Just how good is the Range Rover Sport SVR?
Land Rover's attempt at making a sports SUV- Does it impress an SUV cynic like me?
In the past few decades, SUVs have become quite popular due to their commanding driving positions, space, practicality and multi-terrain capability. However, we all know SUVs are also quite boring. So, to make SUVs more fun and more appealing, automakers have, over recent years, developed faster and more powerful versions of SUVs, called "sports SUVs." And these cars have become popular. So popular, in fact, that even Land Rover, a brand which only built luxury and hardcore offroad monsters, has developed a sports SUV.
The Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR. Quite a big name.
A little more history. The Range Rover sport was built as a smaller, cheaper and less luxurious younger brother to the big Range Rover. It was also lighter, more practical, and slightly better to drive than the Range Rover. Perfect car to morph into a performance SUV, then. So, Land Rover dispatched off a Sport to the SVO, Special Vehicle Operations, which build high performance cars for JLR. Now, Land Rover was a little late to the party, which meant established sports SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne Coupe made the SVR (the name's too long, so we'll call it just the SVR this whole article) somewhat of an underdog.
But is it actually a fun SUV? Well, let's find out...
Right off the bat, the SVR has some pretty intrepid styling. It is pretty much just like a regular Sport, but has a few tweaks all around. At the front, there's a slightly redesigned bumper, great LED headlights, and some aggressive looking vents. But the best part is, the carbon fiber bonnet. Oh yes, you get a carbon fiber on this SUV. Many might say it looks over the top, but no, I quite like that feature a lot. Next, at the sides, the differences aren't really that noticeable. You do get different and slightly better looking alloys, and the whole car itself is actually lower, because this is the SVR, and it must handle well. Oh, and you get a little more carbon fiber in the form of the most noticeable fake vents of all time, but when they kind of look good, who cares? And then, at the back of the car, again, it's pretty much similar to the regular Sport. More carbon fiber, dual oval exhausts which are entirely real, and a pretty good looking spoiler. The paints are also different from the normal car, but mind you, they can get quite expensive depending on which paint you go for. Overall, looks really good, atleast much better than the "coupe-SUVs." This car technically competes with those cars, but thankfully, it doesn't have the sloping and slanting rooflines of those cars. It is a big ol', bulky SUV.
Land Rover makes really good interiors. Not very reliable, but certainly very luxurious. Climb into the SVR, and you're swathed in luxuries of all sort, with a sporty and dynamic theme to them. It is pretty much the same interior you get in other Range Rovers, like the Velar and the Evoque. It has the 2 huge infotainment screens, and the fully digital driver's display. They look awesome, and have very bright, contrasting colors, and tons of features, but when you're driving, it ain't that easy to operate. Sometimes, depending on where the sun is, you get terrible reflections on the screens, which makes it really difficult to look at. And the driver display isn't the best, either. It's a little dull, and has more lag than systems you get in Audis, Mercs and BMWs. Anyway, the seats are bucket seats, to save weight, and they're really comfortable. You can get the interior in quite a few colors depending on your choice, and all of them are really good. Quality is also fantastic, like all other Land Rovers. Everything inside is high quality material. Even storage's good, too. You get two gloveboxes, one on top of the other, and both are big enough to fit everything you'll want to keep in them. You get large cupholders, a center console which doubles as a fridge with two levels of cooling, and some secret storage under the cupholders.
The SVR is big, and therefore, very practical. The backseats are huge, and you get tons of space. Lots of headroom and lots of legroom, hard to find in the coupe-SUVs. You can get 4 zone climate control as an inexpensive option, something worth having. The middle of the seat is not great, though. You see, in order to match the front seats and the whole sporty thing going on, Land Rover wanted to fit more racy bucket seats, which means the ends of both seats stick out in the middle seat, and that'll poke your shoulders like hell. So, middle seat, not good, but atleast the main seats you'll be using are more comfortable than other SUVs. Oh, and another complaint, the number of seats. You see, in the regular Sport, you can get 7 seats as an option, but in the SVR, you can't. And that seriously hampers practicality.
