- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2008

If you’re serious about off-roading and want a surefooted Sport Utility Vehicle, then take a look at the 2008 Range Rover Sport.

This Land Rover is not an ordinary four-wheel drive SUV. It has an exceptional suspension system that ensures flat cornering, tight body control, and sharp steering response. Yet the ride on paved surfaces is similar to that of a quality sedan. The fact is this Sport is a quality vehicle from bumper to bumper.

Powering the Range Rover Sport is a 32-valve, dual overhead cam 4.4-liter V-8. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Sport delivers 300 horsepower and 315 pounds-feet of torque.

I enjoyed the dial in the center console area that allowed me to select the type of road I was driving and with a simple twist of the dial, the Sport was ready to give me its best performance for that road surface. If I were going down a steep embankment or climbing a treacherous hill, I simply turned the dial to the appropriate setting and I was ready to go. Other terrain selections include grass, gravel or snow, or mud ruts, sand and rock crawl.

I took the Range Rover Sport on a rough trail, and as well, utilized a few of the other terrain selections. I’ve been on a number of rough off-road areas but never drove an SUV with such surefooted handling. This is not only a great out-door vehicle, it’s also capable taking me anywhere I wanted in luxurious style.

Land Rover explains their Sport edition performance engine this way: “It’s a marvel of advanced technology.” Constructed from lightweight materials the engine is fitted with Variable Camshaft Phasing, which can advance or retard the intake valve timing in less that 0.7 seconds. By continuously varying the instant when these valves open and close, this innovative design helps boost mid-range torque and reduce exhaust emissions.

The Range Rover Sport is a five-passenger, two-row SUV with eight-way power-adjustable seats for both the driver and front passenger. It has leather-wrapped power steering wheel with multi-function controls including cruise control. Throughout the Sport there are exceptional luxurious comforts and conveniences. For example: leather seating; variable-speed rain-sensing windshield wipers; dual-zone, independent climate control with pollen filter; footwell lights and puddle lights; color, touch-screen, DVD-based GPS navigation system, plus a driver information center.

The list of luxury comforts and convenience features on the Sport HSE model comes with the base price of $58,225. A few desirable options on my tester brought the price tag to $62,400.

A big expense will be fuel. The EPA mileage rating is 12 city and 18 highway.

Beyond its surface luxury, there is so much more to this SUV that puts it at the head of the class. It’s equipped to enable me to avoid the unanticipated with an army of electronic aids that were ever ready to keep me out of harm’s way. The 2008 Range Rover Sport is equipped with four-channel all-terrain anti-lock braking system for surefooted braking in rain, snow or mud.

The Range Rover Sport has side-curtain airbags for outboard seating positions; Boron steel reinforcements in the A- and B-pillars; driver and dual-threshold front-passenger airbags and front-seat side thorax airbags. It also has impact beams in the front and rear doors.

If you’re in the market for an SUV, try out the Range Rover Sport. That way you’ll have a better idea of what a real off-road, luxury automobile should be.

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