Whether cruising on H1 or off the beaten path, the new Range Rover Sport is the SUV to covet.

Covering every conceivable SUV luxury segment seems to be the latest range rover mission. On the smaller front, the new Discovery will be launched shortly and will replace the Land Rover LR-2. On the other end of the equation, the newly revised Range Rover Sport has already hit the market.

Like its bigger brother, the Range Rover, the smaller Sport has been on a major diet. With the addition of lots of aluminum in the chassis and body parts, its weight has dropped a collective 800 pounds. And with two supercharged powerplants to choose from, power is not issue. The base V-6 produces a stout 340 horsepower. Not enough you say? How about a 5-liter V-8 with 510 horsepower? The latter produces a 0-60 time in a mere five seconds.

As is with every Rover, all-wheel-drive is standard. And with both engines, the sole transmission is an eight-speed automatic. No matter what the terrain, the all-wheel-drive system automatically determines how much power should be delivered to each wheel. Or if you desire to control your power destiny, there are buttons on the center console to choose your mode—from sand to snow (when you are climbing to the top of Mauna Loa). The sophisticated electronic air suspension automatically switches between two ride heights when the off-road setting is selected.

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Interior choices are varying. Seating can be for five with an optional two seats available for the keiki for a total of seven. Multiple leather surfaces and colors are available. Three of the four models have full panoramic view roofs.

Every electronic assist is present and counted for. A large 8-inch screen dominates the center of the dash. The usual navigation, auto climate and stereo choices are present. But unlike many, the five exterior cameras show all sides of the vehicle when backing up, and the driver can pick one particular view, which can include seeing the turning of the front wheels.

For the parking-challenged, there is automatic parallel parking feature. Simply locate an open stall, press the button, and the vehicle will indicate it is ready, then let go of the steering wheel, and the SUV does the rest.

Driving starts with simply having the key on you, which automatically opens the door. Hop in and press the button, and you are off. And “off” is an under-statement since power is instant and will throw you back into the seat with a nice deep, thunderous resonance. In the normal mode, the eight-speed automatic shifts are seamless. But there are three other shifting modes with either the shift lever or paddles behind the wheel. When stopped at a light, the engine turns off to save fuel and automatically restarts when movement is called for. This somewhat distracting feature can be turned off.

As with other Rovers, this SUV towers many other cars and even over many other crossovers. Rear room is more than adequate, and there is plenty of storage between the rear seats. The lift gate is electronically powered for ease in loading and unloading.

Even with its huge tires and wheels, the ride is quite comfortable even on the roughest surfaces. And, of course, it is important to know that the wading depth, when crossing that local creek bed, is almost 3 feet!

Styling retains the rectangular look, but is nicely refined with the roof sloping slightly near the rear. And there is no mistaking the Sport for anything other than a Rover.

The bottom line on the Sport Range Rover: a powerful, multipurpose and eye-catching SUV starting at an attractive price. Another luxury crossover niche filled.

Range Rover Sport Supercharged

POWERTRAIN: FIVE-LITER V-8 WITH 510 HORSEPOWER ON THE SUPERCHARGED MODEL. EIGHT-SPEED AUTOMATIC. ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
PERFORMANCE: 0-60: 5.0 SECONDS. TOP SPEED 155 MPH STEREO: MERIDIAN SYSTEM WITH UP TO 19 SPEAKERS AND 825 WATTS OF POWER
PRICE: $79,100, AS TESTED $90,441

Photos courtesy Jaguar Land Rover Media Centre