Review: 2019 Range Rover Sport SVR

Try as I might, I couldn’t stop my brain from defaulting to one particular thought during the week I drove this SUV:

It’s a luxury vehicle built to perform near the top of the class in off-road conditions, to the point that it even has a device that measures the depth of the water you’re frolicking through.

And it costs (with options) more than $130,000.

I was nervous and overly cautious just pulling through the parking lot of the grocery store; I couldn’t imagine taking a vehicle that costs the same as a small condo and grinding it over rocks and tree stumps.

I mean, a Range Rover was even once put on display at the Louvre (seriously), and now I’m going to plow through that swamp up ahead?

But here’s the thing. Even with that pedigree of off-road excitement, you can’t deny that the average buyer is very happy tooling up to the valet at 5-star restaurants.

Which is funny, since one of the chief engineers responsible for introducing the Range Rover, Spen King, once said the vehicle was “never intended as a status symbol.”

Dang, sorry Spen. That genie is long out of the bottle.

The Basics

The only way to describe this beast is a high-performance, dynamic luxury SUV that has power for days.

How much power? How about 575 horses in the SVR model I drove.

That energy is created by a 5.0-liter V8, and paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, along with all-wheel drive.

The SVR, however, is their top-of-the-line trim version. You have several other choices that won’t reach 6-figures in price, starting with the SE. With some of those other versions you’ll have to somehow make do with “only” 515 horsepower.

Some come with two rows of seats while a third row is an option.

They’re still working with the 4th generation, which debuted with the 2012 model year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tweaks and adjustments, and the 2019 has its share of those.

Externally, it looks the part of a charging tiger. Sleek lines, eye-catching curb appeal, and style out the wazoo — but still never disguising the fact that it can out-gun most of its luxury competitors.

The Inside

Forget for the moment all of that crazy off-roading, and concentrate on your drive to work. Will you be comfortable.

Very.

The Range Rover spared no expense (well, and passed it on to you) to envelop you in seats that are very well-designed. Total comfort and support, and in a look that screams class. I loved the combination of leather and stitching.

I also enjoyed the generous expanse of room up front and for the back seat passengers. It was a bit surprising that there wasn’t more personal storage in the front, but I think the primary design intent was more to wow you with luxury than to worry about where to store your stuff.

More solid eye appeal with the center control stack, from the gear shift and control know, up through the dual screens that make up the center console.

The panoramic roof is ideal for a vehicle this size, providing an open feel to you and your friends along for the joyride.

Cargo storage is okay, but not massive. Towing capacity, on the other hand, can be impressive, depending on your trim choice.

The Drive

The experts at the track say the Range Rover Sport can launch itself from zero to sixty in about 4 and a half seconds. That good enough for you?

Disclaimer, I did not test the SVR in its off-road capabilities (see earlier comment about damage insecurity), but every trip in the city or the highway was a pleasant experience.

That monstrous V8 not only provides the sizzling acceleration, but the rest of your drive remains strong while smooth.

Steering and handling are first-rate, and the overall ride is ultra smooth.

Road noise is practically silenced, leaving you with only the ferocious growl of your SUV’s power plant.

The Tech

If I have to nitpick about anything with the Sport SVR, it’s the tech.

Overall I like the concept of having two separate screens. One is focused primarily on the functions of the vehicle’s locomotive capacities and climate control, and the other is dedicated to things like and sound, navigation, and communication.

Well, the sound is terrific. Your SVR can be delivered with a high-end Meridian Audio system, and my Range Rover had something like two millions speakers, I think.

The dude in the Charger next to you at the light will not stand a chance.

Ah, but we’ve also reached the age of compatibility with our devices, and here’s where I experienced a bit of frustration.

Range Rover has made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto part of a “free” pack that you’ll want. But it was wonky for me most days; one time it would connect with no trouble at all, and the next I’d have to unplug it and plug it back in — sometimes more than once — to get it to sync up.

As for safety and convenience, the Sport SVR has plenty of well-appreciated standard features, such as a 360-degree camera, lane departure warnings, and their Park Pack traffic monitor.

For a bit more you can opt for the Driver Assist Pack, which adds blind-spot assist and adaptive cruise control.

The Bottom Line

No fewer than five people, upon finding out the sticker for the SVR, asked “Aren’t you afraid to drive it?”

No! I may have been reluctant to take such a gleaming jewel off the beaten path, but traditional driving? It was glorious.

If you’ve arrived in this world, and you’re looking for high-end luxury paired with excellent drivability, mind-blowing power, and off-road freedom, the Range Rover Sport is calling your name.

Bear in mind all of that power and thrust comes at a fuel expense. City and combined mileage is in the mid-teens.

The Details

2019 Range Rover Sport SVR
5.0-liter V8
575 horsepower
8-speed transmission
All-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 15/20/16 combined
MSRP: $114,500
As tested: $131,520

Reviewed by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share