Further to my previous posting (as shown below) due to a car collision with my Lexus car, I now have it back from the workshop and only this afternoon and believe me, I was more than happy to be with my car again! I had the Hybrid Range Rover (p400e autobiography) for over 2 weeks and drove it daily and I thought of giving it a honest review what I think of this Range Rover sport... Please see also attached a few more pics in this topic.
General overview of the Range Rover
Well first of all, Rental car Enterprise loaned me this vehicle, which was available as they had no other like for like vehicle. I was fairly excited when I was told that it was a Range Rover Sport Hybrid p400e Autobiography. So from looking at the exterior, it certainly looks apart, sporty look and quite aggressive headlight with an imposing front bonnet. The rear boot (automatic opening and closing) offers huge space inside. The doors are massive and heavy to open and it feels like stepping in an armoured tank and to step in (I am 5ft11) I have to jump up a little to get on to the driver seat. Anyone smaller will be struggling to get in without a form of a stepper (this car is not fitted with one). The interior is very spacious and quite sleek. However...
Interior the good and the not so good
The sport seats are wide but too hard to feel comfortable in long distances and I never felt like it was the right seat for me each time I was driving this car (Lexus seat is far more comfortable and glad that I could feel them again when I got the car back!). The car entry and locking mechanism is a keyless mode (similar to my Lexus) so pressing the button to turn the engine on with foot on the brake (happy with this).
However, I need to add this: if you want to lock it and press a finger on the external door handle, it works occasionally (so during the rainy weather, you can forget it, press the lock key on your car key would only work) if I compare with my Lexus, it simply works all the time regardless of the weather! Coming back with the interior of the Range Rover: I am not a great fan of the sat nav nor the second screen that control heating, car settings, radio etc. The touch screen did not work properly, sometimes, I would need to press twice and the touch screen buttons can be too much of a distraction if you are on the move. The most annoying thing is to find the right radio channel as you would need to hit accurately the down or up arrow to scroll down or you would simply end up selecting a radio station by mistake.
The sound system was very good and Cristal clear and it is very well insulated so that you can enjoy listening to music on the move. compartment space are plenty in this car, and even fitted with a fridge in the centre console, underneath the cup holder in the centre console, there is another huge compartment, where you could put a large bottle of water (impressed with this bit, as it feels like a secret hiding place).
My wife who found the car beautiful on the outside actually hated getting inside (she is only 5ft4) she simply struggled, I had to help her carry her inside the car and once inside her arm was too small to close her door (so I would have to step around and close the door - not cool in my opinion). At one point, we had serious laugh about this and cried laughing. The kids in the back had plenty of space and were loving to be driving 'higher'.
The steering wheel really looks great and as much as like the digital buttons on the left and right side of the steering wheel, I found them to be a bit looking cheap and the button (especially up and down) did not work well.
The car is fitted with a panoramic sunroof, which looks really good. There are buttons to open the roof cover and roof and there is a sensor that supposedly can understood your gesture by waving your hand backward to open the sunroof or waving your hand forward to close the sunroof - unfortunately, this feature did not work well and quite frankly it would simply annoy me if I had purchased this car that is worth around £93k!! This is the downside of this car, is that there are a few things that do not work well enough.
Driving a Range Rover Sport
At first, it felt like I am driving a truck or transit van, that is how high it is. The view is actually very good to an extent as you can see way ahead of the traffic and you can change lane quicker to avoid any gridlocks for example.
The other thing that I noticed, is that it did make me feel like I was a king driving this car - I was literally looking down at the other drivers and a few looked a bit intimidated (not sure if it is what they felt but when you see a driver looking up to you is the feeling or impression you feel from the driver seat. Some were looking at the car, like giving a full respect but some were giving it a bad look (probably because it is mongerous).
The drive was ok (not great I am afraid). My Lexus does it so much better and I was super happy to have it back driving home this evening as I could feel how smooth a Lexus is on the road compared to the Range Rover - pressing the accelerator can feel a little bit abrupt (only at the start from stopping position) and I had the car on the Comfort mode most of the time, but it did not feel comfortable drive unfortunately. I could feel the bumps and it did not feel like a soft suspension for my liking. In sport mode, the digital display on the dashboard changes showing rev counters with red light inside the whole interior and the suspensions are stiffen further including the steering wheel. It felt quite sporty but it does not hide the fact that this vehicle is too heavy to be a sport car especially round the corners, you really feel its weight.
The engine and PHEV
The engine is a 2.0L petrol giving 296 bhp plus 114 bhp with the electric engine (sadly I was not able to make full use of it as Enterprise rental car did not have the charging cable when I took this car!!) So I was driving pure petrol engine all the time for over 2 weeks (and it is a bit juicy I was doing around 15 miles per gallon - not an impressive figure but I admit with the electric the range drastically improve and it lowers the consumption much more). This is when I can say how much I love my Lexus with its brilliant Hybrid system. If only Range Rover had this similar hybrid, I think it would be a better car.
The fact that I would have to charge it to make full use of PHEV is a turn off to me - if you want to be environmental unfriendly, you could and drive at all times in all fossil fuel mode in town. This is missing the trick in my view. The manufacturer would rely on the driver to be using the PHEV charging the battery every so often to be a more environmental friendly vehicle. That is, of course my opinion. If it were me, pure electric or Hybrid technology from Toyota or Hydrogen technology. I do not think PHEV is making this a breakthrough as I have read stories that it is tax incentive for businesses to get one, but in reality they do not bother charging the battery so not so PHEV really...
I know that there are totally different cars and not really comparable but it was nevertheless interesting to know that when (and if) you get to drive another car other than Lexus, you are very likely to appreciate your car more for what it does so well. I was glad to get my Lexus back today and it was all back to great driving feel, comfortable seats and at the right hight feeling more connected with the road (at last), hybrid technology giving me a decent range (33mpg in town) and with every function working properly!!