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2007 Range Rover Sport V8TD – Americans Would Love It

I really wanted to drive a Land Rover Freelander II (LR2 in the USA) when I was visiting England, but the Land Rover folks “only” had a Range Rover Sport available with automatic transmission and a navigation system. Apparently, the available Freelander IIs were all manual trannies and shifting with my left hand is not a forte of mine. The RR Sport was featuring the all new 3.6L V8 Twin Turbo diesel and, for an American driver, getting the diesel was a treat.

Range Rover Sport SV.jpg

The Range Rover Sport is a sporty derivative of the more boxy Discovery II – known here as the LR3. In fact, the RR Sport looks much more like the range topping Range Rover than the LR3, but the innards come from the less expensive Land Rover. Besides the unique body styling and faster rear end, the Sport has extractor vents on the front fender. But then who doesn’t these days?
Range Rover Sport Gill.jpg

Range Rover Sport at £52,000… Such a Deal
The particular vehicle I drove as a Range Rover Sport HSE V8TD and it was priced at £52,000 – or about $104,000 including Britain’s 17.5% VAT (value added tax). That makes it about $86,000 before taxes.
Range Rover Sport F34.jpg

Living with the RR Sport for a week provided the opportunity to evaluate the vehicle and its powertrain over about 700 miles of driving. While the Sport is not a huge SUV by American standards, it certainly is in England. Dodging parked cars and threading your way down narrow B-Roads is a challenge due to the width of the Range Rover. It is very maneuverable with a tight turning radius so the tight conditions were pretty easy to handle. Going mirror to mirror with even wider lorries coming the other way was always a concern, but never happened. In the Lake District, the generous shoulders found on some roads in southern England were non-existent. In fact, the overgrowth often hid stone walls just inches from the edge of the road. Whew. No body damage!
Range Rover Sport Just Fits.jpg

Parking the RR Sport in a shopping center parking lot is a challenge. Parking spots in England – this is in Henley the day before the Regatta – are designed for B and C-Cars – not for “Chelsea Tractors”.
Interior Very Livable – Luxury SUV-Style
The interior of the Range Rover Sport HSE is comfortable, easy to get into and out of and has good visibility. Living with a Ford S-Max for the week prior to the RR Sport had me preferring the Ford navigation system with the redundant turn-by-turn display in the center of the instrument cluster, but the Land Rover system was just about as good. “Penelope” (the voice of the system) managed to avoid motorways for the most part, and only took me down a couple of cowpaths.
Range Rover Sport Front Seat.jpg

V8TD is Superb!
But the story is really the engine. The V8 diesel is a delight to drive. It has great pulling power from stop and its “TED” (time exposed to danger) while passing is minimal. Lugging the heavyweight Range Rover Sport around was no problem. The sound of the engine is outstanding. Not the normal diesel chugga chugga, the twin turbo has a authoritative snarl when the accelerator is downed. The 700 miles came on two tanks of fuel – not bad but still a shock when filling up the vehicle took over $100 (diesel was about 98 pence per liter or almost $8 per gallon).
Cargo Room Adequate for a Long Weekend Jaunt
Having swapped a Ford S-Max Crossover for the Range Rover Sport in Manchester, I was interested to see how well it would swallow the luggage compared with the S-Max with its 3rd row of seats stowed. The five passenger RR Sport has just about equal cargo capacity as the S-Max – generous, but not up to the level of an Expedition or Navigator with the 3rd row seat down.

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