Range Rover Sport SDV8 (2014) Review

Range Rover Sport SDV8

The words Range Rover Sport conjures up images of fire breathing V8 and V6 petrol beasts, however there’s something to be said for a strong and torquey diesel. How does the diesel-powered V8 Range Rover Sport match up?

Over the years, we’ve made some good memories with the Range Rover Sport lineup. We smoked a BMW X5 M50d in a quarter mile sprint with a V8 and found the supercharged V6 petrol to offer a terrific blend of performance, value for money and fuel economy on a road trip up the West Coast.

Diesel power makes a lot of sense in the premium SUV market as it provides good pulling power and overtaking performance, while returning not unpleasant economy figures.

Lumbering Diesel Range Rover Sport

Enter the Range Rover Sport SDV8, which is powered by a 4.4-litre turbodiesel V8 engine, the Range Rover SDV8 offers lumbering performance. Its 0-100kph time of 6.9 seconds is not far off when compared to its petrol brothers, and while it may offer 250 kW, it has a very handy torque figure of 740 Nm. Coupled with an 8-speed automatic gearbox with shift paddles located behind the steering wheel, the SDV8 looks like a luxurious and tough recreation vehicle. Think about well-off people who go caravanning or tow horseboxes. This vehicle would be more than up for those tasks.

In terms of fuel economy, it is claimed to consume just 8.9L/100km, but in reality you’re looking at a bit more than that. Given the car’s weight of around two tons, the engine works hard to get the bulky Range Rover Sport around and you're more likely to see 10L/100km on the fuel consumption read out.

Credible Offroad Ability

The Sport badging on the latest generation of Range Rovers offers a supposed road biased and urban luxury SUV, but don’t be fooled by this. While its on-road manners are generally flawless, it’s still a Range Rover and still able to traverse roads deemed impassable for the current generation of soft offroaders. It really doesn’t muck about with its adjustable air suspension, low-range gearbox and various 4x4 modes.

It also offers a rather impressive wading depth of 850mm. The reality is that most Range Rover Sports will be city slickers and there’s merit in that as the raised driving position is superb. Still, there’s something extremely comforting about having the confidence to go anywhere you want if the need arises.

Luxury Trim and Fittings

Finishes are of the highest order in the cabin and in certain departments, it’s the passengers that receive the best comfort features! The rear in this particular vehicle for example, has two LCD screens and two sets of wireless headphones as well as jacks for AV cables.

Features of the Range Rover Sport SDV8 are plentiful. You get a fair amount of kit as standard, but in the Range Rover way you can always pay more for outright unnecessary things. This particular unit came with adaptive cruise control, chilled centre console storage area, Bluetooth, satnav, USB/Aux connectivity, heated and ventilated seats as well numerous parking cameras. The LCD main infotainment screen is getting on a bit and lacking resolution when compared to its rivals. I believe an all-new system is on its way and has been shown off in the new Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Summary and Conclusion

If the bling lifestyle and frequent trips to the petrol station aren’t your thing, then perhaps the Range Rover SDV8 diesel is what you should be looking at. It’s certainly well-appointed and the diesel engine gives it some credibility for practical applications such as towing.

The diesel engine also rounds off the range nicely, and while its petrol siblings may be first to mind when you think of a Range Rover Sport, having a reliable and strong diesel workhorse in the lineup is a gentle reminder that these vehicles can actually be used for serious offroad applications. If you're financially conscious then perhaps the mighty BMW X5 M50d would make for a better buy though but won't offer the same offroad talent.

Second Opinion

The Range Rover Sport SDV8 is an incredible piece of machinery, it’s very hard to pick faults at and has ‘want’ factor like no other SUV for sale. It does everything you could ever need a vehicle to do and still looks fast. You do however pay a seriously eye-watering premium for all of its capabilities, but for most in this price bracket it’s a pill worth swallowing. -Ashley Oldfield

Range Rover Sport SDV8 Price in South Africa

The Range Rover Sport SDV8 retails for R1 366 031 and comes with a 3 year/100 000km warranty as well as a 5 year/100 000km service plan. Service intervals are every 26 000km.

We Like: Stylish, offroad ability, luxury and premium feel

We don’t Like: Price in comparison to rivals, dated infotainment screen

Also consider: Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5, Lexus LX570

Compare the Range Rover SDV8 to the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 here.

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