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Range Rover Sport 2018 review: SE SD4

EXPERT RATING
7.4
With updated interior tech and a downsized engine, is the Range Rover Sport SD4 now a credible option if you're shopping in a big SUV market currently dominated by Germany?

Let's get straight to the point. The thing that will send shivers through the muddy-boots-and-shotgun set. The thing that will upset Range Rover traditionalists to their very core.

The Sport SD4 is a big Range Rover, but with just four cylinders under that tennis court of a bonnet.

These are clearly troubling times. Could a four-pot possibly do the job? Can a two-tonne-plus off-roader with a sporty bent survive without at least two more cylinders?

Land Rover Range Rover Sport 2018: Si4 S
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9.4L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$87,340

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

The SE SD4 occupies the second rung on the Sport ladder, weighing in at an almost reasonable $98,400. That gets you 19-inch alloys, an eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, remote central locking, keyless start, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, cruise control, leather trim, electric front seats, sat nav, a powered tailgate, powered everything else, heated folding mirrors and a full-size spare.

The most recent version of Jaguar Land Rover's 'InControl' is accessed through a new 10-inch touchscreen. The new software is less colourful than before, but it's easier to use and understand. The optional 13-speaker stereo is a belter, but is still bereft of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - although we are regularly assured it's on the way.

  • The SE SD4 comes complete with 19-inch alloys - our car was optioned with 20-inch. The SE SD4 comes complete with 19-inch alloys - our car was optioned with 20-inch.
  • Add matrix LED headlights, and it'll cost an extra $2450. Add matrix LED headlights, and it'll cost an extra $2450.
  • The optional head-up display will set you back a whopping $2420. The optional head-up display will set you back a whopping $2420.
  • The car comes standard with a full-size spare. The car comes standard with a full-size spare.

'Our' car had the following options - 'Off Road Pack' (twin-speed transfer box, 'All Terrain Progress Control', adaptive dynamics, terrain response and air suspension; $5610), 'Comfort and Convenience Pack' (power gesture tailgate, 60/40 split rear seats, keyless entry and start, soft door close and other bits; $5130), sliding panoramic sunroof ($4420), 20-inch alloys ($2520), matrix LED headlights ($2450), head-up display ($2420!), illuminated metal treadplates (oh, come on - $2310), metallic paint ($2200), surround camera system ($1890), heated front and rear seats ($1630), 'Drive Pack' (blind-spot monitoring and driver-condition monitor; $1080), tow hitch receiver ($1000), DAB ($950), privacy glass ($950), upgraded 13-speaker sound system ($800), solar attenuating windscreen ($680), wade sensing ($610), cabin air ionisation ($460), auto high beam ($330) and domestic plug power sockets ($130). All up, that's $138,920.

If you ask me, paying for blind-spot detection and keyless entry at this level is pretty stiff.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The Range Rover Sport is clearly here to evoke (cough) both Range Rover's forward-looking design language, pioneered in the Evoque, as well as the traditional look of the Range Rovers of old. Only problem is, in the darker grey of the test car, it looked a bit dated. Which is weird.

All of the good things were there (like LED daytime running lights, headlights and tail-lights) but the two-tone effect of the blacked-out pillars and roof just didn't really work. Well, not for me anyway.

In the darker grey of the test car, it looked a bit dated. In the darker grey of the test car, it looked a bit dated.

The finer details of the Range Rover and the Evoque don't seem to have made it to the Sport. I saw one in a lighter colour and thought it looked much better, more modern. Maybe I was having an off week.

The cabin is really good and has had a little freshening up. The 10-inch touchscreen is new and carries the new version of Jag's InControl system. Underneath is the very appealing, if slightly overblown, climate control screen, with its funky dials-with-temperature-display treatment. The materials are excellent throughout, and it's a very comfortable, relaxing cabin.

The finer details of the Range Rover and the Evoque don't seem to have made it to the Sport. The finer details of the Range Rover and the Evoque don't seem to have made it to the Sport.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

Like its big brother, the Sport isn't small. It's only 15cm shorter, at 4.85 metres, and, if you so choose, you can cram two more seats in to make seven. If you don't, the boot will hold a striking 684 litres. Drop the back seats and that figure jumps to 1761 litres.

Front seat passengers have plenty of storage options, with two deep bins, one of which is underneath the pair of sliding cupholders - I was sorely tempted to fill them with water, slide them out of the way and launch Thunderbird 1 from the huge space underneath.

