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Until Land Rover engineers do something clever with hybrids (which is at least a couple of years off) a Range Rover Sport is not going to feature in great numbers in a traditional fleet market.
However, Land Rover expects a large proportion of buyers of the new Range Rover Sport to be successful, self-made, business people, making the purchase at least partly business. And thanks to clever engineering, the car, at least in diesel form, is competitive for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. However, there's no getting away from a 35% benefit-in-kind banding, even if the VED is 'only' band J.
As with its big brother, the Range Rover, the new Sport is significantly lighter than the previous generation thanks to an aluminium structure that helps save 420kg. That weight saving means the SDV6 model, expected to be the biggest seller, is capable of 37.7mpg.
The basic underpinnings are, in fact, shared with the full-size Range Rover, although Land Rover engineers also claim more than half of the total number of parts are different. This also means that the new Sport can go almost as far off-road as the Range Rover. And that's further than most owners will ever consider.
Where the new model differs is in appearance, interior packaging and the driving experience. Overall, it is nearly 15cm shorter than the Range Rover, with most of this coming out of the boot space. However, despite a marginally smaller luggage area, the Sport has optional fold-out seats in the boot, making the car a seven-seater. At £1500 it could be an option worth ticking as they don't take up any boot space and are great for occasional use.
While the exterior is now styled as a cross between a Range Rover and an Evoque, which is a welcome turn away from the previous brash look, it's the interior that amazes. The quality of the materials and the styling shows a real understanding of luxury, and equipment levels are good as standard, unlike some rival cars.
On the road, the car lacks some steering feel if you're into spirited cornering, but aside from this, the Sport will impress with first-rate ride comfort and body roll. Refinement levels are class-leading too, which means minimal tyre and wind noise on a motorway cruise.
What the diesel lacks, however, is an outright sporty feel to the performance. It's nearly hot-hatch quick, which is good, although, it could be worth waiting for the 4.4-litre V8 diesel version coming in January 2014 if this is a concern.
Either way, the new Range Rover Sport looks good value in its class and is also amazingly appealing, which has got to put it at the top of the sector.
Range Rover Sport 3.0 SDV6 HSE
Model price range
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space min/max
If the managing director wants one, he's in for a treat.