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2014 Range Rover Sport: Luxury and the beast (pictures)

The new Range Rover Sport proves that luxury can not only exist within, but take on the hard conditions of the great outdoors.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 10 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Land Rover introduced the newest generation of the Range Rover Sport at this year's New York auto show, knowing that it would be a popular seller in the U.S. The Sport sits in the middle of the Range Rover lineup, between the standard Range Rover and the Range Rover Evoque. The Range Rover Sport is characterized by excellent on- and off-road capability in a luxury SUV package.
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Although employing many of the same design cues as the Range Rover, the Sport model has a narrower, two-bar grille. It comes in a couple of inches less in height and almost 6 inches shorter than the Range Rover.
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Given its reputation, Land Rover had to make the Range Rover Sport a worthy off-road performer. Using an air suspension and smart traction systems, the Range Rover Sport tackles hills and terrains that only a very few production models can.
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The base Range Rover Sport uses its standard air suspension to improve its on-road handling, but options, such as torque vectoring across the rear wheels, improve that handling even further.
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Land Rover makes two engines available for the Range Rover Sport, a supercharged 3-liter V-6 and a supercharged 5-liter V-8. The smaller engine gets the heavy Range Rover Sport around adequately, but the V-8 is more satisfying.
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Each wheel has its own, individually controlled air suspension that can respond dynamically to different road and driving conditions.
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Land Rover rebuilt the Range Rover Sport's body and suspension, using aluminum to save weight. This cutaway shows exactly what that aluminum construction looks like.
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Given the pricing of the Range Rover Sport, Land Rover was smart not to skimp on cabin features. For example, there is no non-branded base audio system. Buyers can get the vehicle with one of three levels of Meridian audio, going up to a 23-speaker, 1,700-watt system.
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The spacious cabin has the sort of luxury appointments pioneered in SUVs by such older vehicles as the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. The Range Rover Sport is a long way from plain metal dashboards and toggle switches.
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The standard navigation system's interface is responsive. This screen also shows useful off-road information, such as differential lock status and axle articulation.

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