In­ge­niu-s boost to econ­omy

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - TEST DRIVE By Peter Keenan

RANGE Rover and fuel ef­fi­ciency have al­ways ap­peared un­easy bed­fel­lows. It is dif­fi­cult to equate some­thing weigh­ing a cou­ple of tonnes and de­signed to go up moun­tains with any­thing other than a gas guz­zler

But the in­tro­duc­tion of a new four-cylin­der en­gine – a first for Range Rover – is chang­ing that per­cep­tion, for lurk­ing un­der the bon­net of the pop­u­lar Sport model I drove is the re­cently-in­tro­duced In­ge­nium pow­er­train.

Built at Jaguar Land Rover’s new multi-mil­lion pound en­gine works sit­u­ated in Wolver­hamp­ton, In­ge­nium rep­re­sents the lat­est in diesel en­gine tech­nol­ogy.

So the power unit – al­ready fit­ted to the Dis­cov­ery Sport and Range Rover Evoque mod­els – is de­signed to of­fer top qual­ity per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency while be­ing more re­fined than Rex Har­ri­son.

Fig­ures from Land Rover claim fuel con­sump­tion for the 2.0-litre In­ge­nium of an im­pres­sive 45.6mpg and car­bon diox­ide emis­sions of 172g/km.

It is not as eco­nom­i­cal in the real world but is still a major leap for­ward, es­pe­cially as per­for­mance is still good with 60mph reached from a stand­ing start in a shade over eight sec­onds. My one quib­ble would be a small de­lay that can oc­cur be­tween press­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tor and the big SUV re­spond­ing when try­ing to nip into a gap.

The In­ge­nium is aided and abet­ted by an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion of­fer­ing seam­less gear changes, with pad­dles be­hind the steer­ing wheel al­low­ing man­ual op­er­a­tion.

The new en­gine is part of a £60,000 win­ning pack­age that was tweaked at the start of the year to in­clude InCon­trol Touch Pro, featuring a 10-inch cen­tral touch­screen dis­play with neat con­trols and a range of con­nec­tiv­ity op­tions and apps to sat­isfy the most tech savvy of driv­ers.

Also added is an im­proved All-Ter­rain In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre which is op­er­ated via the big colour screen. So take the Range Rover Sport off-road and you now get handy feed­back on the sta­tus of things such as the Wade Sens­ing sys­tem and where the front wheels are point­ing. Also in­cluded this year is Drive As­sist where sur­round-view cam­eras help with low-speed ma­noeu­vring when ca­vort­ing around the coun­try­side.

It is great to drive with han­dling that laughs in the face of its bulk mak­ing it nim­ble in cor­ners and a plea­sure to part­ner on coun­try lanes.

Spend­ing more on a car than I spent on my first house en­ti­tles you to ex­pect lux­ury and the Range Rover Sport does not dis­ap­point.

The at­ten­tion to de­tail in the cabin is ex­em­plary with a high qual­ity fit and fin­ish and am­ple space for five adults to be trans­ported in style – a seven-seater ver­sion is also avail­able.

The boot is large so there is no trouble swal­low­ing their lug­gage with the top-hinged pow­ered bootlid open­ing off the key fob giv­ing easy ac­cess.

The HSE model I tested launches the range but it is in no way ba­sic as a raft of kit and equip­ment is in­cluded. There is also a bun­dle of op­tional extras you can add, but be care­ful as costs can quickly mount.

The neat features added to my mo­tor - in­clud­ing screens in the back of the front-seat head­rests al­low­ing rear-seat pas­sen­gers to watch DVDs or TV, a head-up dis­play for the driver and a slid­ing panoramic roof – put an­other £20,000-plus on the pric­etag.

First in­tro­duced in 2005, the Range Rover Sport was the friskier and cheaper al­ter­na­tive to the full-fat Range Rover. Over the years it has proved to be some­thing of a phe­nom­e­non, be­com­ing one of the most suc­cess­ful mo­tors Land Rover has ever made. The lat­est mod­i­fi­ca­tions seem set to en­hance that pop­u­lar­ity.


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