Range Rover was pretty smart when it expanded its formidable family, taking its flagship ride and making a slightly smaller version of it. Nearly as luxurious and every bit as capable, it’s a more practically sized wagon for daily use. A new mild-hybrid version and updates for 2020 make it more efficient, more capable, and even more stylish.
You can buy a plug-in version of the Range Rover, but the mild-hybrid version is a little less connected to outlets. This one employs a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine to deliver either a system-total 355 horsepower or 395 horsepower, depending on model. The 48-volt electric system works in harmony with a gas engine turning an electric supercharger that replaces the previous twin scroll turbocharger. Through regenerative braking, the battery stores energy for future acceleration assist. The system can utilize recalibrated Start-Stop to pause the engine longer and thus increase fuel efficiency.
These hybrids are not slow. The top 395 horsepower version in the Range Rover Sport HST model runs 0-60 mph in just 5.9 seconds on the way to a 140 mph top speed. While the “regular” version of the Range Rover Sport can’t quite match that performance, as we learned during a recent review, it still has plenty to offer.
Quick Take – Range Rover Sport HSE
It’s really only when you park them side-by-side that you realize the Range Rover Sport is considerably smaller than the full-size Range Rover. They look very much the same with their tall grille, flat hood, and streamlined upper body that sweeps into the slanted D-piller at the rear. Black out the trim and place it all over 20-inch wheels in HSE trim.
Interiors are nearly as lavish as those in the big boy. Perforated heated/cooled Windsor leather seats, panoramic roof, soft ambient lighting, and Meridian audio system set the mood. Flatscreen instruments and glassy console infotainment controls with integral touchscreen add to the modern vibe. Sure, the touchscreen is far from the most intuitive, and I’ve heard better audio systems in luxury crossovers, but the intoxicating smell of tanned cow hide makes up for most of it.
I’d prefer the mild-hybrid, but our test model came with the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine delivering 355 horsepower and 365 lb.-ft. of torque – all routed to the all-wheel-drive system through an 8-speed automatic transmission. That’s enough power to propel the heavy SUV from 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds on the way to a 130 mph top speed. It’s also pretty capable given it comes standard with 8.4 inches of ground clearance and can ford 33.5 inches of water. To make sure you don’t drown, a wade sensing system was added for 2020. There’s also Land Rover’s terrain management system that configures the powertrain for varying conditions with switchgear in the console.
While the wagon can crawl over hill and dale, most drivers will barely travel on a road more challenging than a gravel driveway. It rides comfortably on the highway and soaks up all but the worst potholed city streets with aplomb. Whether moving with straight gas or an electric push, the Range Rover Sport is tough competition for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Maserati Levante, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and Lincoln Aviator. Prices for the HSE rise from $74,250.
2019 Range Rover Sport HSE
- Five-passenger, AWD SUV
- Powertrain: 3.0-liter TI6, 8-spd auto
- Output: 355hp/365 lb.-ft. torque
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Speed, Luxury
- Fuel economy: 17/23 mpg city/hwy
- Assembly: Solihull, U.K.
- Base price: $74,250