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Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 2017 review

Range Rover has updated the Sport with new driver aids and multimedia tech... but reliability woes concern us.
EXPERT RATING
6.9
In an automotive world dominated by the newest, the shiniest, the best, and the brightest, more established brands can sometimes be overlooked.

In an automotive world dominated by the newest, the shiniest, the best, and the brightest, more established brands can sometimes be overlooked.

The luxury SUV segment, for example, is bursting at the seams with new entrants from the likes of Alfa Romeo, Bentley, and Maserati, and the influx won't stop there.

  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE TDV6 (image credit: Tim Robson)

But there is a brand that can be credited with actually defining the genre all the way back in the early 1970s; that brand is Land Rover, and the model it developed is the Range Rover.

Fast forward 40 years, and Range Rover has a new owner in Indian industrial giant Tata. Has the Range Rover kept up with the modern crop of luxury SUVs, or has it been left behind in the rush towards the latest and greatest?

Land Rover Range Rover Sport 2017: 3.0 TDV6 SE
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$83,888

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The Rangie has definitely morphed from the shape that made it famous when it first appeared in the 1970s, though it's quite easy to pick up the family resemblance.

The clamshell bonnet, for example, has made it all the way through from the first model to today, while the steeply raked rear hatch is also reminiscent of the original car.

Inside, it's understated, classic simplicity.

This fourth generation version of the car is almost five years old now, but it's managed to retain a sense of freshness and style that comes from its solid, inspiring, original design.

Despite its six-star hotel forecourt looks, it can still hold its own off-road, thanks to short overhangs (front and rear) being designed in from the get go.

Inside, it's understated, classic simplicity. There are very, very few dials on the centre console apart from the beautifully executed climate control system.

How practical is the space inside?   6/10

One of the first things that strikes you about the Range Rover Sport is, despite the fact it's the smaller of the Range Rover siblings, is its interior size; it feels huge inside the cabin.

Despite its size, though, it doesn't stand out as being particularly modern or forward thinking in the way the interior is laid out. It is a very classical design that's perhaps not really in keeping with how cars are used today.

For example, while there are two large cup holders in the front console, the door pockets in the front don't accept bottles easily. As well, USB ports are hidden away in the centre console, and there are no USB ports for rear seat passengers (although they do have access to climate controls).

And even though perhaps we should be hiding our phones away and not using them, there is no logical place to stash your mobile device, other than in the glove box.

New for 2017 is the 'InControl Touch Pro' multimedia system that's based around a 10.0-inch touchscreen that can be used like a smartphone with pinch and swipe gesturing.

The second row of seats is wide, deep, and comfortable, just like the driver's pews, and while the middle seat is usable, it lacks the bolstering and cushioning of the outside pair. There are ISOFIX mounts for the outside rear seats, but not for the rear pair in the $3800 optional third row.

Speaking of the two rear seats, they are electrically powered, which is quite unusual. They also fold flat into the boot floor, allowing for the cargo space to be effectively used.

As you can imagine, the jump seats are quite small and are best suited to short trips by young children. In fact, Range Rover itself refers to the layout as a 5+2 arrangement, rather than a seven-seater.

In terms of volume, there's 784 litres available with the third row down, and 1761 with the second row lowered.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

The Range Rover Sport TDV6 SE is the second model in the local Range Rover Sport lineup. It's priced at $103,900 plus on roads, and comes with Jaguar Land Rover's excellent 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Being born of a Land Rover, the Rangie is famous for its off-road capability, and it comes complete with an all-terrain system that can be selected via a dial on the centre console.

New for 2017 is the 'InControl Touch Pro' multimedia system that's based around a 10.0-inch touchscreen that can be used like a smartphone with pinch and swipe gesturing. It can also be teamed with an app that can remotely lock the car, open the windows or even check the fuel level.

Apart from the usual leather lined interior and large panoramic sunroof that you would expect from a premium priced SUV, it also sports automatic lights and wipers, multi-zone climate control, brushed aluminium finish, smart key with push button stop-start, 16-way power front seats, a third row of seats, and a powered tailgate. It also comes standard with a set of 20-inch rims.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

The TD V6 is fitted with the least powerful of Range Rover's pair of 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel engines. It still makes 195kW and a plentiful 600Nm of torque (as opposed to the SD's 225kW and 700Nm), and it's backed by a traditional eight-speed automatic gearbox.

There's an unexpectedly sporty rumble from the 3.0-litre diesel, which offers almost no turbo lag and plenty of oomph when you need it most.

