An outsider’s impression of the Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST

SUVs are the latest trend but that is nothing new to Range Rover. The first Range Rover was introduced in 1970 and the brand has been making premium SUVs for decades so the idea of a luxury SUV is nothing new. Of course, luxury in 1970 and luxury in 2020 are totally different. For 2020, Range Rover sells tons of different variations starting as llow as $37,800 all the way north of $200,000.

We decided to drive the new 2020 Range Rover Sport HST. The HST has black wheels and a black roof and looks to be the sporty alternative to your regular Range Rover. The exterior is perfectly proportioned and looks very aggressive and luxurious at the same time. It still retains the boxy styling with large windows which is great because that translates into more room inside and better visibility.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST Impressions

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST - Driven Exterior
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The exterior styling is gorgeous but nothing will prepare you for when you sit on the driver’s seat.

The designers at Range Rover have spent a lot of time adding a menu full of luxurious interior touches that will wow you. Behind the steering wheel, a 12-inch high-resolution screen resides, which can be configured to your preferences. You can choose dual dial, single dial and extended mode displays among many other choices.

Other frequently used features, including phone, navigation and media settings, can also be managed using this cluster. In addition, a Head-Up Display system puts vital information in the driver’s line of sight on the windshield, such as vehicle speed and navigation directions, but also adaptive cruise control settings. The full-color image is generated using four super-bright LEDs and a high-resolution TFT LCD screen. The image is sharper than on previous HUDs and Range Rover claims that it is up to 66 percent brighter and more than twice the size of some other systems. This allows customers to adjust the layout, height, and brightness of the display.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST - Driven Interior
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The steering wheel controls feature intuitive capacitive switches and dynamic illuminated icons.

They make fiddling with the vehicle’s features from behind the wheel simpler. In most cars, the steering wheel switches do certain jobs or they use arrows as markings to direct you. Range Rover’s dynamic system is very cool since the labels change depending on what the buttons do.

In the center console, there are no traditional buttons. As soon as the ignition is turned on, two 10-inch screens come to life revealing all of the controls.

The dash looks very clean and modern because of the lack of buttons.

Once the two screens come to life, you will find that unlike in some cars, the system works very well with minimal delay when you are accessing various screens. There is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep phones connected and a Wi-Fi hot spot capable of supporting up to eight devices is also available.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST - Driven Interior
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Passengers of the Range Rover Sport also benefit from convenience technologies, including an optional 10-inch rear-seat touchscreen entertainment system and up to 14 connection points integrated cleanly throughout the cabin. Connections in the front row include USB, HDMI, and 12V ports in the front center console and a 12V socket in the glove box. In the second row, there is a 12V port, 110-volt plug, USB and HDMI ports, while the load space also provides a 12V port and a second 110-volt plug socket to keep laptops and other devices charged.

Range Rover is about capability and the engineers have an extremely difficult job. Range Rovers have always been some of the most capable off-road machines but most buyers will never get their vehicles dirty and they expect a smooth ride and good handling. Building all of that in one machine is a huge feat.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST - Driven Exterior
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Comprising of a fully-independent lightweight wide-spaced double wishbone in the front front and an advanced multi-link rear design, the suspension layout comes to complement the aluminum construction of the vehicle.

The four-wheel-drive capability of the Range Rover Sport is managed by a transfer case design that has an actuator rather than a separate motor and ECU. This results in a 3.3-pound reduction in weight - control is done via a multi-plate clutch. Together with the bevel gear center differential, it provides a 50:50 torque split.

By gathering wheel slip information from a range of sensors, the clutch is designed to distribute torque evenly between all four wheels, while a ‘shift-on-the-move’ system allows selectable high and low gears up to 37 mph. There is an active rear locking differential which can assist in cornering stability and traction as well.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST - Driven Exterior
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All Range Rover Sport models come as standard with four-corner air suspension. When cruising at speeds of 65 mph or above, the suspension can lower the vehicle by 15 mm to reduce drag. Access Height lowers the vehicle by as much as 50 mm to aid ingress and egress. This feature can also lock the suspension at this low level, enabling the Range Rover Sport to travel at speeds of up to 25 mph in locations with restricted height, such as multi-story parking structures.

Conversely, the ride height can be increased to cater to demanding off-road scenarios.

Off-road height 1 lifts the vehicle by as much as 35 mm at speeds of up to 50 mph and is ideal for driving on less demanding off-road conditions, such as deeply rutted dirt roads.

For more extreme conditions or wading through water, off-road height 2 takes the car up to 65 mm above its usual height at speeds of up to 31 mph. The system can also aid in towing situations where the rear can be lifted by as much as 90 mm to keep the vehicle level.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST - Driven Exterior
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When off-roading, everything can be managed via a series of Terrain Response 2 programs.

Using the knob in the center console, you can choose a Comfort mode which calibrates the suspension settings to optimize ride comfort, while the Dynamic setting is designed to give the driver a sportier ride. You can also select from gravel, mud, sand and rock settings. There is also a unique Low Traction Launch System, which helps to exploit available traction when pulling away on low-traction surfaces.

There is so much more technology in the Range Rover Sport that we don’t have room to cover everything. Most drivers don’t need to concern themselves with these things. What they will find is that the Range Rover is a sweet SUV with an exceptional ride that makes bad roads seem smooth. The cabin is also quiet and super comfortable.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST - Driven Drivetrain
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Under the hood of our HST model resides a mild-hybrid turbocharged 3.0 liter inline-six that is good for 395 hp. There are a lot of engine choices in the lineup from a 254-horsepower V-6 diesel to a 575-horsepower supercharged V-8 but 395 hp is more than enough to keep you excited. The engine is smooth and powerful while attaining good fuel economy.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HST specifications
Engine I6
Induction Turbocharged with Electric Boost
Displacement 2,996.1
Bore / Stroke (mm) 83.0 x 92.3
Compression Ratio (:1) 10.5
Horsepower 395 @ 5,500-6,500rpm
Torque 406 @ 2,000-5,000rpm
Transmission ZF® 8-Speed Automatic
0 to 60 mph 5.9 seconds
Top Speed (mph) 140 mph
Putting an HST in your garage will require that you write a check for $82,950.

We would probably elect for the SE Td6 model with the diesel engine for $69,500 which has less luxury and power but is much cheaper and gets better fuel economy.
The HST is gorgeous though and the long list of luxury features is addicting. It makes most other cars seem so inferior and $82,950 is actually a very reasonable price for so much technology and capability.

Ali Arsham
About the author

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