Range Rover Sport

D350 HST

Range Rover Sport, front
Range Rover Sport, side
Range Rover Sport, rear
Range Rover Sport, interior
Range Rover Sport, side

IT'S quite a feat to combine an off-roader and a sports car to create a vehicle which has the attributes of both. After all they are at opposite ends of the motoring spectrum.

But with the new Range Rover Sport, Land Rover has managed to square the circle to give the best of both worlds.

Perhaps sports car is a little bit exaggerated but certainly sporty car isn't and after all the clue is in the name.

While the full blown - and more expensive - Range Rover meets the needs of one, perhaps smaller section of the market the sleeker, curvier Range Rover Sport appeals to another, larger group.

It‘s a car which has the four-wheel-drive attributes of its bigger brother when it comes to tackling mud, boulders and even rivers but its flexible enough to give a thrill-a-minute ride on the highway.

Despite its size and weight - the 3.0-litre HST Sport driven here is around 2.3 tonne - it's highly manoeuvrable, quick and lively.

From stationary it will hit the 62 miles per hour mark in just 6.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 140 miles per hour.

From standstill the initial acceleration feels a little sluggish because of the Sport's weight and size but as soon as it's rolling it's a totally different ball game. The power just keeps on coming.

Best of all is its the mid range performance from an engine which is superbly torquey.

For even sharper acceleration you can flick the gearshift to the left to engage Sport or use the paddles behind the steering wheel to take full advantage of the eight speed box.

And while diesel engines might be somewhat out of favour at present a few hours behind the wheel of this 330bhp turbocharged version would be more than enough to change the mind of many an ardent electric car enthusiast.

First introduced back in 2005 to compete against the likes of the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne the Range Rover Sport has undergone a number a number of transformations over the years including a dramatic reduction in weight over the previous generation model.

And while the standard Sport model has a high spec the HST version takes it to a new level with features like a twin-speed transfer box (with high and low range), a more dynamic off-road programme, electronic air suspension and a carbon fibre exterior pack to make it look even more dynamic.

And on the inside it adds Windsor leather, a suede cloth headlining, a panoramic sun roof, a heated suede cloth steering wheel and a Meridian surround sound system.

In fact with the HST you would be hard pressed to find any other optional extras to add.

The interior is both luxurious and practical. The electrically adjustable heated front seats allow you to select the ideal position to handle such a large vehicle with ease while the light from the full length panoramic roof makes the cabin a more relaxed space.

On the passenger side twin glove boxes - an upper and lower one - combine with a large compartment under the centre armrest to accommodate all onboard clutter.

A reversing camera and parking sensors make the Sport easy to manoeuvre in tight corners although a larger picture on the centre touch screen of what is behind you really is needed.

FAST FACTS

Range Rover Sport D350 HST

Price: £85,995

Mechanical: 350ps, 2,997cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving all wheels via eight speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 140 mph

0-62mph: 6.9 secs

Combined MPG: 31.2

Insurance Group: 45

C02 emissions: 238 g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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