This probably says more about my own warped perception of time than anything about the car itself, but despite it feeling like a long-established automotive dynasty, the Range Rover Sport nameplate has only been around since 2005 and is just now entering its third generation. The 2023 Range Rover Sport you see here is that car. As its name suggests, it's a more athletic, less stodgy interpretation of the U.K.'s premier fancy SUV. A car for the premiership footballers, if you will, whatever the fuck those are, innit.
Thankfully for the BBC panel show hosts who will snatch these up en masse, the redesigned RR Sport remains quite a good luxury car. More than capable and agreeable to drive, stylish, and packing an appropriate amount of tech—it feels less gimmicky than a lot of its German rivals. There is, of course, some room for improvement, but as it sits, the Range Rover Sport continues to earn its place near the top of the luxury SUV landscape.
|2023 Range Rover Sport P530 First Edition Specs
|Base Price (Canadian-spec as tested)
|$122,850 ($140,399 CAD)
|4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 | 8-speed automatic | all-wheel drive
|31.9 cubic feet behind second row | 53.0 cubic feet behind first row
|8.5 inches (11.0 inches in off-road mode)
|EPA Fuel Economy
|16 mpg city | 21 highway | 18 combined
Rocking an all-new design, the 2023 Range Rover Sport is definitely sleeker and more modern-looking than the previous gen. Is it better looking than that one, though? I'm not so sure. It definitely doesn't look bad, although those looking for the strongest interpretation of this particular aesthetic would probably be best served with the less upright Velar.
Inside, the design is similarly clean and handsome. It's all dark chrome and leather in there, and I'm a sucker for the Lambo-esque chopped carbon trim found on the door cards and little center cubby cover in this particular example. The screens are big, sharp, and responsive—that's 13.1 inches in the middle and 13.7 inches behind the wheel—while the company's Pivi operating system is, surprisingly perhaps, one of the better-conceived infotainment systems out there.
The rear power folding seats are appropriately spacious and luxuriously trimmed. Everything is very slick and I particularly appreciate the seat belt sockets that are lit at night to make locating them easier.
In motion, the Range Rover Sport is a vehicle that knows its audience. Yes, it may be an off-roader in blood and, yes, it may have the word Sport in its name. But in practice, it's all about being an easy, capable commuter and it drives accordingly. The steering is light, the ride is soft and cushy, and road noise is especially well-isolated.
Base models come with an in-house straight-six and a PHEV is also available, but this tester's 523-horsepower 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 sourced from BMW feels strong and sounds pleasant albeit appropriately muted and distant—exactly what you want in a luxury SUV like this. Driven for fun on a winding road, it's not what I'd call aggressive or playful (perhaps that's being saved for the inevitable SVR version) but it's competent and responsive. In most other scenarios, it's easy, breezy, and reasonably buttoned down. A confidently pleasant vehicle to drive.
Let's start with the biggest thing that would keep me out of the Range Rover Sport: the seats. When it comes to seat ergonomics, amazing seats or awful seats are universally very easy to suss out. But everything in between is, in my experience, quite subjective. We're all built differently and one person's "perfectly fine" could very well be another's literal backache. As far as my backside is concerned, though, the RRS driver's seat just isn't very comfortable, lacking lumbar support. The best seats feel deliberately and precisely sculpted to coddle the human body and minimize pressure points, and the Range Rover's don't really do this. As a result, I felt more sore and tired after a long drive in this car than I ought to, given what this is.
Road noise may be well-managed, but there is a bit of wind noise that I feel could be better shut out. On the subject of sound, this car's Meridian 3D audio system isn’t bad, but in the context of top-shelf luxury car audio systems, it is, pun completely intended, fairly mid.
Forgive me for bringing up stereotypes, but it wouldn't be a real British car without some weird little electronic bugs, now would it? In the Sport Range Rover's case, the keyless entry sometimes did not work until I took the key out of my pocket or, at the very least—and I swear I'm not making this up—repositioned it in my pants.
Oh, and if I have to pick at a final nit, the temperature knobs front and rear (there are four zones) could use a bit more click and tactility.
On the whole, though, the 2023 Range Rover Sport delivers on what RR buyers expect. Smooth, serene, and quietly pleasurable to drive, its sheer size and polishedly posh style make it imposing on the road, and its gorgeous, minimalist interior is cleanly decadent while sidestepping gaudy and is an intuitive, simple place to be.
Seat comfort and wind noise could be improved, and it still isn't immune from wonky JLR electronic bugs, but I guess that's the price you pay for Bri'ish charm. If you want something technically perfect, the Audi/Lexus dealer is that way. Still, pit up against other high-luxury three-row SUVs, the Range Rover Sport firmly deserves to be part of the conversation, and Rover devotees planning to upgrade from the previous gen without giving much thought to anything else won't likely be disappointed.
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