2016 Range Rover Sport HST road test and review.
I was given the keys to my first Range Rover with the limited edition 2016 Range Rover Sport HST. Powered by Jaguar’s high output supercharged 3.0L V6 and with a bespoke body kit, the HST sits at around mid range between the smaller V6 and the V8 engines.
Although responsive, thanks to the electronic throttle, there’s the small matter of moving a minimum of 2.5 tonnes, hence the reason there’s a 105L fuel tank on board!
It’s easy to understand why it likes a sip or three because it’s an immensely tractable and user friendly engine, with the spread of torque being shared to all four paws via the eight-speed auto and computer controlled drive system.
The Range Rover simply begs to be driven in anger, if only to hear the snarl from both the280kW and 450Nm powerplant and exhaust.
Yes, there’s a lot of metal to move, which is a major contributor to the consumption, but if driven gently you’ll miss out on the essence of the thing.
The transmission is smoother than polished ice, with only the rise and fall of the needle on the dash’s LCD screen giving you a sign it’s changed ratios.
The on-board drive system offers a range of terrain modes like Mud, Snow, Gravel, and works with the torque distribution, traction control and transmission to adapt instantly to the surface being driven on.
What you don’t get in the Range Rover Sport HST, however, is high/low range style transmission.
When Dynamic mode is chosen, the LCD screen changes the dial surrounds to an angry red.
Taken onto a well graded dirt road, the big HST was fairly surefooted, with only the occasional skittish behaviour exhibited.
The suspension is airbag fitted, allowing the driver to raise or lower the body, depending on speed and terrain. If raised to maximum height and then pedaled to around 30km/h, the HST automatically lowers itself.
It’s speed sensitive too, so once you’ve raised it to maximum height and hit 30km/h or so, it’ll automatically lower the car again.
There’s also a feature called Auto Access Height, which brings the car lower down to allow humans to get in just that little easier.
The steering, however, is light, lacking weight and a sense of presence though it is adept and has an uncanny ability to tuck the nose in tightly coming into low speed ninety degree bends.
On tarmac, it’ll change direction quickly enough but there’s no mistaking it for a convertible, not with that mass.
The HST needs a powerful brake system to haul it in at speed. There’s an instant connection between pressing the pedal and feeling the pads grip the discs and is far from being grabby.
Being a Range Rover, the driver and passenger are swaddled in luxury; from the proper leather bound electric seats, with heating and cooling, glass roof with retractable sunshade, digital radio and a digital TV system for the front passenger (with headphones).
Although the touch screen is cluttered, it’s still relatively intuitive to use once some practice has been done. It’s a nifty piece of tech, the TV system, blocking the driver from seeing the screen when under way, showing them just the radio or sat-nav instead.
The HST also came with a Head Up Display and, to be honest, it didn’t seem as easy on the eye as that found in a certain Australian built lion branded vehicle.
Under the skin lies Park Assist, visual aids for the system, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control plus Wade Sensing should you take it swimming.
One interesting addendum is the ‘InControl Remote’ app. Using a smartphone drivers will be able to interface with their Range Rover by checking fuel level, monitoring window and door lock status, and pre-setting cabin temperature.
Some of the plastics seemed a bit hard to the touch and the cabin somewhat dated in overall look.
There are some odd ergonomics, such as placing the window switches into the very top of the door trim, right next to the window yet the actual door handle is not in a natural location.
A proper cool box is fitted in the console, with a real chill when switched on and it’s big enough for a couple of cans or 600mL bottles.
Of course one gets a power tailgate leading into the LED lit cargo area.
I wanted to fall in love with the 2016 Range Rover Sport HST but didn’t. Although a luxury off road capable SUV, failed to engage on an emotional level and left me removed and isolated.
A comfortable office, the luxury feel needed more but the car has brawn and the undoubted Range Rover ability. The muted roar of the exhaust and the mid range punch on road are both enticing and sensual.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Range Rover Sport HST
Engine: 3.0L V6 petrol producing 280kW and 450Nm
Transmission: Sports automatic
Warranty: 3 Year/100,000km
Safety: Not tested
Origin: United Kingdom
Price: From $149,895