The driveline is all-wheel drive, and incorporates Range Rover's excellent 'All Terrain Control' system, which allows the driver to quickly switch between off-road modes that allow the Rangie to travel a fair way into the bush (road-spec tyres permitting).

How much fuel does it consume?   6/10

Range Rover rates the TDV6 SE as consuming 6.9L/100km on the combined fuel economy cycle.

Our fuel readings were stymied by the unusual electronic gremlins, but over approximately 290km, we used 33 litres of diesel, which equates to a figure of 11.3L/100km.

There's an 80-litre tank in the Sport, which equates to a theoretical fuel range of 1100km.

What's it like to drive?   6/10

Even though the Rangie Sport is smaller than its Range Rover sibling, it feels pretty massive when you are behind the wheel. There's a real sense of height and width from behind the steering wheel with the large, flat, bluff nose stretching out in front of you.

Despite that initial feeling, though, the Range Rover is actually quite easy to drive even in tighter city areas, thanks to a combination of nimble steering, comfortable air suspension and a responsive engine and transmission. The Range Rover Sport makes short work of inner city runs, and is equally at home devouring kays between towns.

Simply dial up the appropriate terrain mode on the rotary controller in the centre console, and the Range Rover will adjust all its parameters to suit conditions.

There's an unexpectedly sporty rumble from the 3.0-litre diesel, which offers almost no turbo lag and plenty of oomph when you need it most. Unlike other Range Rover Sports, the diesel version doesn't offer a dynamic mode, which lowers and stiffens the air spring suspension and sharpens the throttle.

That same air suspension, though, can be raised if you want to take your Rangie into the dirt. Simply dial up the appropriate terrain mode on the rotary controller in the centre console, and the Range Rover will adjust all its parameters to suit conditions, from snow and ice, to wet grass, to hill descents, and more.

We do have to question the Range Rover Sport's reliability, however. The first sample car we tried experienced a major electrical issue that left the tester stranded with no power on a busy highway.

The example seen in the pictures and video here also experienced an electrical malfunction early in our test when the fuel sender failed to send the correct signal, and told us that the car was completely out of fuel when in fact it was still three-quarters full. This misinformation was accompanied by a hesitation in the engine.

Stopping the car, cycling the door locks via the key fob and restarting it cleared both faults, but it definitely leaves a question mark. Range Rover was investigating the issues as we tested the car, and we'll come back and update this report with what went wrong.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Range Rover Sport has a maximum five-star score from ANCAP, with safety features including curtain airbags, seat-side and thorax bags, while windscreen-camera actuated AEB is now standard across the range.

Radar cruise control and radar-actuated emergency braking is a $3700 option.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

Range Rover recommends servicing the Sport every 12 months or 26,000km, or more often if you use it in the bush on a regular basis. It offers a three-year/100,00km warranty as standard, with free roadside assistance for the duration.

No fixed price service plan exists for the Sport.

Verdict

The Range Rover drives beautifully and looks fantastic to boot. It's truly special inside, with a high level of sophisticated yet simple design that extends to the exterior. It's incredibly competent off-road, too, should you choose to take your $100,000 Rangie into the bush, and it's a highway machine par excellence.

The issues of the electrical gremlins that struck our testing have to be raised, though, and it's not the first time this tester has driven Range Rover products where electrical problems have crept into the mix. Such issues should have been banished to the annals of history.

On balance, the entry price is fair compared to how much vehicle you're getting, and the cachet of a prestige badge. Just make sure your warranty is up to date and you're getting your services done and signed off by a dealer, so if anything does go wrong, you have some coverage.

Would you take a Range Rover Sport into the bush? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$95,939
Based on 43 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$83,888
Highest Price
$135,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.0 SDV6 A/B DYNAMIC 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $136,510 – 156,860 2017 RANGE ROVER SPORT 2017 3.0 SDV6 A/B DYNAMIC Pricing and Specs
3.0 SDV6 HSE 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $87,450 – 112,885 2017 RANGE ROVER SPORT 2017 3.0 SDV6 HSE Pricing and Specs
3.0 SDV6 HSE Dynamic 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $113,988 – 124,885 2017 RANGE ROVER SPORT 2017 3.0 SDV6 HSE Dynamic Pricing and Specs
3.0 SDV6 SE 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $92,990 – 95,990 2017 RANGE ROVER SPORT 2017 3.0 SDV6 SE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6.9
Design8
Practicality6
Price and features7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption6
Driving6
Safety8
Ownership6
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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