In-depth reviews

Range Rover Sport PHEV review

The Range Rover Sport PHEV has many of the strengths of the larger Range Rover PHEV, but is a fair bit cheaper to buy, if a little less practical

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • 25-mile electric range
  • Works well in town
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Not as economical as some rivals
  • Batteries reduce practicality
  • No seven-seat version
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid25 miles75-88mpg75-83g/km

The Range Rover Sport P400e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is a luxury seven-seater SUV that combines practicality, technology and surprisingly low running costs. It uses similar technology to the larger Range Rover PHEV, although the Sport is a bit more affordable – in relative terms at least; it’s still a high-end luxury car.

There are a few rivals to consider as well, including the BMW X5 xDrive45e, Lexus RX and Volvo XC90 T8, and all use a similar formula: there’s a petrol engine, a small electric motor and a battery pack, plus a charging socket to recharge that battery when you’re parked up. The Range Rover Sport P400e’s all-electric range is a below-average 25 miles, but if you plug in regularly you could see fuel economy of over 70mpg.

If you’re a company-car user, the low CO2 emissions are an attractive selling point, since the current rules for Benefit-in-Kind tax mean it’s much cheaper than the non-hybrid versions to tax. Yet the hybrid powertrain isn’t just a tax dodge, as it enhances the luxury aspect of the Range rover Sport by adding in near-silent running around town, plus fewer trips to the fuel station if you plug in regularly.

If you tend to do long trips, the PHEV model might not be the right choice, as you can expect less than 30mpg from the 2.0-litre petrol engine. This is because it’s a small engine pulling a big and heavy car, plus a battery pack that’s not doing anything. It’s best to think about what your plans for the car are before you buy, but if you’re looking for a plug-in SUV you probably already know that.

It takes seven-and-a-half hours to charge the battery completely using a domestic electricity supply, but most owners will use a home wallbox to cut that down significantly. You can also use a public rapid charger, which will take under three hours – as long as you buy the optional Type 2 charging cable.

When the 114bhp electric motor and 297bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine work together, the car will accelerate from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds, which is remarkably quick for such a big, heavy SUV. The Range Rover Sport is good to drive, thanks to its punchy performance and surprisingly good handling, but a Porsche Cayenne is more fun.

On top of that, the Sport is also very adept away from tarmac. In fact, the instant torque and keen responses of its electric motors are a distinct help when you’re trying to negotiate tricky obstacles at low speeds when off-road.

It’s true that the PHEV looks a little more expensive than some of its most direct rivals, but it does come very well equipped. So well equipped, in fact, that there’s no real need to buy anything more expensive than the 'basic' HSE Silver version, which comes with LED headlamps, automatic lights and wipers, 21-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and sat nav.

Beyond that, should you fancy it, HSE Dynamic trim gives you different alloy wheels and plusher seats with heating front and rear. There’s also HSE Dynamic Black, with an appropriately dark theme to the added trim. On top of that, the range-topping Autobiography adds a sliding panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled seats and three-zone climate control.

Whichever trim you go for, the Range Rover Sport PHEV has a wonderfully plush interior. This was much improved by a 2018 facelift, when Land Rover introduced a new twin-screen infotainment system inspired by the unit in the smaller Range Rover Velar. True, it’s not the easiest system to use, but give it time and you can master it.

What you'll certainly appreciate is that there’s room for four – and five at a pinch – in luxurious comfort inside, so this makes a fine family car. However, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. For a start, the PHEV's boot is smaller than the regular Sport's, and there’s no seven-seat option. In both cases, that’s because the batteries have to be housed under the boot floor, which is higher as a result.

The plug-in Range Rover Sport has a fine balance of abilities on and off-road, as well as all the class and quality you'd expect of a Range Rover. Throw in the good standard equipment, spacious interior, strong safety credentials and improving reliability, and this is a car that’s certainly worth a look if you want a premium hybrid SUV. For a more detailed look at the Range Rover Sport PHEV, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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