Having introduced the new fifth-generation Range Rover in 2022, Land Rover delivers an encore for the 2023 model year with the introduction of the smaller Range Rover Sport, a two-row rendition of Range Rover’s toniest SUV, but tuned for a bit more athleticism without any reduction in its indulgent opulence. But while this Range Rover is s a bit more of a city slicker, it’s every bit as capable off-road as you’d expect.
While smaller than the Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport is no shrinking violet. It’s still a sizable SUV. Built on Land Rover’s MLA-Flex platform, which also underpins the larger Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport sports many of its larger sibling’s tech and powertrains, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and V-8 powertrains. While there’s no full EV version, it wouldn’t be surprising if one appears next year as a 2024 model.
The Range Rover Sport’s tidier size and more athletic stance distinguish it from its bigger brother. Yes, it shares its looks, and still benefits form the reductionist design so expertly carried out by the design staff at Land Rover. But its demeanor is different, its face a bit more defiant, with a faster windshield angle. Its back end is more chiseled than the smooth, chic back end of its sibling, but it still carries an air that suits its station.
The Range Rover Sport is a city kid, the larger Rover’s muscular sibling that also happens to sport a tuxedo. It’s an off-roader shod in Pirelli tires with slim sidewalls. It’s slick.
And its touch; its roof rack can carry up to 220 pounds.
Climb inside, and you’ll find the same impeccable execution and exquisite materials you’d expect. But unlike the Range Rover, there are subtle differences, such as out test vehicles carbon fiber trim, and a seating position that’s lower, with a beltline that’s higher.
The center console is taller as well, to lend more of s cockpit feel to the front of the cabin. Legroom is a bit dearer in the second row than it is in the larger Rover, but the Sport’s athletic intentions puts somewhat less of a priority on the second row.
And it’s filled with thoughtful design, such as space underneath the center console to stash stuff, a 15-watt wireless device charger and chilled center console bin large enough to hold drinks. Best of all, Land Rover’s reductionist design philosophy lends the interior a modern vibe that’s calming.
Luggage space is plentiful, measuring a generous 29.5 cubic feet, as you’d expect. It expands to 65.7 cubic feet with the second row folded.
The 2023 Land Rover Sport starts with the P360 SE and its turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six mild-hybrid driveline that generates 355 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the P400 SE Dynamic, and you’ll get 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.
Next comes the P440e Autobiography, a plug-in hybrid model with the same gas engine, but rated at 434 hp and 619 lb-ft of torque that provides 48 miles of all-electric driving, thanks to a 105-kilowatt electric motor and 31.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack.
But the sportiest of Sport performance comes from the P530 First Edition, with its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 producing 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, and delivering 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, a bit faster than the PHEV’s 5.5 seconds. And it can tow up to 7,700 pounds depending on powertrain.
As with the Range Rover, the Sport is fitted with an air suspension with twin-valve active dampers, all-wheel steering, an electronic active differential with torque vectoring, and adaptive off-road cruise control, not to mention Land Rover’s excellent terrain Response System.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Traffic Safety Administration have tested the 2023 Range Rover Sport. Advanced driver assistance systems include emergency braking, 3D surround camera, front and rear parking sensors, wade sensing, maneuvering lights, driver condition monitor, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition.
When it coes to tech, the Sport sports the latest version of Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system with Amazon Alexa, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a navigation that works fairly well. And the 29-speaker, 1,430-watt Meridian Signature sound system is so good, it reveals the sound limitations of digitally stored music.
We sampled two versions of the Range Rover Sport: one with the 4.4-liter V-8, and the other with the new Ingenium 6-cylinder hybrid driveline.
Traditionalists will love the V-8; Its quick smooth power is always available under your right foot whenever you need it. Acceleration is prompt and unruffled, delivering just enough V-8 snarl to the cabin to seduce, not annoy.
The 6-cylinder plug-in hybrid has a different demeanor. While its horsepower numbers are generous, the added weight of its battery pack and motors affect acceleration; it doesn’t feel as fleet, although it’s still fairly quick.
This is especially true when attempting to pass another vehicle at highway speed. The flip side is better fuel economy: 21 mpg in combined city/highway driving, according to the EPA, vs 18 mpg for the V-8. While you might be tempted to go with the hybrid, the V-8 is far more fun.
The Range Rover Sport handles more adeptly than the larger Range Rover, which is no slouch itself. The Sport’s best trait is its ability to be a comfortable, cossetting SUV you’d expect, or an athletic on-road conveyancer, or an off-road warrior, all with a twist of its Terrain Response dial.
Of all of the nannies fitted to the Range Rover Sport, it’s the rear-wheel steering that proves the most transformative. While much is made of rear-wheel steering for street performance, it’s surprisingly advantageous when traversing tight trails. Its primary benefit, tightening the vehicle’s turning radius, allowing it to perform like a much smaller vehicle.
2023 Range Rover Sport P440e Autobiography PHEV Specifications
|Dimension||L: 194.7 inches/W: 87 inches/H: 71.7 inches/Wheelbase: 118 inches|
|Powertrain||Turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-6 mild-hybrid, 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||18 mpg city/26 mpg highway/21 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||434 horsepower and 619 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $104,200; As tested: Not available.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The Range Rover Sport’s ultimate demeanor is that of a true middle child. It can be the comfortable, cosseting SUV. It can hunker down and be the ultimate urban combatant. But it can also tackle any twisting challenging trail. Throughout it all, the Range Rover Sport behaves as you’d expect, making it the ultimate mobile servant. And that adaptability in deportment is what makes the Range Rover Sport so special. Moreso than perhaps any other Land Rover product, its adaptability to differing road conditions makes it worth the price, which starts at $83,000.
2023 Range Rover Sport — Frequently Asked Questions
How much will the 2023 Range Rover cost?
The 2023 Range Rover Sport starts at $83,000 for the P360 SE model and tops out with the First Edition model at $121,500.
Will the Range Rover Sport change in 2023?
Yes. The Range Rover Sport is a top-to-bottom redesign, sharing its tech with the larger Range Rover, and featuring a longer wheelbase, four engine options, all-terrain hardware and standard all-wheel drive.
Is the 2023 Range Rover Electric?
There is a plug-in hybrid version of the Range Rover Sport for 2023, but no pure electric model.