Offering performance on a par with a 4.4 SDV8 Range Rover Sport, but with 11.6 more mpg and 26 per cent lower CO₂ emissions (saving £285 a year on VED, as well as other tax benefits), the Hybrid is the Sport with a conscience. But how does it fare out of the city?
● Engine: 3.0 TDV6 + 35kW electric
● Power/torque: 335bhp/516lb ft
● Transmission: Eight-speed auto
● Speed: 130mph/0-60mph: 6.4sec
● Factory combined mpg: 44.1
● LRO RWT mpg: 30.6
● Price as tested: £91,300
380 MILES TO GET THE FULL LOWDOWN...
Will the Hybrid’s numbers add up?
£83k before extras is the same as the torquier SDV8 or faster 5.0 supercharged petrol; only £6400 more than the similarly frugal but slower SDV6. I can see the appeal.
Is it really a match for the SDV8’s grunt?
There’s a cracking hill climb out of Oughtershaw on our route, with blind brows, twists and turns that feel like they’re lifted from a tarmac rally stage. The Hybrid set-up monsters the section. Yes, there’s more than enough shove.
What about the ride and handling?
The Sport’s well-controlled air suspension gives a firm but silky ride, matched to surefooted cornering and rewarding steering. The only downside is the lack of a twin-channel Active Roll Control option on the Hybrid – because it needs the engine running all the time to work. As a result, it isn’t quite as dynamically sharp on-road as others in the range.
Where does electric power kick in?
With a power meter instead of a rev counter (unless in Dynamic mode) showing the Hybrid charge available, you drive everywhere trying to regenerate the system as much as possible – touching the brake pedal gently when going downhill. I got a bit obsessed by it! Depending on other demands from the electrical system (lights, TV, aircon...), it’ll usually go into electric mode when off the gas, or at low speeds – but not for far, or for very long.
How does it handle greenlanes?
The aluminium-bodied Sport feels supremely solid, and even at standard height it paws its way over the snow-covered, rocky greenlanes like a bear. With shallow pools of icy water along the Stalling Busk lane, I give Wade Sensing a try-out. It works well, up to 6mph, which is only really like dipping your toe in...
What's the point?
LRO’s Real World Test gives an independent, ‘real world’ fuel economy figure based on a varied and enjoyable 380-mile route, rather than sitting on a dyno.
It’s a big drive to do in one day, so we get up early and start by brimming the fuel tank at a garage on the A1 in Lincolnshire.
By doing the same at the end, it’s easy to get a precise ‘combined mpg’ figure – meaning a blend of motorways, fast A-roads, country roads, a couple of long greenlanes and a rush-hour city crawl. And, we find out more along the way!
Our test route
Bloody Oaks services, Stamford > A1 north Knaresborough > Arncliffe > Kettlewell > Middleham > Bainbridge > Stalling Busk (byway) > Hubberholme > Cam High Road (byway) > Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes > Settle > Silsden > Bradford > M62 east > Ferrybridge > A1 south > Bloody Oaks services, Stamford