A SPORTING CHANCE
THE Indus Silver Range Rover Sport TDV6 we used on this trip was the “S” variant, with the sweet 3.0-litre TDV6 donk that pumps out 190kw at 4000rpm and a monstrous 600Nm at 2000rpm, backed by an eight-speed auto gearbox. The Sport TDV6 S comes standard with a single-speed transfer that includes LR’S well-proven Terrain Response system.
As standard, this model retails for $91,754 and is packed with standard kit, including a raft of driving aids (dynamic stability control and hill descent control among them) as well as a luxurious interior and entertainment system that includes an eight-inch touchscreen and eight-speaker sound system. Options included grained leather seats, convenience pack (keyless entry, gesture hands-free tailgate, auto-dimming interior mirror and power-fold exterior mirrors), Santorini Black contrast roof, tow hitch receiver and Dab-plus digital audio, adding $13,260.
It’s a lot, but for the asking price you’re getting a seriously luxurious, comfortable vehicle that’s a dream to drive on the highway and equally capable off-road – even without lowrange. The 19-inch alloys mounted Pirelli Scorpion all-weather 235/65s.
In terms of performance, the Sport didn’t miss a beat. Initially I was concerned about the lack of low-range, but Sand mode took care of any tractive questions, and the raised off-road height was enough to get the big Rangie over all but a few tall rock sections.
Fuel consumption was also impressive. Land Rover claims a combined figure of 6.9L/100km and, even with the majority of driving being sand-based, we still came in at around 9.0L/100km for this trip. The Sport’s 89-litre fuel tank is just enough for medium touring duties, but you’d still want to pack a jerry or two for longer, more remote journeys.
A minor negative point was the Sport’s width when negotiating tight, narrow tracks, where trees and bushes were right up against its shiny silver sides. Its long wheelbase also caused a couple of near hang-ups on the rocky sections at Ruby Gap. I reckon with a set of slightly taller mud-terrain tyres, the Sport would have cleared those obstacles.
The other negative – albeit another minor one – is storage. This latest incarnation retains that reverse-cutback rear quarter panel, robbing valuable vertical storage space in the back. For those keen on fitting a fridge/freezer and lugging a pile of duffel bags, you’d want to look seriously at a roof rack set-up.
Land Rover has built its reputation on a “breadth of capability” for its vehicles, and the Sport upholds this. It’s a considerable amount of cash; especially considering the touringfriendly Disco 4 is uber-capable off-road and is far more voluminous in terms of storage. But for those after a vehicle that combines remarkable out-of-the-box off-road capability with excellent on-road handling and performance, the Sport is a no-brainer.