WITH its clever hybrid technology, the latest Range Rover Sport is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a powerful go-anywhere 4x4 that is also economical to run on short daily commutes.
That's because the Range Rover Sport PHEV - or P400e as its officially known - is powered by Land Rover's 1,997cc Ingenium petrol engine working in tandem with an 85kW electric motor to produce a combined 404hp and 640Nm of torque.
In EV-mode alone it can clock up to 31 miles at speeds up to 85mph and the addition of the combustion engine means there is no range anxiety.
However, this hybrid version of the Range Rover Sport does cost in the region of £5,000 more than the standard model, so the figures need to stack up to make it a viable choice.
It would be ideal for anyone who has a relatively short commute to work where the vehicle could be put on charge again ready for the journey home.
However, it would need to cover lots of EV miles to make sense.
But that doesn't mean it is restricted to city life because the punchy petrol engine cuts in effortlessly when needed and that means weekend breaks for all the family are easily accomplished too.
The Range Rover Sport P400e is available in three trim levels calledHSE, HSE Dynamicand Autobiography Dynamic and we opted for the HSE Dynamic priced from £73,800.
It could sprint to 60mph from a standing start in 6.3 seconds and topped out at 137mph.
According to official figures, it can deliver combined mileage of 101mpg which is pretty much pie in the sky just like all hybrid vehicle mpg estimations.
In reality, you can expect to see low to mid-30s if driven with a little respect.
But one figure that is set in stone is the carbon emissions of 64g/km and that will result in financial benefits with a Benefit in Kind rate of just13 per cent.
The Range Rover Sport has always been a slick car to drive and adding the hybrid technology hasn't affected the performance.
Yes, if you slam the accelerator down the transition from EV-only mode to hybrid power is noticeable, but if driven ‘normally' you will barely notice the petrol engine cutting in.
It is quite eerie pulling away in complete silence - EV charge range permitting.
The car features an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddles for manually changing gears and the handling is most impressive.
The acceleration is smooth and responsive with ample power on tap for short bursts of pace to pass slower moving vehicles. The road-holding is confident and assured with minimal body movement into tight bends.
And although we stayed strictly on the Tarmac on this occasion, the car features Land Rover's impressive Terrain Response system which means it has go-anywhere capabilities - even in EV-only mode.
It can wade through water up to 850mm deep, clear obstacles of 213mm and tilt at precariously dangerous side angles.
Different surfaces won't faze the car either as it can switch through various terrain settings called Eco, Comfort, Grass-Gravel-Snow, Mud-Ruts and Sand.
TheRange Rover Sport P400eis a striking looking vehicle and features the latest design tweaks to the line-up.
It boasts strong muscular styling with black grille and vents, privacy glass, Matrix headlights with signature daytime running lights, 21-inch alloys with red brake calipers and apanoramic sunroof.
The interior is equally as impressive and has a modern, upmarket and sophisticated feel to it. There are Windsor leather seats that have 16-way power adjustment and can be heated. The leather multi-function steering wheel can also be heated and there are satin chrome gearshift paddles.
On the techno treat front there is a Touch Pro Duo system that combines two 10-inch touchscreens and offer the likes ofapremium navigation system, pitch perfect sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, Pro Services with 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, two-zone climate control, a rear-view camera and plenty more besides. However, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto even as an optional extra â¦ for now.
Comfort levels within the car are very high with ample space for all occupants.
The seat controls have been moved to the side doors so the seats are slightly wider and the high roofline means back seat passengers never feel claustrophobic.
The introduction of the hybrid technology has eaten into the boot capacity a little. With all seats in an upright position,the boot has a446-litrelimit(522 litres on standardRange Rover Sport) and with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped that capacity increases to 1,236 litres-compared to 1,313 litres on a standard car.
The other compromise is the full-sized spare wheel is replaced by a repair kit to free up extra space.
When it comes to charging the car, the plug-in charge point is cleverly hidden behind a panel on the grille and it can be charged in 2.45 hours on a fast charger or 7.5 hours using a domestic plug socket.
The car also features a whole host of safety systems and will carry the same maximum five star Euro NCAP rating as the non-hybrid version.
Whilst some hybrid models are rewarded for their ‘cleaner' credentials it's a shame that owners of the Range Rover Sport PHEV are not entitled to the Government's Plug-In Grant of£2,500 which is only eligible for cars costing up to£60,000.
But, all in all, the Range Rover Sport P400e is a great addition to the premium marque's line-up and will be a real asset to anyone looking for a perfect balance between fun-packed days out and lots of day-to-day EV-powered driving.