2023 Range Rover Sport SE Would Rather Chill Than Thrill


From the April 2022 issue of Car and Driver.

Chipotle—or, as my family calls it, “Taco Bell with some book learning'”—has an ingenious menu. There is really only one dish, but the fast food chain presents the basic ingredients in so many ways that a veneer of individuality masks the homogeneity. The same can be said of Land Rover’s range, which stuffs the same fillings into different casings. Want a six-cylinder four-wheel drive SUV? Have a Range Rover Velar, which looks like a smaller Range Rover Sport, which is a slightly smaller Range Rover, which is like a fancier Discovery, which is a more polished Defender. In this analogy, the Discovery Sport is a lifestyle box, and the Evoque is a quesadilla from the kids’ menu.

The Range Rover Sport is a staple of the company’s SUV menu. The previous generation enjoyed a nine-year run without aging into despair, which is probably why Rover decided, for the 2023 redesign, to keep it looking more or less the same. The new Sport’s headlights are sharper, but the overall shape is so similar to the previous model that you’ll have to park them side by side to figure out what’s changed. The main giveaway is the new power-operated spool door handles, which add to the sleek look and smooth 0.29 coefficient of drag.

2023 land rover range rover sport's p360View photos

No matter how broken the surface, the Range Rover Sport paves the way forward with lightly toasted marshmallows.

Greg Pajo|Car and Driver

HIGHS: Looks fast even when parked, amazing ride quality, decent gas mileage.

The Sport is also smooth to drive, even in the light-option SE trim. At $90,145 as tested, it’s about as cheap a Range Rover Sport as you can build. The base SE comes with a 355-hp variant of the electrically supercharged and turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that appears in various other tunes and configurations elsewhere in the lineup (there’s a 395-hp flavor and ‘ a 434-hp plug-in hybrid ). And while the straight-six’s output doesn’t exactly impress when BMW and Jeep wring 500-plus horsepower from the same displacement, the engine is unfailingly buttery and refined. Move the throttle at low rpm, and the supercharger provides instant boost, increasing torque until the turbocharger blows up a storm. You hear a short high-pitched whine when the throttle is turned in, but that’s the only clue to the supercharger’s existence.

2023 land rover range rover sport's p360

Greg Pajo|Car and Driver

The Range Rover Sport doesn’t exactly laugh when you crack open the throttle, but it also doesn’t drift like you’d expect based on its sleek looks. The Sport hits 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and covers the quarter mile in 14.3 seconds at 96 mph. Those numbers are decent enough, but the Sport’s 5-to-60-mph time — 7.1 seconds — is a better indicator of how it feels in real-world traffic, which is to say, like a 5387-pound vehicle with 355 horsepower. In this case, “Sport” implies a diminutive (see Ford Bronco Sport, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport) rather than a sporting intent. At least the Sport SE delivers decent fuel economy, returning 25 mpg in our 75 mph highway test.

And it’s a comfortable place to send a few kilometers. Get the eight-speed automatic transmission settled into high gear and the straight-six dozing at low rpm, and you can be convinced you’re driving an electric vehicle. It is so smooth and so quiet. In fact, at 70 mph, you’ll hear a mere 66 decibels of interior noise, bordering on luxury-sedan levels of quiet. Some of the credit there goes to the active noise cancellation system, which uses microphones in each wheel well to sample the sound boiling up from the road and then nullify it, as if you were driving around in a giant pair of noise-canceling headphones.

The standard air springs and adaptive dampers also add to the impression of luxurious, undisturbed lift, even with the 22-inch clod hoppers fitted to our test car. No matter how broken the surface, the Range Rover Sport paves the way forward with lightly toasted marshmallows. Switch to Dynamic mode, and the Pirelli Scorpion Zero All-Season tires can generate 0.81g of grip on the skidpad, but doing so also introduces head-tossing and flintry movements. As with its powertrain, the Sport SE’s chassis is happiest when you don’t ask too much of it. Which, we admit, is how most people use their cars most of the time.

Granted, other trims would push the Sport’s numbers closer to the realm of legitimate performance SUVs. The Stormer Handling package, unique to the $122,975 First Edition P530, brings active anti-roll bars and rear-wheel steering, and we’re sure that model’s BMW-sourced 523-hp V-8 makes for significantly crisper acceleration.

