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All-new Range Rover Sport combines lofty luxury, toughest off-road capability in one vehicle

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Mark Gallivan Road Test

Model: 2022 Range Rover Sport 3.0 PHEV 440 PS Dynamic

Price: from €114,150 total in Ireland €123,785 as tested

Range: Electric only range 114km

Engine: 3.0litre hybrid

Performance: 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds, Top speed of 225km/h, 440PS

CO2: 37g/km combined (NEDC2)

Towing: 3,000 max

Off road: 281mm (ride height), 26.8 degree (Ramp angle), 28.7/30 degree (approach/departure angle, 2.80 turns to lock

Verdict: All-new Range Rover Sport combines lofty luxury, toughest off-road capability in one vehicle. Wafts above traffic with uncanny refinement. Cabin take cues from Bentley’s heft of quality. The most desirable car I tested in 2022.

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High class luxury

The all new Range Rover Sport has arrived for 2022. It’s the boldest six-figure statement of individual achievement this side of a Rolex dangling from the wrist of an eight year old. Few vehicles on sale polarise the hoi polloi than a spanking new Range Rover. BMW or Porsche may have the sporting SUV handling credentials fully ticked as the sporting prowess of both companies stems from their focus on performance and best in class agility. Yet neither deliver the imperiousness of the Range Rover or its Sport sibling – the one we’re testing here.

For 2022 the Range Rover Sport comes in a choice of specifications – the basic Sport, Dynamic, Autobiography and First Edition. The 3.0 litre six-cylinder engines are available in different guises – either diesel or petrol – in mild or plug in hybrid mode in S or SE trim. As with most PHEVsn the claimed fuel economy figures are fanciful. Land Rover says the consumption is 0.8-0.9 WLTP 1/100km but realistically the figures will be far less frugal. Expect the WLTP to be – at best – closer to 10 WLTP 1/100km or 30 mpg on average once the electric charge is fully used up.

Priced from €114,150 (in Ireland) this new generation of Sport uses the same MLA-Flex platform as its king of the hill Range Rover brother and shares an identical wheelbase and engine line up. When Land Rover says the Range Rover Sport is all-new they mean it. Literally everything is new. As before the Range Rover Sport is a lofty 2.5 tonne vehicle but the engineers have somehow managed to prise a hole in physics by engineering active anti-roll bars that make the Sport an engaging 4X4 to drive. This no promotional guff – some mid-size luxury SUVs would struggle to keep pace with this gargantuan mehemoth. It’s that capable a performer. On some challenging roads I found – ones with good run off areas – the Sport heaved this way and that but gamely clung onto the apexes for dear life like a grandmother grabbing a funfair’s car safety bar after being railroaded into riding the big dipper. This limpet adhesion should realistically result in a jiggle-filled ride from a firmly damped suspension that’s harsh to the point of irritation. Not so, here. The Sport is impressively composed and wafts imperiously above the traffic with uncommon smoothness. The only other SUV that offers this similar trick of dual dynamic personality is Bentley’s Bentayga. Yes that is a lot more expensive – it’s a Bentley after all.

Our test Range Rover Sport model was the in-line six-cylinder petrol plug-in electric hybrid version with a claimed 70 miles range on electric power and manages around the mid-fifties range over six days of driving. Charge up at home and the daily commutes that necessitate city driving offers the potential of only ever visiting a petrol station if you plan on venturing further at the weekends. Buy one and your biggest challenge will be working on a domestic tariff that optimises recharging the battery up at night. Praise has to be given to the engine itself. This is a creamy smooth unit and proved seamless when switching from electric to petrol mode.

Speaking of modes there’s umpteen driving options to choose from. The choice extends to Grass-Gravel-Snow, Sand, Rock Crawl, Wade, Mud Ruts, Normal and Eco modes. These hardcore electronic trickery choices allows the Sport to ascend into the toughest environments that would leave other luxury lifestyle SUVs floundering when the road runs out of gravel or worse becomes unstuck.

Hunting for limitations? Oddly, the most challenging one I found for this go everywhere 4X4 was its sheer size. This is a big vehicle in which to navigate European side streets with cars parked either side. Then there’s the peril of trying to find a space big enough in a multi storey car park space that was probably allocated two or three decades ago when cars were far smaller. Many on-street parking spaces will also become quite small in a hurry in this 4X4. Visibility and judging the Sport’s extremities are easily managed with the exception being notable blind spots at the rear three quarters and is somewhat alleviated by the excellent 360 degree camera set up. Just remember the Range Rover Sport is a lot bigger than you might have firstly thought. Get yourself familiar with the girth and particularly the height before you sign on the dotted line.

Once done the sumptuous experience of climbing up onto the driver’s seat does certainly improve your mood. I was wooed by the crystal clear central screen with fully legible functionality. It shows that manufacturers don’t need to resort to the ugly trend for oversized screens kicked off by Tesla. Everywhere else I searched for bits of trim and controls I disliked. I never found any. Land Rover must have frankly stuffed the Sport to the absolute gills with sound deadening and insulation foam as progress on motorways is very hushed. Remarkably, wind noise from the large side mirrors never caused a single whistle. I never got to try the Sport’s off road capability but it’s a Range Rover in all intents and purpose so there’s no question it’ll be very good indeed.

If you’ll be using your 2022 Range Rover Sport for road use then hours of high class luxury awaits. And if the six-figure price (in Ireland) that it sets you back or the portly dimensions are fine then this is a marvellous way to get about. I’d say it’s the most desirable car I have tested all year. To turn me into a luxury SUV admirer – you read it here first –  means you too can be assured it’s a briliant choice.

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