5dr Luxury SUV (2.0L Diesel, 3.0L TDV6 Diesel, 3.0L SDV6 Diesel, 3.0L SDV6 Diesel Hybrid, 4.4L SDV8 diesel, 2.0 liter petrol, 5.0 liter V8 petrol [HSE, HSE Dynamic, Autobiography Dynamic, SVR])
A Range Rover Sport should offer exactly what its name suggests: a luxurious Range Rover touring experience with a dramatic dose of sportiness. The updated post-2018 version of this second generation model of the “L494” series delivered on both counts. Continued improvements to the range here brought new engine options and more sophisticated media connectivity as part of a series of improvements that produced the revised model range that saw this MK2 model to the end of its useful life. What about a used purchase?
Here’s a car that claims it can… well, almost everything. It cruises the highway at 130 mph, crosses rivers in the Serengeti, takes a family of seven on vacation and takes you to the shops. It can be affordable to drive, rewarding to drive, and looks dynamic and stylish. There has to be a catch, right? Time to look at the improved post-2018 version of the second generation Range Rover Sport.
The Range Rover Sport. A car that in its first generation as the “L320” was neither a “Range Rover” nor “sporty”. In fact, it was based almost entirely on the brand’s sensible Discovery model and was about as dynamic to drive thanks to the practical ladder-frame chassis. Still, the dressier attire did the trick and for most of its life between 2005 and 2012 the ‘Sport’ was one of Solihull’s best sellers.
The second generation ‘L494’ model launched by Land Rover in 2013 was finally a true Range Rover product, with aluminum undercarriages borrowed from the fourth generation Range Rover launched in 2012. It was technology that was eagerly picked up by the development team on this model in their quest to finally offer cars like the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 a credibly sporty large SUV competitor.
This second generation of Range Rover Sport was supported by a package of changes introduced in early 2017. Buyers of this facelifted model have been offered a more affordable entry point into the range thanks to the availability of the well-regarded 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel power unit, previously only available on the Range Rover Evoque. There was also a fresh petrol option, a 3.0-liter supercharged powerplant. There was also a P400e 2.0-litre petrol plug-in hybrid variant. In addition, the off-road capability has been further improved thanks to a new “Low Traction Launch” system. All models also received a more sophisticated dose of Land Rover’s ‘InControl Touch Pro’ infotainment technology.
After this update, a new “P” (for petrol) and “D” (for diesel) badge was introduced for 2019. And around the same time, a high-performance SVR model came to the top of the range: the L494 MK2 range sold until summer 2022 when it was replaced by a brand new L461 series MK3 model.
what you get
Imagine being toned, fit – and nearly 20% lighter. how would you look sharper? Smarter? Younger? This MK2 L494 series car is certainly apt when compared to its boxy, heavy L320 series first generation pre-2013 predecessor. The faster windscreen angle, streamlined profile and sloping roofline make it really sleek and contemporary – as it should be, a Range Rover Sport for the modern era. But recognizable as a Range Rover Sport: the clamshell bonnet, ‘floating’ roof, powerful wheel arches and side fender vents that have always characterized this model are all present and correct.
The famous ‘Command’ driving position is a little lower than in a Range Rover, the more compact, thicker-rimmed wheel is smaller, the upright shifter is more purposeful and the center console is taller. Perhaps that last point is the most significant, as it positions the controls closer to you, creating a cocooning feel for front-seat occupants. So fast – but also royal.
where to look
Land Rover products have seen much improved build quality in recent years, but our owner survey has shown that the brand still has a little way to go to keep up with its German rivals in this regard. The main things we came across in our owner survey were front lower control arm failures, differential failures, air suspension failure, power loss issues and parking brake failures.
experience behind the wheel
To help this car out on tarmac there are a number of so-called “dynamic” driving aids that you can get provided you avoid entry trim. These include “Dynamic Response Active Lean Control” and “Torque Vectoring” to help you put the power through the corners. There is also the variable damping “Adaptive Dynamics”. Plus a “Dynamic Program” that instantly switches everything to “Red Fog” mode when selected. You’ll want this if you’re going for one of the more powerful engines – perhaps the 339hp SDV8 diesel, or one of the supercharged petrols, a 340hp 3.0-litre V6 and a 5.0-litre V8 either either 510 hp or in the SVR top model, up to 550 hp.
At the other end of the range, an entry-level 240PS 2.0-litre SD4 four-cylinder diesel engine was introduced (as was a four-cylinder petrol engine which also formed the basis of the P400e plug-in hybrid model). However, most customers will prefer the 306 hp SDV6 diesel. Like the other more powerful units, it is also equipped with electronic air suspension, which not only improves handling but also gives this car excellent off-road capabilities. Avoid entry-level trims, which are further enhanced by a two-speed low-range gearbox, “All Terrain Progress Control” and a “Terrain Response 2” system that can automatically adjust the car to the type of terrain it’s driving over. All models feature a clever “Low Traction Launch” system to help you launch from a standstill on low-grip surfaces. This is helpful when towing: This car can tow up to 3.5 tons.
The right version of this car offers just the right kind of luxury SUV experience for those lucky enough to be able to enjoy it. And delivers a Range Rover Sport that’s a proper Range Rover in almost every way. Be honest: you would like one – wouldn’t you?