First Drive

First Drive: Range Rover Sport D350

The story:
Land Rover has replaced the V6 and V8 diesels in its Range Rover Sport with new mild hybrid six-cylinder units to cut emissions
Category:Large SUV
Key rival:Mercedes GLS
On sale:Now

Land Rover has updated the diesel engine offering in the Range Rover Sport, replacing the previous V6 and V8 diesels with a new in-line six-cylinder unit that also features mild-hybrid tech.

Emissions are still pretty high, at a shade under 250g/km, and the official fuel economy doesn’t quite break 30mpg for the more powerful of the two new engines, which offers a hefty 350hp. There’s also a more efficient 300hp version that’s available in a wider variety of trim levels than the 350hp version driven here that comes only in the HST trim level.

First Drive - April 2021 - Range Rover Sport D350 - Image 4This fully loaded specification puts the 350hp diesel out of the range of most buyers, even those looking at the Range Rover Sport, because it has a P11D that’s a staggering figure of almost £85,000, where entry to the Range Rover Sport is
at the £63,000 mark. It’s a great engine that deserves a wider audience – equally very refined and powerful.

And that price tag, for what is a sumptuously equipped car, only adds to the impression that you really need to want a diesel to go for it. For pretty much the same money, the Range Rover Sport PHEV in Autobiography Dynamic trim sits in the 19% BiK tax band rather than the diesel’s 37%, and offers an official EV-only range of 25 miles, meaning shorter journeys will be free of petrol use. The combined PHEV powertrain also adds 54hp over the diesel, making it the logical choice in 2021 for any Range Rover Sport driver with a driveway, so they can fit a charge point and recharge the PHEV. The diesel is a lovely thing in isolation, but the numbers alone make it look hard to justify.

paul barker

The verdict

New diesel is excellent for refinement and pace, but it’s questionable why any driver, let alone a business driver, wouldn’t go for the PHEV.