Sometimes you get things right the first time. Then there are those times that you don’t. Often times there is a thin line between success and failure. But then there are also those occasions where a bit of tweaking does a world of wonders. Fortunately for Land Rover and it’s parent company Tata Motors, Ford already laid out the blueprint. Yes that Ford, the company, which sold Land Rover and its sister, company Jaguar a few years back. The 2012 Range Rover Sport bears a strong resemblance to the model that debuted in 2006 and for good reason too.
The edgy design which is a modern, dare I say smaller version of the legendary Range Rover, looks a lot like its older brother. Not as daring, nor as small as the all-new Evoque but certainly as much of a head turner. Look past the LED headlamps, which debuted in the face lifted 2010 model. Yes the tail lamps were also revised that year but there is much more than that. Inside you will find an interior, which should have been implemented from day one. The lone mark on the RRS was its sub par interior. I only say that because for its price tag and Range Rover badging, we’ve come to expect nothing but the best. Imagine taking your wife out to eat at Cipriani and the waiter were to hand you a greasy laminated menu while seating you at a booth with not so plush vinyl seating. Works for IHOP maybe but Cipriani…. Not so much.
Apparently the higher ups back in India were listening and appropriately finished off the job that Ford started. Gone is that antiquated dashboard that resembled the Commodore 64 my mother gave me as a child. The powerful iPod ready stereo is cleanly integrated in to the vibrant 7 inch LCD screen, which by the way displays the standard navigation. In addition to cleaning up the dash, more luxurious leathers and softer to the touch plastics are finely on display. There is now ambient LED lighting to make that late night drive even more enjoyable. The leather seats have been revised as well in both the front and rear. Aluminum trim and more extensive wood inlays finish things off lovely.
But wait there’s more. Land Rover finally decided to add a power lift-gate, which has long been seen on its rivals. BMW has it on their X5, as does the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and Mercedes with its lineup of SUVs. Not only do women out there appreciate not having to lift the heavy tailgate but huge guys like me with my NFL quarterback arms (alright maybe I’m stretching it) can now open it via a key-fob to load my Barney’s bags in the cargo area. Hey when there’s a sale it’s only right to take advantage.
Power is still achieved by two fantastic 5-liter motors. There is 385 hp for the base V-8 and a ridiculous 510 hp for the supercharged model. Both engines will move the nearly 3-ton truck with ease. While power has increased through the years, fuel efficiency has not. But then who buys Range Rovers to drive them like a Prius? That’s what the aforementioned Evoque is for with it’s peppy turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. None of that is here though. This is all sheer power with the same epic off road ability that we have come to expect from all things Land Rover. Full time four wheel drive and air suspension like the LR4 from which it is based on, all while commanding the same respect that the larger full size Range Rover is known for.
Handling and day-to-day driving in general is more involving on the RRS all while remaining non-fatiguing on the body. This agile street machine was created purely with BMW and Porsche SUVs in mind. Though not as fast as the Germans, it offers great off road ability and an ultra smooth ride for pavement. This British truck can go places the others simply can’t. And of course that is why we buy Range Rovers in the first place. Hollywood premier, kid’s soccer practice or Whole Foods parking lot or upstate on an expedition this is the truck for occasions. Starting MSRP $60,045