Sometimes you need to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, and the fastest route between them may not be a smooth, paved road. If you often find yourself with this kind of dilemma, the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
may just be the perfect vehicle for your motoring needs. As the “Sport” name implies, it’s plenty quick, especially factoring in the SUV’s near-three-ton weight. It’s also not averse to getting a bit dirty, as you’d expect from something with “Land Rover” in its name.
Loosely based on the Land Rover LR4, under the skin at least, the Range Rover Sport
gets wrapped in sleek bodywork that’s similar to the larger Range Rover. Inside, seating for four passengers is best described as “intimate,” and it’s not likely that the Range Rover Sport will be the getaway vehicle of choice for a week on the road with three of your closest friends. It’s comfortable enough, and there’s enough room inside for four adults, but there isn’t much cargo space leftover for their belongings.
Buyers get a choice of two drivetrains, including a normally-aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 (in HSE models) that sends 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission to power all four wheels. The HSE can run from 0-60 mph in just 7.2 seconds, which is particularly impressive given its curb weight above 5,500 pounds.
In case that’s not quick enough for you, the Range Rover Sport comes in a faster-acting version, too. The Range Rover Sport Supercharged uses a force-fed version of the same engine to produce 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to propel its 5,800-pound-plus mass from 0-60 mph in under six seconds.
While neither version of the Range Rover Sport is capable of traversing the Rubicon Trail, both are competent at light off-roading thanks to the SUV’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system and reasonable ground clearance. They’re good on-road, too, and deliver a surprising amount of grip in corners. The price you pay for improved handling is usually ride comfort, and buyers wanting the best of both worlds should consider the available adaptive suspension.
The other trade-off is fuel economy, and neither the HSE nor the Supercharged deliver what we’d consider reasonable numbers. The EPA rates the HSE at 13 mpg city and 18 mpg highway, while the Supercharged does slightly worse at 12 mpg city and 17 mpg highway.
For a detailed look at the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport, see our complete review on The Car Connection