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2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P440e: A Battery That Changes Everything

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is all new for 2023. The exterior retains a familiar look but is cleaner and sharper. The front features slimmer headlights, revised air intakes and a new mesh grille design.

Flush-mounted door handles can be seen on each side, while rectangular OLED taillights, a smoother tailgate and a reshaped diffuser highlight the changes at the rear.

The biggest news for this generation is the available plug-in hybrid system, which combines a supercharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine with an electric motor. Total power is 434 hp and 457 lb-ft. of torque.

A key component is the 38.2kWh battery, which is said to provide 82km of zero-emissions range, which is excellent. Most daily journeys are much shorter, so drivers don’t have to burn gas on the way.

Photo: Julien Amado

High-luxury PHEV

We tested the Range Rover Sport P440e on the mountain roads near Salt Lake City, Utah, where temperatures are quite similar to many places in Canada. A heavy snowstorm even affected the afternoon drive.

Our tester was a top-of-the-line Autobiography model starting at $104,200. It’s essentially the US equivalent of the Range Rover Sport HSE sold on the north side of the border. When equipped with the same options and Varesine Blue paint, it is priced at $137,393.

This equates to monthly payments of $3,091 over five years at a funding rate of 6.49 percent. It goes without saying that the Range Rover Sport P440e is not eligible for government PHEV rebates.

As soon as you open the door, the cabin screams sophistication and opulence. The technology has evolved quite a bit too, with a new 13.1-inch touchscreen sitting proudly on the dashboard. The controls on the center console have been rearranged, but you’ll figure them out soon enough.

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Photo: Julien Amado

However, the controls for the heated seats require two separate movements (a button press and a screen tap), which isn’t very driver-friendly. To make matters worse, the haptic controls sometimes lack feedback, requiring you to tap them multiple times to get what you want.

However, we have no complaints about the seats. Comfort and support are delivered in equal doses, finding a proper riding position is easy, and long rides down the road won’t leave you sore or tired. If we were picky, we’d say the angle of the instrument cluster makes it a bit difficult to read when the driver’s seat is adjusted to its lowest position.

As for the interior, there’s plenty of it. Although the cargo area has a relatively high floor, it is spacious enough to accommodate four people’s luggage.

Photo: Julien Amado

Strong and quiet

We started the day with a fully charged battery and the trip computer showed a range of 58 miles (93 km). It was -3 degrees Celsius outside, so the cold wasn’t really a problem.

Thanks to plenty of torque, the Range Rover Sport P440e takes off silently in a hurry. It won’t break your neck, but it has enough momentum to propel its 2,658 kg from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds. Land Rover has also done a great job with the soundproofing, contributing to the smooth and quiet driving experience.

The big and beautiful SUV didn’t mind at all when snow covered the road. An excellent set of Michelin X-ice Snow winter tires was part of the package, that’s why. Despite the massive 22-inch wheels, the ride quality proved to be pretty good, even hitting a few potholes along the way. Likewise, tackling dirt and mud wasn’t a big deal.

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Photo: Julien Amado

After driving 93km we finally heard the petrol engine kick in, meaning it exceeded the all-electric range advertised by Land Rover. And that’s a good thing, too, as fuel economy isn’t particularly impressive when the battery is dead.

With careful acceleration, we managed to lower our tester’s average to 11.3 L/100 km. Otherwise, it quickly rose to over 13 L/100 km. Keep in mind that we drove very little around town and spent most of our time on the open road.

reliability concerns

If you’re a regular reader of our stories and reviews, you must know that Land Rover has a poor track record when it comes to reliability. The automaker announced last year that it was taking steps to address the situation.

During our test drive with the Range Rover Sport P440e we encountered a few problems. First, the left side of the hood began to wobble as the wind picked up. There was no danger of it popping up and hitting the windscreen, but it’s never a good sign when you see the bonnet moving like that in the wind.

Photo: Julien Amado

After lunch, a warning light appeared on the instrument cluster saying there was a problem with the suspension. Have the vehicle checked. We turned the engine off and on again and the warning was gone. Probably just a software bug. However, this is not something you should experience in a vehicle that sells for more than $130,000, especially after only 100 miles.

If you end up looking for a high-performing and well-made SUV that you don’t see every day and that can take you long distances without sacrificing fuel, the new 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P440e could be the perfect answer. Just be prepared to live with a few ergonomic issues, disappointing fuel economy in regular hybrid mode, high maintenance costs, and sub-par reliability.

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