2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Review and Test Drive
Luxury, efficiency, and off-road capability.
Land Rover has long been known for building luxurious SUVs with impressive off-road capability, and the Range Rover Sport is no exception. For the 2023 model year, the British marque has redesigned the 2023 Range Rover Sport, and while the design looks evolutionary, in some ways, the new SUV is revolutionary.
For example, the third-generation Range Rover Sport employs new architecture with a 50% increase in stiffness, translating into a smoother, quieter ride and better handling. Land Rover also engineered the SUV to accommodate multiple powertrain options, including a dramatically improved plug-in hybrid version and, coming in 2024, a fully electric model. In addition, as you'd expect, the new Range Rover Sport features an appealing style, a plush interior, the latest Land Rover technology, and a slew of new features.
While Land Rovers aren't the only SUVs exuding refinement, sophistication, and luxury while boasting the ability to travel across just about any terrain, they are part of a rarified class of vehicles that excel at these seemingly unrelated talents. Alternatives to the new Range Rover Sport include the Lexus LX, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and, to some degree, the GMC Hummer EV SUV and Rivian R1S, all of which offer a high level of luxury teamed with extreme off-road capability.
The 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport can be equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine with mild-hybrid technology, while the Autobiography features a new plug-in electric vehicle (PHEV) powertrain in conjunction with the twin-turbo inline-six. Base prices range from the mid-$80,000s to the low $120,000s, including the destination charge to ship the SUV from its factory in Solihull, England.
For this 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport review, I drove a Range Rover Sport Autobiography PHEV for a week in the Redmond, Washington, area. The test vehicle came with extra-cost Varesine Blue paint and other options for an as-tested price totaling $109,585, including the $1,475 destination charge.
2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: The Design
While the 2023 Range Rover Sport remains easily recognizable as a Land Rover, and the styling is thematically similar to its predecessor, Land Rover has modernized the SUV.
Tight seams, flush surfaces, thinner lighting, and door handles that retract when you lock the vehicle all contribute to a smooth, clean appearance. As before, the roofline slopes down from the top of the windshield to the spoiler mounted above the back window, giving the new Range Rover Sport its signature styling. Large 22-inch wheels are standard on the Autobiography, filling out the subtle fender swells, and large dual exhaust outlets complete the upscale look.
Inside, Land Rover has made some drastic changes by introducing a 13.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display mounted on the center of the dashboard. While the large, curved screen is easy to read and access, it looks like it was attached to the dashboard as an afterthought. Still, this large screen, combined with the 13.7-inch digital instrumentation display and piano black trim, gives the cabin a pleasing, high-tech vibe.
Climate controls are wisely kept separate from the touchscreen, with soft-touch buttons and large multi-function dials used for cabin-temperature adjustment, seat heating and ventilation, and fan controls. The dials are intuitive and easy to use, but the soft-touch buttons are too close together with no clear separation. That design led me to press the wrong button regularly or, in some cases, to push two buttons at once.
Instead of genuine leather, my test vehicle featured a new material called Ultrafabrics. This sustainable animal-free textile looks and feels like leather, but brings the added benefits of stain resistance, durability, and a temperature-regulating technology that gives the surface a cool touch even on a hot day.
The Range Rover Sport Autobiography's front seats are big and comfortable, like lounge chairs, with light bolstering on the backs and seat bottoms. The 22 different power adjustments make finding an optimal driving position easy, and the heating, cooling, and massage functions help reduce fatigue on a long road trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the massage, activating the feature on almost every outing.
The rear seats offer good legroom and headroom, even for the middle position. Land Rover locates the rear-seat climate controls between the front seatbacks, in a layout similar to up front, and the outboard seats are heated. The standard panoramic roof adds to the cabin's spacious feel.
The Range Rover Sport provides good cargo space with 31.9 cubic-feet of storage behind the rear seats and 53 cu-ft available with the rear seats power-folded flat using convenient controls within the cargo area. Other innovations include a panel that folds out of the floor, creating an ideal space for securing grocery bags or smaller items, and controls to lower the vehicle's rear for effortless loading and unloading.
2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: The Technology
The 2023 Range Rover Sport uses the latest Land Rover Pivi Pro infotainment system, displayed on the big 13.1-inch center touchscreen display. Hard buttons and knobs are almost nonexistent in the Range Rover Sport's cabin, but I was pleased to find a stereo volume control knob on the center console.
Pivi Pro is easy to use. The screen has configurable tiles that provide haptic feedback, and you can swipe to the left or right for quick access to desired tiles and features. Static shortcuts display on the left side of the screen for quick access to navigation, communications, vehicle settings, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, which connect wirelessly. I quickly set up my Galaxy S21 Android phone, and Android Auto connected every time I started the Range Rover Sport. I like that the static shortcuts remain even while running Android Auto, making it easy to return to the Land Rover's native features.
It is somewhat confusing, but the Range Rover Sport has two different voice control systems. The integrated Land Rover system activates by saying "Hey Land Rover," which I used to tune the audio system, set destinations, and call my wife without removing my hands from the steering wheel.
