Range Rover Sport:

2007 Range Rover Sport V8TD – Americans Would Love It

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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?
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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!
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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.
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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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Automotive Lease Guide Releases Residual Value Awards

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Automotive Lease Guide is an influential and closely watched barometer of the value of brands and vehicles in the USA. ALG’s data are used by leasing companies to set the values for vehicles two and three years in the future and are critical in determining what lease rates a lessee will pay.
While ALG’s Residual Value Awards are not of the ilk of Motor Trend, Automobile, Car & Driver enthusiast awards, they provide an interesting counterpoint to awards based test track measurements, zero to 60 times and seat of the pants opinions. Here is the text of the ALG release…

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ALG’s annual Residual Value Awards honor those vehicles in each automotive segment predicted to retain the highest percentage of their original price. For the third consecutive year, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. heads the list with the Honda Brand winning the Industry Brand Residual Value Award. Honda also received two individual segment awards: the Odyssey for the Minivan Segment and the Accord for the Midsize Car Segment. This is the fifth consecutive win for the Honda Odyssey and the second win for the Accord.
Acura, a division of American Honda Motor Company, Inc., is the winner of the Near Luxury Car Segment for the TL.
BMW of North America, LLC has once again made a strong showing by winning the Luxury Brand Residual Value Award for the third consecutive year. MINI USA, a division of BMW of North America, has won the Compact Car Segment for the MINI Cooper for the fourth time.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. took home the most Residual Value Awards this year by winning six individual segment awards: the Avalon for the Fullsize Car Segment, Tacoma Pick-up for the Compact Truck Segment, Tundra for the Fullsize Truck Segment, RAV4 for the Compact SUV Segment, 4Runner for the Midsize SUV Segment, and the Sequoia for the Fullsize SUV Segment. This is the fifth consecutive win for the Toyota Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia; and the third consecutive win for the 4Runner.
Mercedes-Benz USA LLC is the winner of this year’s Luxury Car Segment award for the CLS Class.
The Sports Car Segment award this year goes to Porsche Cars North America, Inc. for the 911 Carrera.
And last but not least, the CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) award goes to Land Rover North America, Inc. for the Range Rover Sport.
“In an era of negative pricing and overcapacity, Residual Value excellence is increasingly difficult to achieve,” said Raj Sundaram, President of Automotive Lease Guide. “Both the segment and brand winners clearly demonstrate that quality products combined with effective pricing strategies will rise to the top.” Sundaram added that, “While the top rankings did not change, several brands have shown significant improvement over last year, highlighting the importance manufacturers are placing on residual value as a long-term objective.”
This year’s awards are based on 2006 model year vehicles. For the fourth year, ALG has also included awards for the brand with the highest predicted resale value of all industry and luxury vehicles. The awards are derived after careful study of segment competition, historical vehicle performance and
industry trends. Award winners are featured on http://www.alg.com, The Wall Street Journal, Automotive News, and other automotive publications and websites dedicated to bringing the industry’s best performing models into the
public eye.


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