The SUV cliché is a dirty one, big diesel or petrol engines that fill the atmosphere with poisonous gasses, so in an attempt to clean up their act companies like Land Rover are looking at ways to alternatively power their vehicles.
Land Rover have added Plug in Hybrid models across their range including to the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, but does this strategy detract from the driving experience for which these vehicles are known and loved?
A 2.0 litre petrol engine powers the Range Rover Sport Plug in Hybrid or PHEV. That might not sound very sporty, but it produces 297kW and 640Nm. This engine is further bolstered by a 105kW electric motor housed within the ZF automatic gearbox located in the centre of the vehicle alongside a 7kW on-board charger.
The result of this engineering trickery is that this Range Rover Sport emits only 64g/km on the NEDC combined cycle but is capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 6,7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 220km/h.
Drivers have a choice of two modes, Parallel Hybrid mode combines petrol and electric drive while EV mode enables the vehicle to run solely on the electric motor for up to 51km using the energy stored in the battery.
During hybrid mode a save function prevents the battery charge dropping below a pre-selected level. The predictive energy optimisation function, allows you to enter a destination in the navigation system and use the built-in GPS altitude data for the selected route, to intelligently combine the electric motor and petrol engine to maximise fuel economy. And when the battery goes flat, the vehicle operates just like a normal petrol powered model would, albeit with a slight drop in acceleration performance and a rise in fuel consumption.
HOW DO YOU CHARGE IT?
With a rapid charger the batteries can be fully charged in under three hours using the optional 32 Amp wall box. The batteries can be fully charged in seven and a half hours using the 10 Amp home charging cable supplied with the vehicle. The prismatic cell lithium-ion batteries, which are located beneath the boot floor, are covered by an eight-year, 160 000km, and 70 percent state of health warranty. The only drawback is that there is no space for a spare wheel, instead you get a tyre repair kit and a small compressor.
CAN IT GO OFF-ROAD?
Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 technologies has a unique calibration to intelligently and precisely distribute torque from the electric motor, which has no creep speed and is able to deliver maximum torque from zero rpm, to all four wheels. And being a Range Rover there are modes for all kinds of terrain, making off-roading a simple affair.
The drive of the vehicle is similar to traditionally powered models, except that the throttle response reminds one a fairground dodge em car. The vehicle always pulls off in electric mode, with the petrol engine jumping in to help between 20 and 30km/h depending on the level of throttle input. This makes for a strange sensation, almost like the Stop Start system is activating just as the gearbox is about to select second gear.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
With significant changes under the skin, the exterior has evolved to harmonise and modernise the design, making the Range Rover Sport look more dynamic without changing its character. At the front, the striking new design is enabled by all-new LED headlights sitting alongside a redesigned grille, which is complemented by a redesigned bumper with more aggressive profile.
Inside it is exactly as luxurious as you would expect a Range Rover to be. The Range Rover Sport also features the latest Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. Gesture sunblind and Pixel-laser LED headlights, but adds a new Advanced Tow Assist function to take care of the difficult counter-steering required to position trailers accurately when reversing, the driver can simply guide the trailer into the desired space using the rotary controller for the Terrain Response 2 system.
In car connectivity is enhanced with up to 14 power points, including a domestic plug socket to keep laptops and other devices charged.
South Africa might not be ready for fully electric vehicles, let alone hydrogen powered models yet, so something like Range Rover’s Plug in Hybrid is the perfect sedge way into this new world of plugging in your car when you go shopping or when you get home at night.
- Engine: Four-cylinder turbocharged petrol electric hybrid
- Displacement: 1 997cc
- Power: 297kW @ 5 500r/min plus 105
- Torque: 640Nm @ 1500r/min plus 205
- Transmission: Eight-speed Automatic
- 4WD system: All-wheel drive
- Driving aids: EBD, DSC, Tow assist, tow hitch assist, Traction Control, Brake Control, Emergency Brake Assist, Roll Stability Control, All Terrain Progress Control, Terrain Response 2, Hill Descent control
- Differential lock: Centre
- Tyre size: 275/45 R22
- Tyre brand: Pirelli Scorpion
- Rim size: 22-inch
- Suspension front: Independent wide spaced Double Wishbone
- Suspension rear: Advanced Multi-link
- Brakes front: Discs
- Brakes rear: Discs
0-60km/h: 3.1 seconds
0-100km/h: 6.7 seconds
60-120km/h: 6.2 seconds
Quarter mile: 14.9 seconds @ 156.3km/h
60-0km/h: 1.9 seconds and 15.7 metres
120-0km/h: 5.3 seconds and 77.7 metres
MEASUREMENTS AND CAPACITIES
Engine speed at 120km/h: 1800r/min
Average fuel consumption: 12,8 litres/100km
Fuel tank capacity: 104 litres
Ground clearance, front: 260mm
Ground clearance, rear: 270mm
Weight: 2 540kg
Warranty: Three-year/100 000 km
Maintenance plan: Five-year/100 000km
Service interval: 26 000km
Price: R1 699 400