The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is the sportier and slightly smaller (and cheaper) little brother of the Range Rover. It turns down the luxury factor from the Range Rover, but ups the performance factor to be the fastest vehicle coming out of the Land Rover factory. Last year Land Rover was sold by Ford to Tata, the Indian business giant, and there is a degree of doubt as to which direction they are planning to take the company. Nevertheless at the moment they seem to be remaining with the status quo, and this year's Range Rover Sport sees no major changes after the major mid-cycle freshening in 2007.
2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Performance
The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover comes with two engine choices. The HSE model features a 4.4-liter V8 that produces 300hp and 315lb/ft of torque. This engine produces more than enough power to accelerate into and out of any situation. The Supercharged Range Rover SC upgrades this engine to a 4.2-liter supercharged V8 that produces 390hp and 410lb/ft of torque. The HSE makes it to 60mph in around 8 seconds and the SC in around 6.7 seconds - mighty impressive for a SUV like this.
Both engines feature a six-speed automatic transmission with a sequential shift manual mode, and it gives smooth and well-timed gear changes in most situations, although possibly leaving it a little late to downshift. The overall driving experience of the Range Rover Sport is surprisingly responsive, thanks largely to the unibody design, the four-wheel independent air suspension with height settings for optimum handling, high speed driving, lower access to lift the shopping bags into the back, and off-road for maximum clearance. While the Range Rover is heavy and cumbersome in cornering, the Range Rover Sport thrives on tight cornering with a Dynamic Response System that controls the front and rear anti-roll bars. In combination with the stability control system and brake control, it makes the Range Rover Sport incredibly car-like in its handling.
Off the road the Range Rover Sport shines with cross-link valves that link the wheel action so that when one wheel is pushed upwards, the other is forced downwards to deliver greater power and traction. All Range Rovers are four-wheel drive with Terrain Response that allows the driver to choose one of a range of five terrain conditions including slippery, sandy, rocky and muddy. This adjusts the brakes, suspension and acceleration to ensure the best performance. Standard is Hill Descent Control which maintains a constant slow speed for steep slopes.
Fuel economy on the Range Rover is predictably horrible, achieving 12/18mpg city/highway conditions for the HSE and 13/18mpg for the Supercharged version. The Range Rover continues to struggle with the reliability cloud over its head, surprising given its high price tag.
2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Interior and Features
This five-seater SUV is not quite as plush as its big brother the Range Rover, but nevertheless offers a well-appointed cabin with wonderfully comfortable seats with standard leather upholstery. Space in the front is generous, and even the rear seat can fit three adults fairly comfortably.
There are a huge range of standard features on the HSE trim, justifying the hefty price tag. These include: 19-inch wheels, standard navigation system, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 8-way powered and heated front seats, heated rear seat that split folds, remote keyless start and entry, power sunroof, high quality Harman Kardon stereo system, rear obstacle camera, universal garage door opener, heated front windshield, rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic headlights. On the Supercharged Range Rover the seats are heated, wood trim is added and wheels are upgraded to 20-inch. Steering-linked adaptive headlights are also included.
Satellite navigation system and satellite radio are standard this year, as is Bluetooth. Optional features include upgraded leather upholstery, upgraded wood interior trim, rear DVD entertainment system and a locking rear differential for the HSE trim.
2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Safety
The 2009 Land Rover Range Rover offers outstanding safety features including Dynamic Stability Control, Brake Assist and 4-wheel ABS and active roll mitigation which all work together to maintain maximum control in emergency situations. Dual-stage front, front side and side impact airbags are standard as well as knee protection bags. Hill descent control is standard for off-roading.
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, ABS.
- Dual front, front side and side curtain airbags, knee airbags
- Hill Descent Control
Overall the 2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport may be facing an uncertain future at the hands of its new owners Tata, but it remains a timeless classic that successfully treads the line between city chic and country versatility. Even its ongoing issues with reliability have not dampened the enthusiasm of its fans, proving that brand loyalty is still alive and well.