If you’re struggling to choose between a sports car or an SUV as your next vehicle, the fortunate news is that there are some SUVs that effectively succeed in being both. One of the good ones is the 2023 Land Rover Sport.
While the term “Athletics” is frequently used to describe several models that are not genuinely athletic, the Land Rover Sport is the exception. It stays true to its name by delivering the best of both worlds as a genuinely athletic SUV that can effortlessly outperform some sports cars.
Since its inception some 20 years ago, the Land Rover Sport has been the smaller, more entertaining version of the larger Land Rover. Initially the Land Rover Sport was also positioned as the more economical alternative to the larger Land Rover, but now it’s targeted more towards buyers who appreciate the Land Rover, but also desire to have a bit more fun behind the wheel
Most buyers will probably have a tough time distinguishing between the two if they don’t see them side by side. At the front, the Land Rover Sport’s face has svelte headlights that resemble the Velar, rather than the more angular headlights on the larger version. The overall appearance is sleek without too many lines and striking shapes that make it look far more classic and less divisive than some of its competitors.. we’re looking at you BMW. The retractable door handles maintain the sleek look when you’re on the move.
At the rear, is where you’ll genuinely be able to distinguish the difference between the two, as the Sport gets horizontal taillights instead of the slim vertical headlights on the Land Rover. Clean, upscale and classic are words that we’d easily use to describe either version.
Inside, the interior provides a top-notch experience. Upon settling in the driver’s seat, your body is embraced by the soft leather and comfortable seats. The overall layout has a minimalist appearance with high-quality materials. There aren’t a lot of complicated buttons and the digital gauge cluster has a clean, yet modern appearance.
In the center of the dashboard, there’s the large Pivi Pro infotainment system, which you use to adjust many of the Sport’s functions and it also has features like Apple CarPlay. The system is fairly user-friendly, but occasionally it was a bit glitchy and didn’t want to connect to Apple CarPlay. Using the built-in system for options like satellite radio could be a bit quicker.
What we really appreciate about the Land Rover Sport is how it drives. You can opt for a mild-hybrid turbocharged straight-six that produces 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque or 355 hp in the base version. For buyers who want more, there’s the BMW sourced V8 of the P530 version that produces 523 horsepower.
Land Rover delivered the Land Rover Sport First Edition for us to put to the test, which means that it was powered by the 4.4-liter V8 with 553 lb-ft. of torque. The engine packs a nice punch to make the Sport a thrill to drive around town. The V8 has an excellent sound and is extremely smooth.
In case you’re curious, Land Rover is gearing up to enter the entirely electric arena with an electric Land Rover. In the meantime, there is the Land Rover Sport plug-in hybrid with 434 hp. The Land Rover Sport PHEV has a 51 mile EV range.
The ride quality is outstanding and although the steering is a bit light, it’s also very precise. Even with massive 23-inch wheels, the ride was never harsh.
The pricing for the 2023 Land Rover Sport starts at $84,475.
Ultimately, the 2023 Land Rover Sport is the no-compromise SUV if you desire a sports car, but also require space for the family. Its sophisticated styling makes it distinctive, while its powertrain and driving dynamics are difficult to surpass. The cherry on the cake is the luxurious interior that doesn’t sacrifice any luxury to fulfill the objectives of the more athletic Land Rover.