Range Rover Sport TDV6 2008 Review

land-rover-sport-fq

Daydreams are always free even from behind an office desk, like most people my own dreams usually consist of masses of wealth. But unlike most people my daydreams are less about having the wealth, and more about taking it.

Robbing a bank successfully would take precise organisation mixed with overt aggression, not the stuff of daydreams really. That’s why I prefer the thought of being the getaway driver. The biggest question for any imaginary getaway driver is what vehicle to choose? I reckon you couldn’t go too wrong with the Range Rover Sport TDV6.

Firstly, the Range Rover Sport looks the part, a real gangsters car. The Sports are seldom parked outside office buildings because those who own them don’t work in offices, they don’t seem to work at all, but they do have a lot of money. So seeing one parked right outside a bank would cause little suspicion. The Sport’s stylistic appeal comes largely from an obvious nod to the Range Rover bloodline while playing host to some subtle modern changes.

The evergreen cubist Range Rover profile is well maintained and wrap around windows sit below a sloping, cantilevered roof. Bi-xenon adaptive headlights flank the distinctive three-bar grille, now with perforations to increase airflow to the engine. The Sport has a strong road presence, and is blinged up well with 19-inch rims, side vents in the front guards and a high rear spoiler. Generous flush-fitting glass and slim pillars create 360-degree police-spotting visibility and a light, airy atmosphere to the cabin for a pleasant escape.

Fling open the doors and dive inside and you’re greeted with soft leather seats and plush wool carpets. Simulated metal trim and dark plastics work in tandem enclosing a wide array of buttons and dials. Some cheaper pieces of plastic trim have found their way inside but overall the interior feel is luxurious quality. The raised centre console houses an electronic park brake, offset gear lever, climate, stereo and phone controls, finishing with a high-mounted sat-nav-capable touch screen. This screen also offers visual information on the current 4WD set-up.

Interior space is average for the Sport’s class, but offers decent headroom and a back seat wide enough for three accomplices comfortably. I found the black on green stereo display difficult to read while driving and the instruments could have benefited from a larger font for the numbers. But when getaway driving there is only one speed you’re interested in — flat out.

The TDV6 diesel engine is a 2.7 litre turbocharged V6 producing 140kW of escaping power and 440Nm of torque. The Sport’s acceleration from stationary is disappointing with a lengthy 0-100km sprint of 12 seconds, not ideal for pursuit situations. However, once the Range Rover is up to speed it has solid mid-range torque and with a whopping 2450kg kerb weight only the bravest police car would dare get in its way. Thrifty economy figures of 10.2 L/100km combined mean long distances between stops are possible. The Sport is far more comfortable and capable at motorway cruising speeds than city driving, making it perfect for getting out of town.

With air-suspension as standard the ride quality is top-notch and would prove supple and absorbent on any uneven escape routes. The handling is flick-knife sharp for a vehicle of the Sport’s size and although body roll can be felt its not bad enough to tip over the loot in the back.  The power steering is too lightweight at low speeds for my preference, but is speed proportional and firms up well at higher speeds. A six-speed automatic transmission changes smoothly and is unobtrusive to the driving experience.

With a squad of police cars in tow, it would be time to pull out the ace in the Sport’s sleeve and go where they can’t follow — off road. A dial in the centre console controls the air suspension shifting it to the optimum setting for a range of potential environments including grass, snow, mud, sand and even deep ruts. Off road the Range Rover Sports can’t match that of the Range Rover or Discovery models, but it’s not far off and the compromise between off-road capability and on-road comfort is outstanding.

If it all turns sour and the heist is let down by poor getaway driving then the Land Rover’s safety features will preserve the occupants for some serious jail-time.  Eight airbags in total are loaded and ready to shoot, but with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Active Roll Mitigation (ARM) dodging the bullet could be possible.

Overall, I found the Range Rover Sport TDV6 to be a luxurious, practical and capable vehicle with arresting good looks and sound off road credentials. With the exception of sluggish acceleration it’s an excellent choice regardless of your getaway scenario. The only flaw in my daydream is that with a $129,990 price tag I’ll need to rob the bank before I can buy it.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications

Price: from $129,990

What we like:

Luxurious interior
Ride Quality
Distinctive Styling

What we don’t like:

Pedestrian acceleration
Difficult-to-read instruments

Words and Photos, Adam Mamo

Range Rover Sport TDV6 – Specifications

Engine

Location: Front North South
Capacity (cc’s): 2720
No. of Cylinders: V6
Cylinder Layout: Longitudinal V6
Bore (mm): 81
Stroke (mm): 88
Compression Ratio: 18 +/- 0.5
Cylinder head material: Aluminium
Cylinder block material: Compacted Graphite Iron
Ignition system: Siemens PDC 2
Valves per cylinder: 4
Maximum power: 140kW/4000rpm
Maximum Torque: 440Nm/1900rpm

Performance and fuel economy

Maximum Speed kph (mph): 193 (120)
Acceleration – secs 0-60 (0-96kph): 11.9 sec
Acceleration — secs 0-100: 12.7 sec
Urban L/100km (Mpg): 12.7 (22.2)
Extra Urban L/100km (Mpg): 8.4 (33.6)
Combined L/100km (Mpg): 10.2 (27.6)
CO2 Combined emissions (g/km): 271

Transmission

Transmission type: Automatic
Transfer box ratio High: 1:1
Transfer box ratio Low: 2.93:1
Shift-on-the-move (kph/mph): 25/40 Low to High
Shift-on-the-move (kph/mph): 38/60

Steering

Type: Speed Proportional Power Assisted Rack and Pinion
Turns lock to lock: 3.1
Turning circle (kerb to kerb): 11.6m
Turning circle (wall to wall): 12.1m

Dimensions

Unladen total (EEC Kerb): 2455
Unladen front axle: 1220
Laden gross vehicle weight: 3070
Max front axle: 1470
Max rear axle: 1710
Ground clearance (off-road height): 700
Wading depth (mm): 700
Towing (towing pack optional), kg
Unbraked trailer: 750
Trailer with over-run brakes: 3500

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