The Range Rover is more than just an SUV. It transcends being an extremely capable 4X4. Even calling it an automotive icon is selling it short. The Range Rover is a dynasty.
It hasn’t always been that way. For decades, there was only one Range Rover model. The original version debuted in the early 1970s with three doors, permanent four-wheel drive, a clamshell hood, and a split tailgate. By 1981, the Range Rover had grown two more doors, making it easier for passengers to climb into the rear for off-road adventures. The second-generation Range Rover came out in 1994. Its headlights were rectangular instead of round, but it still had handsome, square-jawed good looks like its predecessor. Seven years later, Land Rover revealed the third-generation Range Rover and its new unibody construction.
In the middle of the 2000s, the Range Rover ceased being a singularity in luxury off-roading. It started to become the sub-brand dynasty that it is today. Land Rover introduced the world to the Range Rover Sport, a sleeker take on the classic Range Rover that offered supercharged V8 power. The smallest modern Range Rover, the Evoque, began to roll off of Land Rover production lines in 2011 – and right into many “Car of the Year” victories. The year after that, the fourth-generation Range Rover rolled onto the world stage, its new technology and luxury features wrapped up in a lightweight aluminum body. Earlier this year, Land Rover took the wraps off of the fourth member of the Range Rover family. The sleek Velar is named after the prototypes that led to the first production Range Rovers, but its styling and technology provide a glimpse at the future of the luxury SUV.
The second-generation version of the Range Rover Sport launched in 2013. Instead of the hard lines of the original, the reborn Sport’s aluminum body work had attractively rounded edges. The 2017 Range Rover Sport is available in six trim levels, including the base HS, distinctive Autobiography, and performance-focused SVR. Power comes from a range of gas V6 and V8 engines or a six-cylinder turbodiesel.
We recently spent a week in a 2017 Range Rover Sport HSE with the Td6 diesel under its hood. It may not be the head of the double-R dynasty, but it definitely deserves its place in it.
2017 Range Rover Sport HSE Exterior
As its name implies, the Sport bears a strong resemblance to its big brother, from its wing-like headlights to the lettering on its hood to its continuous waistline. The subtle Corris Grey contrast roof of our test vehicle perfectly complemented the rich Loire Blue paint under it.
As an HSE model, our review rig came standard with features such as fog lamps, 20-inch wheels, heated and power folding mirrors, and LED tail lamps and turn signals. It was also outfitted with equipment that included adaptive Xenon headlights with automatic high beams and a tow package with a hitch receiver.
All Range Rovers should have presence. One look at the Sport, whose jewel-like lights sparkle from both ends of its well-proportioned, graceful body, and it’s clear that it has it.
2017 Range Rover Sport HSE Interior
The Ebony and Ivory color scheme of our review vehicle’s cabin was the definition of contrast. However, its level of comfort and infotainment features didn’t differ from what we’d expect in a Range Rover. We had heated and cooled front and rear seats, four-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, and Wi-Fi. Our Sport also packed a heated steering wheel, soft-close doors, configurable interior mood lighting, and a sliding panoramic roof. We didn’t think it was possible, but that made the Range Rover Sport feel even more luxurious. An 825-watt Meridian premium audio system made it a great place to listen to music, no matter how high we turned the volume up.
On a personal note, I knew my brother and I would be comfortable up front on a trip from Kyle to a hotel in Georgetown, Texas. What remained to be seen was how my mother and my niece (in a car seat) would fare in the back row. Loading everyone in was easy thanks to the lower access height mode of the air suspension. The ladies were perfectly happy being in the second row during the 50+ mile trip north. They had plenty of ventilation from the ceiling vents and the ride quality was soothing to my niece, who didn’t start the journey in the best of moods.
The 27.7-cubic-foot cargo area easily swallowed all of our luggage: duffle, travel, snack, and camera bags; two briefcases; spare blankets; diapers; and a purse.
2017 Range Rover Sport HSE Performance
The Range Rover Sport HSE is available with either a gas-powered, supercharged 3.0-liter V6 or a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6. Our media loaner came with the latter power plant, which generates 254 horsepower and a stout 443 lbft of torque. We felt its strong and addictive pulling power every time we acquainted the right pedal with the floor. The shifts from the eight-speed automatic, on the other hand, were imperceptible. According to the EPA, the diesel Range Rover Sport HSE is capable of 22 city, 28 highway, and 24 combined mpg.** We averaged about 26.
We didn’t get a chance to take the Range Rover Sport off-road, but a glance at the HSE model’s specs reveals just how close its capabilities come to those of the regular Range Rover HSE. It has a wading depth of 33.5 inches, an approach angle of 33 degrees, a breakover angle of 27.2 degrees, and a departure angle of 31 degrees. Even its maximum axle clearance of 10.9 inches (when its suspension is set to off-road height) is comfortably near the Range Rover’s figure of 11.63 inches. Both the Range Rover HSE and Range Rover Sport HSE can tow more than 7,700 pounds.
2017 Range Rover Sport HSE Safety
The safety equipment on our Range Rover Sport included rain-sensing wipers; side, seat-front, thorax, and pelvis airbags; and a rear-view camera. The Drive Pro Package added traffic sign recognition, following-distance-maintaining adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, and blind spot assistance with reverse traffic detection. A 360-degree camera system allowed us to see who and what was around us, which was particularly useful when we were parking.
2017 Range Rover Sport HSE Overall
Prices for the 2017 Range Rover HSE start at $70,650.* One configured like our test vehicle will cost you $73,645. You can get your very own piece of the Range Rover dynasty at an AutoNation-affiliated Land Rover dealership.
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.