Finally, the boot. Good thing is, the boot is exactly the same size as the regular car- huge. I mean, absolutely massive. Big boot, into which you can just dump stuff and not care about them at all. You also get 12 volt sockets, hooks to hang stuff onto, and some other neat features. This is another area where it edges it competition, because of its different shape.
The 5.0 liter engine. Image credit: Top Gear
Now, the best bit about this car- the lovely engine. It's a 5.0 liter, supercharged V8, same one in the brutal F-Type R sports car. And it has the exact same specs. It produces a mighty 575 hp, and 700 NM of torque. That and the AWD send the SVR from 0-60 in a surprisingly quick 4.3 seconds, not at all bad for something that weighs a hefty 2.1 tonnes, despite all of the carbon fiber. The SVR will go on to 176 mph, once again, not bad for a vehicle like itself.
But no one cares about the power or speed. All we want to hear is the fire-breathing exhaust. Crazy is the perfect word to describe it. I mean, who'd imagine that a bulky Range Rover would sound this good?! The throaty rumble from the engine is sure to give you eargasms regardless of which speed you're going. V8s sound great, superchargers sound awesome, and the SVR just takes it to a new level. The exhaust leaves the rest of the pack in the dust, that's how good it is.
The SVR is a pretty great car to drive around. For a tall and heavy vehicle, it's amazing what Land Rover's done to make it so good. Throw it into a corner, and there's obviously body roll, but not enough to make you feel like you'll rollover any time. Of course, you wouldn't want to push it too hard, but it still let's you have lots of fun, and all of it can be forgiven. And that exhaust. I can't find enough words to tell you about it. There is a button, to reduce the loudness of the exhaust, but it's so loud, the button doesn't really do a great deal. You can pretty much choose only between loud, and louder. Obviously, to reduce body roll, they've put some more rigid anti roll bars, and stiffened the suspension. While this means the ride isn't as comfortable as the regular car, you get air suspension as standard, and you can adjust it to be quite soft. It's pretty good in the city, too. The boxy design means it's easier to look out of, better than coupe like counterparts. And on the school run, it's so damn fast, rushing with your kids won't be a problem. I'm not a fan of Land Rover gearboxes, because they can be quite unresponsive, though SVO changed the gearbox, and it responds really quickly now. Really, everything about this car is perfect. Yes, it's not as good as an X6M or a Cayenne Coupe, but that's because of it's shape.
And because this is a Land Rover, you can take it, well, pretty much anywhere on earth. I mean, that's what Land Rover stands for- most resilient thing on earth. It might not be very reliable, but other luxury brands are catching up quite quickly. It's got all of the latest offroad technology you can find in the large Range Rover, which says how good it is. Even with 20/21 inch alloys, it can handle a good measure of sand, ice, mud or rocks.
Ok, so Land Rovers aren't cheap, and the SVR certainly costs a ton of money. It starts at 115,000 USD, which is A LOT of money., about the same as an X6M and a little cheaper than a Cayenne Coupe. Thankfully, there aren't too many other options that can be added to this car, as it comes pretty much with everything you need as standard. This means the price will stay at pretty much the starting price, unlike other brands which will compel you to load your car.
Bright orange, ear-splittingly loud, 115K USD and completely worth it. That's what the SVR is. It's fast, fun, dripping with character, really comfortable, very capable, and for all of that, 115 grand is, well, reasonable. If you have a big family and things to carry around comfortably, and want something that's really fast, loud and fun, the SVR might just be the perfect car for you. That's the thing about the SVR. It's terrific. If you get an X6M, you don't get the space. If you get a Cayenne Coupe, then you don't the offroad capability. The SVR might not be the best in either fields, but it's close to the best in ALL fields.
I'm an SUV cynic, but I have to admit it, the SVR really put a big smile on my face. It really impressed me. Just spending a couple of minutes in it will do the same to you, too.