Amazon Alexa is also available, accessed by saying "Alexa." Alexa can play music streaming from Spotify and find other information, such as news or weather. You can set up the Range Rover Sport as an Alexa skill and interact with the SUV from a mobile device or home Alexa installation to check the PHEV's remaining range or remotely start the climate control system. The Alexa integration does require an Online Pack subscription and will not make calls or operate the navigation system if you're running Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Land Rover equips the Range Rover Sport with the expected collection of advanced driver assistance systems, which are standard across all trim levels. My test vehicle also featured adaptive cruise control with steering assist. It isn't a hands-free system, but it comes close. With the cruising speed set, the Range Rover Sport stays in its lane without bouncing from side to side and can do this even as the road curves. While it seems this system could drive just fine on its own, your hands must stay on the wheel for the tech to operate.
2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: The Drive
My Land Rover Range Rover Sport Autobiography P440e PHEV test vehicle came with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle powertrain. A 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine teams with a 105-kW electric motor and 31.8-kWh battery to generate a total output of 434 horsepower. Power flows to the permanent four-wheel-drive system through a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The Range Rover Sport can tow up to 6,613 pounds with the plug-in hybrid powertrain.
According to the EPA, the Range Rover Sport's PHEV powertrain will deliver 51 miles of electric driving range on a full charge, one of the highest estimates of any PHEV vehicle. However, the EPA also rates the Range Rover Sport PHEV at a relatively low 51 MPGe when operating as an electric vehicle. The SUV gets just 21 mpg combined when in hybrid mode. During my evaluation, I could drive 52 miles on electric power, but I achieved no better than 16 mpg after the SUV switched to hybrid mode.
When I plugged the Range Rover Sport into the standard outlet in my house, it indicated that it would take about 25 hours to charge the battery fully. Performing the same task at a local Level 2 public charging station dropped that time to about five hours, which is more manageable for daily use. You might want to install a Level 2 charger at home to maximize electric driving.
In addition, Land Rover says the Range Rover Sport PHEV is one of the few plug-ins that accepts a DC fast charge. The company claims a 50-kW charger will bring the Range Rover Sport's battery from empty to 80% in less than an hour.
Acceleration in pure EV mode is not strong, but it is more than adequate for driving around town. Getting up to freeway speed requires patience and a light right foot to prevent the internal combustion engine (ICE) from firing up to assist. But if quicker acceleration is needed, pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor will engage the ICE even if you're driving in EV mode. With both the electric motor and ICE providing thrust, the Range Rover Sport PHEV is quick with robust acceleration. Land Rover states this sizable SUV will reach 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds.
Cruising at highway speeds in EV mode, the Range Rover Sport is supremely quiet, with almost no road or wind noise. An active noise-cancellation system records sound from the wheel wells and delivers noise-canceling frequencies through the audio system, acting like a noise-canceling set of headphones. When the gas engine starts up while driving in hybrid mode, it is barely noticeable except under hard acceleration, and the ride remains quiet and smooth.
While the Range Rover Sport has impressive power on tap, the "Sport" name is more about style than performance. Handling is rather ponderous, even when you switch into the Dynamic driving mode. On my favorite winding roads in the Pacific Northwest, the Range Rover Sport P440e proved somewhat disappointing. The brakes and steering are good, but the suspension feels soft, and the big SUV wallows back and forth in tight turns. With its standard all-wheel drive, air suspension, and torque vectoring, I expected better handling.
Unfortunately, most owners probably won't take advantage of the Range Rover's impressive off-road capabilities, but the stats are still worth calling out. This luxury SUV's air suspension provides a maximum of 11.1 inches of ground clearance and can operate in almost 3 feet of water. I took the Range Rover Sport into a patch of mud and dirt, and even with street tires, it had no problem finding traction. More importantly, the Range Rover Sport remains comfortable and composed even on rough terrain.
Is the 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport a Good SUV?
When it comes to off-road-capable, luxurious SUVs, the Range Rover name always comes to mind, and for good reason. The latest Range Rover Sport continues the tradition with a modern take on classic design combined with a lovely mix of interior elegance and advanced technology. In addition, the Range Rover Sport checks the SUV utility boxes with comfortable seating and plenty of room for gear.
It is a genuine shame that so much engineering goes into making this SUV supremely capable off-road when most owners will never put a wheel in the dirt. Nevertheless, the plug-in hybrid powertrain may be the most impressive feature of the new 2023 Range Rover Sport. Unfortunately, it requires the expensive Autobiography trim, but the 51 miles of EV range is a strong incentive. Cruising in silence fits nicely with the Land Rover ethos, but so does the available power when the gas engine comes online, delivering the best of both worlds.
Indeed, in PHEV specification, the Range Rover Sport's powertrain offers a compelling recipe of efficiency, power, and refinement that further sets the Range Rover Sport PHEV apart from the competition.