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WhichCar’s David Bonnici embarked on a road trip from Melbourne to one of Australia’s oldest and most picturesque wine regions, the Barossa Valley, in the safety of the Range Rover Sport PHEV. Over the course of his journey, he found the punchy 2.0-litre turbocharged PHEV powertrain made him “feel at home everywhere from the smoothest freeways to the roughest of tracks”, and the car “was in its element when gracing winery forecourts, cruising winding country roads or exploring dirt tracks on the surrounding hills”.
With a nine-hour trip ahead, Bonnici decided to break up the trip with a stopover in Meningie, in South Australia’s Coorong region, which he described as 4WD heaven. Tackling a sandy track, Bonnici said the car had no trouble negotiating the sand and powdered limestone “thanks in no small part to the adaptive suspension that allows you to raise the springs 15cm above the normal setting to easily clear the ground between the deep ruts that would trouble more road-focused SUVs”.
The series of drive modes were also a plus, adjusting the gearing, damping, traction and raising or lowering the suspension to suit. Auto mode, meanwhile, seamlessly adapts to different road conditions and how you drive on them. “It’s this versatility,” Bonnici said, “the ability to negotiate soft sand and deep ruts and drive on to bitumen in the Coorong and then hug hairpins in the Adelaide Hills, that really impresses.”
POWER AND EFFICIENCY
Out on the single lane highways of South Australia, Bonnici found the plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sport reached the 110km/h speed limits “in a canter”. Along with the fuel savings, the 105kW electric motor provides an additional 76kW power boost to the 221kW Si4 Ingenium Petrol engine when you really need it. The efficient battery consumption meant “there’s always enough power to run silent at slow speeds” and with the 12.7kW battery sufficiently charged you can drive around in full EV mode for up to 48km. Overall fuel consumption for Bonnici’s entire trip was 9.7L/100km over 2658km, which he considered good for a large 2.5 tonne SUV, and if you make the most of the hybrid’s capabilities the investment is a worthwhile one.
Learn more about the exceptionally refined performance of the Range Rover Sport both on and off the road.