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Range Rover Sport


The Range Rover Sport is impressive on road and off

When Land Rover realised few buyers were using the Range Rover's continent-crushing abilities, it developed the Sport variant. Based on Discovery underpinnings, it's better on road while still capable off it.

It's clearly hit the spot judging by the flocks cruising Remuera, where the OTT luxury persona fits right in.

Our test car is the 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel, with 180kW and a mighty 600Nm of torque sent to all four wheels via a six-speed auto. That's enough to send this 2.5-tone behemoth from zero to 100 in 9.3 seconds.

Drive with such brio and she's thirsty - I averaged 11.1l/100km, well over the 9.2 claim. But it's tempting, as the Sport is impressive on road, thanks largely to an extensive electronics package that includes power and speed-proportional steering assist; ABS brakes and dynamic stability and cornering control; understeer logic control; trailer stability assist to sense and offset fishtailing (the car tows 3.5 tons); and cross-linked electronic air suspension with auto load leveling - one reason why there's so little body roll when cornering.

Those electronics also assist off-road performance. Twist the Terrarin Response dial to suit the surface and the car sets the chassis, throttle and electronic nannies to suit. So the ESP responds quicker in sand to stop you digging in; the air suspenders keep the body flat when rock-hopping. A screen shows you which diffs are locked, where the wheels are pointing - and what the axles are doing.

The cabin's as luxurious as you'd expect from a $134,990 car, with heated seats front and rear, six airbags, a premium sound system, rear park distance control, keyless start, cruise control and more.

The Discovery underpinnings make this a more involving drive than the range-topping Range Rover Vogue, and more rewarding given the electronic controls keep this tall, heavy body in check. It's quiet on road, with super-comfy ride, yet it's also one of the most capable off-roaders.

Shame few owners will ever find that out. Which begs the question, if you're not going bush-bashing, why live with the compromise, however good it is?

Watch the video above to see a road test of the Range Rover Sport.

See the Range Rover Sport for sale.

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