2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR Review: The Wedding Ride This Bride Never Knew She Needed
When called up to help out with a wedding, this beefy-yet-luxurious performance SUV came up big.
Welcome to Critic's Notebook, a quick and off-the-cuff car review consisting of impressions, jottings, and marginalia regarding whatever The Drive writers happen to be driving. Today's edition: the 2018 Range Rover Sport SVR.
The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR, By the Numbers:
- Base Price (Price as Tested): $113,600 ($132,110)
- Powertrain: 5.0-liter supercharged V8, 575 horsepower, 516 pound-feet; eight-speed automatic transmission; full-time four-wheel-drive
- EPA Fuel Economy: 15 mpg city / 20 mpg highway
- 0-60 MPH: 4.3 seconds (manufacturer figures)
- Monster Performance: It'd be logical to think a vehicle with a curb weight of more than 5,000 pounds would be slow, but this monster boasts a top speed of 176 miles per hour—40 mph faster than any other Range Rover Sport. And if you (weirdly) wanted to tune out the sweet growl of the supercharged V8 under the hood, you can have a $4,540, 19-speaker surround sound stereo system at your disposal.
Quick Take: In my quest to get married, I've had the chance to test two very different vehicles for a couple of the traditional lead-up soirées. First, there was the 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible I drove for my bachelorette party; second, there was the wee 2018 Nissan Kicks for my bridal shower in Pittsburgh. For my actual wedding, a road trip-worthy two hours north of New York City in the town of Hudson, I originally wanted something closer to the flashy Grand Sport. It was going to be the only wedding I ever have (hopefully), and damnit, I wanted a head-turner. But as my about-to-be wife and I began amassing the metric ton of wedding stuff we needed to cart to Hudson, I realized that we needed something beefy to get us there. Enter: the 2018 Range Rover Sport SVR, a luxurious SUV with ample cargo room and (more than) ample power.
One Big Question: Is the expensive-but-powerful SVR trim worth it?
When you have a fancy, life-changing event to attend that requires a modest road trip, I'd offer up an emphatic yes. Sure, the price is nearly double that of the lowliest Range Rover Sport (the base SE starts at $66,750), but so is the power—the Range Rover Sport SVR's 575 horsepower dwarfs the SE's 320. In a world where Jeep makes a Grand Cherokee with 707 horsepower, why shouldn't there be a high-powered Range Rover?
After spending nearly a week with the Range Rover Sport SVR and using it for everything related to The Big Event, I have to say, it was the perfect wedding ride for me and my new family. Though I'm admittedly prone to baseless, immediate love of SUVs and trucks, I found real functionality in the ability to haul everything and everyone we needed—while also enjoying the power under my right foot. This Rangie is seated squarely in the intersection of the Practical-vs-Powerful Venn diagram—and it's in that overlap, where Jaguar Land Rover also sprinkles its signature comfort and luxury, that I want to live.
Range Rover Sport SVR: The Pros
- This thing howls out one holy (or unholy?) exhaust note. Sport mode makes it sing loudest, and I never tired of the sound. When you're quite literally roaring past fellow family haulers on the highway, you can't help but be reminded of the bonkers power this SUV has—and that you're alerting everyone in your wake to that fact.
- The interior is dripping with next-level features, from the 825-watt Meridian surround sound stereo to the heated seats in both rows of the cabin (including the aggressive SVR performance seats up front) to the electronically-adjustable steering wheel to the "Powered Gesture Sunblind," which opens with the sweep of a hand. Wife couldn't believe she could wave at the blind and have it quietly retract from view.
- The latest version of JLR's infotainment set-up feels super-premium to my eyes and hands, with multiple screens in the center console, a digital dash, and personalization options throughout. The graphics are beautiful and sharp, and the various controls all make sense—i.e. with a push of the climate control knob, you can switch it to adjusting the seat heaters. Everything feels thoughtful...but it's also apparent that there are tons of opportunities for it to malfunction.
- In addition to the blistering acceleration, the Range Rover Sport SVR handles better than it should for its size and height. It makes this beast feel like nothing short of a miracle of engineering.
Range Rover Sport SVR: The Cons
- The exterior design was probably my least favorite thing about the car. It grew on me, but at first glance, the Range Rover Sport SVR can come off as a bit squat.
- My loaner also came in a color called Corris Grey that played a bit bland—and very nearly hid the exposed carbon fiber hood, which is part of a $5,200 carbon fiber exterior pack. For that price, I can't imagine you'd want to hide it.
- To that note, this Land Rover's options are (unsurprisingly) expensive. Beyond the carbon fiber trimmings and pricy sound system, the Drive Pro Pack, which includes safety musts like blind spot warning and active cruise control, will run you $1,630. Things like this add up quickly.
- Though cargo space was adequate for my important purposes, the max of 62.2 cubic feet isn't even close to class-leading, and may prove problematic for some. And though you do get that big horsepower bump in the SVR, towing capacity drops from 7,716 pounds to 6,613 with this trim.
Range Rover Sport SVR: Value
The Range Rover Sport SVR is undeniably comfortable and luxurious...with an unavoidably tall price tag to match. But it's also versatile in a way that defies logic, with sporty handling and impressive off-road skills alike. It's a sharpened Swiss Army Knife, a "yeah, it can do that too" kind of vehicle that few can compete with.
Sure, the Volvo XC90 offers a sumptuous interior and gobs of cargo space, but you're stuck with a wimpy engine. The Porsche Cayenne offers an unmatched drive, but a third row isn't even an option. The Lexus GX has notable off-road chops, but comes up short on design and on-road driving experience. The BMW X5 technically offers an off-road package...but should you actually take it off-roading? It's incredibly hard to find a competitor that does all of what the Range Rover Sport SVR does, at the same level the Sport SVR does.
The Bottom Line:
The Range Rover Sport SVR is the fanciest mullet of an SUV out there—equal parts business and luxury, party and power. And it's the exact formula I needed when I desired to arrive in style...while also hauling enough stuff to decorate a wedding venue. It may cost well over six figures, but with the perks baked in, it's easy to see why. I, for one, am thankful we were able to enjoy this magnificent beast for our unforgettable wedding weekend, because it proved to be a crucial part of the party.