Range Rover Sport

SD4 HSE

Range Rover Sport, 2017, front
Range Rover Sport, 2017, side
Range Rover Sport, 2017, nose
Range Rover Sport, interior
Range Rover Sport, interior

RANGE Rover and fuel efficiency have always appeared uneasy bedfellows.

It is difficult to equate something weighing a couple of tonnes and designed to go up mountains with anything other than a gas guzzler

But the introduction of a new four-cylinder engine - a first for Range Rover - is changing that perception for lurking under the bonnet of the popular Sport model I drove is the recently-introduced Ingenium powertrain.

Built at Jaguar Land Rover's new multi-million pound engine works situated in Wolverhampton, Ingenium represents the latest in diesel engine technology.

So the power unit - already fitted to the Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque models - is designed to offer top quality performance and efficiency while being more refined than Rex Harrison.

Figures from Land Rover claim fuel consumption for the 2.0-litre Ingenium of an impressive 45.6mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 172g/km.

It is not as economical in the real world but is still a major leap forward, especially as performance is still good with 60mph reached from a standing start in a shade over eight seconds.

My one quibble would be a small delay that can occur between pressing the accelerator and the big SUV responding when trying to nip into a gap.

The Ingenium is aided and abetted by an eight-speed automatic transmission offering seamless gear changes, with paddles behind the steering wheel allowing manual operation.

The new engine is part of a £60,000 winning package that was tweaked at the start of the year to include InControl Touch Pro, featuring a 10-inch central touchscreen display with neat controls and a range of connectivity options and apps to satisfy the most tech savvy of drivers.

Also added is an improved All-Terrain Information Centre which is operated via the big colour screen.

So take the Range Rover Sport off-road and you now get handy feedback on the status of things such as the Wade Sensing system and where the front wheels are pointing. Also included this year is Drive Assist where surround-view cameras help with low-speed manoeuvring when cavorting around the countryside.

It is great to drive with handling that laughs in the face of its bulk making it nimble in corners and a pleasure to partner on country lanes.

Spending more on a car than I spent on my first house entitles you to expect luxury and the Range Rover Sport does not disappoint.

The attention to detail in the cabin is exemplary with a high quality fit and finish and ample space for five adults to be transported in style - a seven-seater version is also available.

The boot is large so there is no trouble swallowing their luggage with the top-hinged powered bootlid opening off the key fob giving easy access.

The HSE model I tried launches the range but it is in no way basic as a raft of kit and equipment is included. There are also a bundle of optional extras you can add, but be careful as costs can quickly mount.

The neat features added to my motor - including screens in the back of the front-seat headrests allowing rear-seat passengers to watch DVDs or TV, a head-up display for the driver and a sliding panoramic roof - put another £20,000-plus on the price-tag.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover Sport SD4 HSE

Price: £60,015

Mechanical: 240bhp, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 128mph

0-62mph: 8.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 45.6

Insurance Group: 44

C02 emissions: 172g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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