reach. It comes with a large diameter steering wheel with haptic feedback steering wheel buttons, that can be used multi-functionally when you navigate through the digital gauge cluster. For the Sport models, the steering wheel has 3-spokes instead of the 4-spokes you would find in other Land Rover models.

Land Rover tried to minimize the actual physical buttons, but for the most crucial features like the volume knob, or HVAC controls, you still get actual controls. You still rely on the large infotainment screen for most features, but I like the fact that you don’t have to use the big screen for air conditioning, or heated/ventilated seats. The overall center console layout is also quite usable with a lot of storage cubbies, I just wish there were less glossy black plastic trims, especially in places where you use them most.

The 13.7-inch digital instrument cluster or virtual cockpit gives you tons of information with multiple different layouts. Although it takes a little bit of time to understand how to interact with it, the screen quality and resolution are exceptionally good. You can also put the navigation screen instead of using the large 13.1-inch infotainment screen, so you can utilize the main screen for your music or off-road information. Overall, it is one of the most configurable options available, and not confusing like the latest version of Mercedes-Benz digital clusters.

Comfort and luxury are the biggest selling points of a Range Rover, and the Sport is no exception for that. It does not matter which seat you take, all of them feel extremely comfortable. The front seats give you extra adjustability and the massage feature, unlike the rear seats. Even though it is the sportier entry, you still get plenty of space even for the taller adults.

Things are really not different for the rear seat passengers, you get the most features and a little less adjustability options. Even though the roofline is slightly lower than traditional Range Rover SUVs, you still get plenty of headroom and legroom space. You get a lot of creature comforts, such as ventilated and heated seats, as well as four-zone climate control and USB ports for the rear seat passengers.

Rear-facing child seats are also not a big issue, tall adults can even sit in the front passenger seat with the rear-facing child seat installed. You won’t be able to find luxury features like you would in other Range Rover models, but that’s kind of normal considering this is a more driver-focused option available in the brand’s lineup.

The luxury you would find in the first and second rows continues in the trunk area. The whole trunk is carpeted really high-quality materials. You don’t get 3rd-row seats as expected from a more compact platform, but you still get a decent amount of cargo space despite having a sportier silhouette. The 2023 Range Rover Sport has 31.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which can be increased to 53 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The Plug-in Hybrid version has the same cargo space, but the cargo area has a relatively higher load floor, you can lower the back end of the vehicle, thanks to the air suspension.

The Drivetrain & Experience

What I like about the latest Land Rover model lineup is that they always bring multiple drivetrain options, including the Range Rover Sport. There is a mild hybrid drivetrain, there is also a pure gas version, and our tester has the new 3.0-litre turbo inline-6 engine, matched with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The inline-6 turbo engine has been on the market for the last few years and seems like a solid platform, but the addition of a plug-in drivetrain makes it significantly more efficient. The overall power output is 434 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.

The electric motor itself can push up to 141 horsepower and it can send power to all four wheels. The gas and electric motors are matched with an 8-speed torque-converted automatic transmission that we would find in other Land Rover models. The most impressive part is the full electric range is one of the highest available in the market.

You can put around 90 kilometres on a single charge, which means you can just use the electric power for a very long time and don’t even have to start the gas engine unless you need the extra power. With the level 2 charging, it gets from 0% to 100% in less than 5 hours, which is acceptable considering it comes with a relatively larger 38.2 kWh lithium-ion battery by modern “plug-in hybrid” standards. It also takes a DC (level 3) rapid charge that charges the whole battery pack from 0% to 80% in less than an hour.

The Range Rover Sport will not provide the maximum off-road capabilities you would find in a Defender, as it is focused more on refinement and sportier driving experience. However it still comes with many off-road oriented features including a locking center differential, and Wade Sensors that sense the river or water crossing, and get the car ready for that. You can also choose different ride heights for extra ground clearance. Even though it is too pretty to go off-road, Land Rover did not cut any corners.

The most impressive part about the driving experience is the elevated luxury mainly due to the dead silent electric motors. Even though it is the sportier entry, the car still offers excellent ride comfort and refinement, but when the internal combustion engine is shut off, it gives you the ultimate experience as a luxury vehicle. The 6-cylinder turbo engine is very responsive and smooth, but you still hear it at higher RPM.

The noise, vibration and harshness levels are already very low, as expected from a Range Rover, but the Sport version has a slightly less refined suspension as it aims to offer a little sportier driving dynamics. It is not choppy or overly stiff, but if you are coming from a more comfort-oriented Range Rover product, you feel the Sport is a little firmer than usual.

The Verdict

The 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport offers a great mix of elegance and beauty that you can find in a modern luxury SUV, with an extra layer of sportiness and adrenaline boost. It’s hard to recommend a luxury electric SUV that costs over $120,000 CAD if you are planning to save the environment or money, but the plug-in hybrid drivetrain and electric platform clearly make the Range Rover Sport a better luxury SUV.

The Range Rover Sport with the P440e drivetrain is a bridge from conventional internal combustion engine platforms to electric vehicles. The brand will offer more plug-in hybrid engine platforms including the new P550e drivetrain for the 2024 model year, and possibly a fully electric Range Rover model in the near future, which should offer the ultimate luxury and that can be the right utility vehicle for the right audience.

Engine3.0 liter turbocharged inline-6 & 105kW electric motor
Transmission & Drivetrain8-speed automatic & mechanical all-wheel-drive
Max power (combined)434 hp @ 5500 rpm
Max torque (combined)406 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
0-100 km/h5.5 sec
Curb Weight5860 lbs – 2658 kg
Fuel Economy (observed)55 MPG – 4.2 L/100 km
Starting at (MSRP)$123,050 CAD

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