  • Front seat passengers have plenty of storage options. Front seat passengers have plenty of storage options.
  • Passengers have plenty of space, with good leg and headroom for those in the rear. Passengers have plenty of space, with good leg and headroom for those in the rear.
  • The boot holds 684 litres with the back seats up, and 1761 with the back seats down. The boot holds 684 litres with the back seats up, and 1761 with the back seats down.

There are another two cupholders in the back, and pockets in the doors, but they're not really good for bottles. That's what the Thunderbird 1 hidey-hole is for.

Passengers have plenty of space, with good leg and headroom for those in the rear - who will be quite happy, even if they're over 180cm. My 185cm son was happy enough being chauffeured about.

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

The SD4 badge means a Ingenium diesel, JLR's very own brand of engine, lurks beneath the bonnet. In this case, it produces 177kW and 500Nm of torque. It's worth noting that the older 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel in the Range Rover betters this new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder twin-turbodiesel by just 13kW and 100Nm.

The rush from 0-100km/h takes 8.3 seconds. The rush from 0-100km/h takes 8.3 seconds.

Power finds its way to all four wheels via a centre differential and an eight-speed ZF automatic. The rush from 0-100km/h takes 8.3 seconds.

You can tow a mammoth 3500kg braked and 750kg unbraked, although it's worth noting that the first figure requires bravery and/or training. And a lot of braking room.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Range Rover's official figure puts combined-cycle consumption at 6.5/100km, which seemed realistic, even for this 2100kg machine. We got just under 10.0L/100km in mostly suburban cruising with a couple of short highway runs. So a decent miss, but not really a particularly varied week.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

It might not be that much smaller than its Range Rover big brother, but it feels much easier to manoeuvre from the moment you slip behind the wheel. You sit lower in the Sport, and it feels more agile from the second you get moving.

Just for starters, the steering is much quicker, meaning less arm-twirling. The suspension is firmer, and the front end much more interested in firing through corners. While the Range Rover is super-smooth and calm, the Sport has a bit more aggro and doesn't mind being driven hard.

Naturally, it's not X5 M or AMG-levels of fast and furious, because it's still keen to take you down tracks and along beaches in a way its German rivals could only dream of doing.

While the Range Rover is super-smooth and calm, the Sport has a bit more aggro and doesn't mind being driven hard. While the Range Rover is super-smooth and calm, the Sport has a bit more aggro and doesn't mind being driven hard.

In the places where it will spend most of its time - suburban streets and highways - it's brilliant. Yes, it's big, and therefore you need your wits about you (a standard blind-spot monitor would help), and parking spaces aren't always big enough, but the smooth ride and cosseting cabin will ensure calm progress.

For a whopper of a car, you'd think a four-cylinder turbodiesel would get a bit lost, but it's more than up to the task of shifting the two-tonner, spinning happily and quietly to keep you moving. The Ingenium engines are terrific things in petrol or diesel, but this diesel feels very much at home here.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

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

The Sport arrives with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, brake assist, reversing camera, forward-collision warning, forward AEB and lane-departure warning. Irritatingly, a blind-spot monitor is an option, which sucks in a car this big.

Neither ANCAP nor EuroNCAP has awarded a safety rating to the Sport.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Range Rover offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assist for the duration. That's starting to look light-on as non-premium makers pile in to offer five years. The roadside assist covers the usual stuff, but they will also come and get you out of a bog if you've gone rogue on four-wheel-drive trails.

You can cap your service prices with a service plan up to five years/130,000km, and servicing is required every 12 months/26,000km.

Range Rover offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assist for the duration. Range Rover offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assist for the duration.

Verdict

The Range Rover Sport is a fine alternative to the largely German competition. As the name suggets, it's aimed at the Audi Q7/BMW X5 set, even if it isn't as quick or as agile as the sportiest of those.

The surprising thing about this particular machine is the four-cylinder diesel. While probably considered a heresy by many, it's an excellent engine for a car that has had a much-needed interior technology boost.

It is looking a bit old elsewhere, though, especially beside the Velar and Range Rover. It can't be long before an exterior facelift comes along.

Can you even contemplate a four-cylinder Range Rover?

Pricing Guides

$143,656
Based on 232 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$109,990
Highest Price
$318,363

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.0 V6 SC HSE 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $121,880 – 140,140 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport 2018 3.0 V6 SC HSE Pricing and Specs
SD4 S 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $85,580 – 98,340 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport 2018 SD4 S Pricing and Specs
SD4 SE 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $88,550 – 101,750 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport 2018 SD4 SE Pricing and Specs
SDV6 A/B DYNAMIC 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $148,888 – 201,635 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport 2018 SDV6 A/B DYNAMIC Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.4
Price and features7
Design7
Practicality8
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership7
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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