LOW: Not really that fast, shiny interior parts are a bummer, just a few options push the price over $90,000

But our test vehicle is about as close as you can get to a Range Rover Sport at its $84,475 base price. Options included 22-inch wheels ($1450), a full-size spare tire ($500) and the Cold Climate package ($640), which heats the steering wheel, washer jets and windshield. The heated steering wheel is available à la carte for $300 in case you miss the heated windshield’s built-in filaments, which some of us do. Of course, you can expand the options list with thousands of dollars in other add-ons, but the Sport comes pretty well equipped in the first place. Without a buyer checking any options, the SE includes heated front and rear leather seats, a Meridian sound system, a panoramic sunroof, and adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist.

Whether the generous standard equipment translates into an interior befitting an $84,000 Range Rover is up for debate. When most surfaces are hard and shiny—glass, black wood veneer, aluminum—you end up with a cabin that shows every microbe of dust and smudged fingerprint. Other odd decisions: The USB-C port behind the flowing center console sits above a slanted plastic tray, so any phone placed there will soon fly to one footwell or the other before forcibly disconnecting itself. There’s also an inductive charging pad below the touchscreen, but it doesn’t have a lip on the back, so you face the same dilemma on a different axis. Press the throttle, and your phone will be on a cavernous journey into the center console, which is roughly the shape and depth of an elevator shaft, as it shares real estate between the seats with another storage area hidden under the cup holders. And why would you need hidden storage under the cup holder? We’re law-abiding citizens, so we have no idea what you might put under there after, say, a day trip from Ohio to Michigan.

OUTCOME: A sport that would rather not play.

The Range Rover Sport’s role in the lineup has always been clear: It’s like the full-size Range Rover, but more focused on pavement performance. However, this particular decoration has its appeal in the relaxed luxury it offers at its (relatively) affordable price. The Sport is the Range Rover for people who say “Never mind” when informed that the guacamole will be an extra $2.65. Does it really make a difference to your bottom line? Maybe not, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

2023 land rover range rover sport's p360

Greg Pajo|Car and Driver


Model-appealing design and classy cabins make Range Rovers the fashionistas of their peer group. But beauty comes at a price that, for the Range Rover Sport, is on the level of couture—whereas rivals from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Porsche are more like ready-to-wear. With options, our base trim example is over $90,000. And to think, the Sport was once the viable Range Rover. —Joe Lorio

The new Range Rover Sport is a symbol of progress for the Land Rover brand, so why continue to include those redundant fold-down armrests? Of all the legacy design features to keep up with, this seems the most irrelevant. The soft center console is already nicely positioned to rest your elbow, and these thin, narrow appendages only block easy access to the seat belts. Land Rover should at least offer buyers an option to remove the armrest on the spec sheet. —Drew Dorian

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2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SE P360
Vehicle type: front engine, four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

Base/As Tested: $84,475/$90,145
Options: 22-inch wheels, $1450; Black contrast roof, $1000; Giola Green paint, $710; Cold climate package, $640; LED headlights, $600; 22-inch full-size spare, $500; Natural Black Veneer Finish, $410; Wi-Fi with data plan, $360

supercharged, turbocharged and intercooled, DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 183 inches32996 cm3
Power: 355 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm

8-speed automatic

Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 15.0-in Vented Disc/14.0-in Vented Disc
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Zero All-Season
285/45R-22 114Y M+S LR

Wheelbase: 118.0 inches
Length: 194.7 inches
Width: 80.6 inches
Height: 71.7–74.2 inches
Passenger volume, L/H: 55/50 ft3
Cargo Volume, Rear F/R: 66/32 ft3
Curb weight: 5387 lb

60 mph: 5.7 sec
1/4-mile: 14.3 sec @ 96 mph
100 mph: 15.7 sec
130 mph: 33.2 sec

Results above show 1 foot deployment of 0.3 sec. away.
Roll start, 5–60 mph: 7.1 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.5 sec
Top speed (mfr’s claim): 140 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 187 ft
Road holding capacity, 300-ft Skid road: 0.81 g

Observed: 16 mpg
75 mph highway driving: 25 mpg
75 mph highway range: 590 miles

Combined/City/Highway: 22/19/26 mpg


Head shot by Ezra Dyer

Senior Editor

Ezra Dyer is a Car and Driver senior editor and columnist. He is now settled in North Carolina, but still remembers how to turn right. He owns a 2009 GEM e4 and once drove 206 mph. Those facts are mutually exclusive.