By Paula MacPherson
Driving the 2012 Range Rover Sport is a very pleasant experience. Despite this vehicle’s size, driving around town, even in heavy traffic, is a breeze. And, on the highway, this SUV feels like a passenger car. It’s smooth, very quiet and exceptionally stable. These virtues, combined with the excellent view ahead, thanks to the high seating position, make it all too easy to go faster than intended.
Speaking of that high seating position, I found getting in and out a real climb. The air suspension can be lowered to make this task a little easier for a shorter adult or child, but we never remembered to try this until I was actually inside.
The vehicle’s height also put a wrinkle in the new power tailgate. This is a real convenience, but the close button at the rear of the vehicle is on the bottom edge of the tailgate. When the tailgate is open, this button is quite high above the ground. Jim reached it with no problem but I had to jump to operate the close function it when the Sport was parked in our driveway. It didn’t take a big jump, but it did require more than just standing on my tiptoes.
Acceleration is lively, but all that smooth power comes at a price: fuel economy. The needle in our review Range Rover Sport dropped quickly, and the tank is big, at just over 23 gallons. In the end, we averaged 17 miles per gallon on the recommended premium fuel, but this required a light foot on the accelerator pedal and a refusal to tap into the tremendous acceleration potential of this vehicle. There could be cure, however. I understand European buyers have a diesel engine option that boosts highway fuel economy into the 30 mpg range. Maybe we’ll see that option here someday.