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2016 Range Rover Sport SVR: Long-Term Report 3 of 4

Packing it in and Hauling All-Out

Christian Hazel
Feb 14, 2018
Photographers: Christian Hazel
Let’s face it: If you spend more than 100 grand on a hot, 550hp vehicle that’s an SUV, you’re buying an SUV for a reason. What do you do with an SUV? You haul lots of people and lots of junk. So for this test installment, that’s just what we focused on: how the “utility” sport utility vehicle works.
For starters, our SVR test model is equipped with Land Rover’s collapsible cargo carrier as part of the $537 RR Sport protection package. It’s a nice, collapsible, soft-sided tray that you can keep smalls in without them rolling all around the cargo area, and it lifts out or folds flat quickly and easily. The cargo area is fairly generous, to the detriment of the rear-passenger legroom.
On the rear seats, the seatbacks do recline to some degree, which makes longer trips more comfortable for adults. But the race-inspired rear buckets with deep side bolsters don’t allow the rear seatbacks to fold forward for a completely flat cargo area. With the side and rear bolsters interfering with each other, the resulting steeply angled rear cargo floor is awkward to load suitcases, coolers, and bulky items on top of because they just want to slide backward toward the tailgate. Another small SVR-only annoyance is trying to access the rear trailer hitch. To access the receiver hitch for towing or using bike racks, you’ve got to remove a small plastic trim piece that’s easily lost or damaged. Our local Land Rover dealership actually broke one of the clips off of our test unit when we asked them to remove it for us during an oil change. D’oh. Guess we should have done it ourselves.
Photo 2/4   |   There’s a good deal of cargo room inside the Range Rover Sport, and the SVR package does little to mitigate the amount of stuff you can haul.
As for other breakages and gripes while loaded, we had a couple issues when running the SVR with a lot of weight inside—one particular load we guesstimate at around 750 pounds of gear we were moving from SoCal to Phoenix during the hot summer. Despite ambient temperatures of 125 degrees F outside, the engine ran cool and the A/C worked quite well, but the load made the vehicle feel somewhat sluggish and heavy. And on the return trip with the same weight, we experienced a strange issue after climbing the mountain to this author’s home. With the ambient temperature hovering around 100 degrees, the author stopped at his mailbox 100 yards from his home, and put the vehicle in Park. After returning to the vehicle, the transmission would not shift into any gear. The dash displayed “Gearbox Fault,” so the author walked home and prepared to call a tow truck. However, after sitting for about 25 minutes, the vehicle went into gear and the issue has not resurfaced. We’re guessing the heavy load and hot ambient temperature perhaps had the transmission fluid temp a bit higher than what the SVR computer liked to see.
Otherwise, we’re still enjoying our remaining time with the SVR. As always, it turns heads at the fuel pump, it’s quiet and comfortable to drive, and it’s an absolute pavement magnet. With the wide, chunky tires, exceptionally well-tuned suspension, and razor-sharp steering, we think the road will move under us before we ever get the tires to slip their grip. It’s a phenomenal driving experience.
Photo 3/4   |   The chunky side and rear bolsters of the track-inspired SVR package interfere with each other and don’t allow the seatbacks to fold completely flat for cargo carrying. Also, if you have the front seats slid rearward for legroom, the headrests of the rear seats will hit the seatbacks and prevent them from folding upward.
Photo 4/4   |   We encountered this “Gearbox Fault” after climbing the mountain to our home on a 100-degree day and parking with the engine running to empty the mailbox. Upon reentering the vehicle, the transmission refused to go into any gear, with or without the engine running.

Report: 3 of 4

Previous reports: March/April 2018
Base price: $111,350
Price as tested: $128,332
Long-Term Numbers
Miles to date: 19,424
Miles since last report: 5,322
Average mpg (this report): 12.42
Test best tank (mpg): 17.79 (highway between 70-75 mph)
Test worst tank (mpg): 12.21 (in town and off-road mixed)
Maintenance
This period: Passenger-door body cladding falling off again; oil change.
Problem areas: Gearbox fault code; fuel filler still causes vapor recovery-equipped nozzles to continually shut off making fuel stops a frustration.
Logbook Quotes
“Why don’t the rear seats fold flat? That’s just dumb.”
“The tires look fat—like skateboard wheels.”
“Even the wipers are well-tuned. They’re not thought-controlled, are they?”

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