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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.

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