Long-Term Report 4: 2016 Range Rover Sport SVR
All Good Things Must End
First, let’s address the big, blue elephant in the room. With only 223 miles logged for this review, what follows is really more an overview of our total time with the ’16 Range Rover Sport SVR.
Our strongest takeaway from our time in the SVR is admittedly the liquid manner in which the 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque are delivered. Just depress the throttle and the vehicle squirts forward with linear precision. But it’s actually more than that: The transmission, engine calibration, and chassis tuning are as close to perfect as we’ve ever found in an SUV. Whether carving corners at adrenaline-overload speeds on the track, ripping up and over a sand dune, or blasting down a desert wash, every terrain submits to the SVR’s will. It’s one thing to make a luxury vehicle; it’s quite another to actually invest in the time, expense, and effort to make driving it a rewarding experience. And that’s what JLR has done with the Range Rover Sport in general—and the SVR, in particular.
Fuel economy on the highway was acceptable, especially for a supercharged 5.0L V-8 in an all-wheel-drive chassis. As for looks, the body lines are clean and sinister, but form follows function in this case. The grilles, bulges, scoops, vents, and spoilers all work together to increase downforce at higher speeds, aid in cooling, and permit the SVR to slide through the air with nary a whistle. The Commandshift eight-speed transmission can be toggled by paddle shifters or by manually selecting a gear via the gearshift. We used the paddle shifters quite a lot for engine compression braking into corners or when descending steep hills, but otherwise we mostly left the transmission shifter in Drive and let the computer do the thinking for us.
Off-road, the SVR’s Terrain Response 2 system can be dialed in for myriad terrains, including Rock Crawl; Grass, Gravel, and Snow; Mud and Ruts; or Sand. There’s also the on-road Dynamic setting, which opens the exhaust baffles, tightens up the suspension and throttle response, and changes the transmission shift points. The Rock Crawl mode presents the most noticeable features in the SVR’s off-road arsenal, engaging the rear locker, diminishing throttle control to omit jerky engine revving over harsh terrain, and allowing the SVR to hold First gear longer in low range. You’d think the body would be the limiting factor in hardcore off-road usage, but the SVR actually offers 30 degrees of approach and 27.3 inches of departure angle, with a full 10.9 inches of ground clearance with the suspension lifted into Off-Road height and 20 inches of wheel articulation. In truth, it’s the low-profile Michelin tires that are the real Achilles’ heel for the SVR.
We really enjoyed our time in the SVR. In a room full of shouty, 500-plus-horsepower luxury SUVs that parade about the room with lampshades on their heads, the Range Rover SVR is the quiet one in the corner secretively guarding its intense off-road capability with a stoic British sophistication. In terms of performance, the SVR is James Bond to the others’ Austin Powers.
Report: 4 of 4Previous reports: March/April 2018, May/June 2018
Base price: $111,350
Price as tested: $128,332
Miles to date: 19,667
Miles since last report: 223
Average mpg (this report): 13.21
Test best tank (mpg): 17.79
Test worst tank (mpg): 12.21
This period: Passenger front door panel loud rattling
Test Problem Areas
This Period: Rattles and buzzes from moonroof sunshade, passenger door panel, and dash
“If the stereo is off, you really notice all the squeaks and rattles.”
“Driver seat is wearing exceptionally well.”
“This air suspension is awesomely fast.”