What we're driving: 2020 Range Rover Sport HST
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Definitely not left in the dust: the twin-charged I-6 Range Rover Sport HST. (Land Rover) 

What we’re driving: 2020 Range Rover Sport HST

What we're driving is SAE's series of quick-strike vehicle reviews.

JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) goes straight to the point: it's new inline six-cylinder gasoline engine is “more responsive and better balanced” than a V6, the company said. That’s what powers its new Range Rover Sport HST, a worthy addition to the model span and an indicator of the future drivetrains of several of the company’s upcoming models. So it’s “in line” for promotion. 

An extrapolation of JLR’s 4-cylinder Ingenium engine, the 3.0-L six-pot installed in the HST earns high marks for just about everything that matters, including a mellifluous engine note in the cabin throughout much of its range. With an electrically-driven supercharger filling in any gaps (spool-up time: 0.5sec) created by its twin-scroll turbocharger, power delivery is just about seamless. Maximum output is 294 kW (400 hp) and maximum torque 550 Nm (406 lb-ft), sufficient to provide a quick step-off to 100 km/h in 6.2 sec. Taken to its rev limit, the engine sounds mildly sporty in keeping with the car’s nomenclature, but there is little need for such treatment. Top speed is 140 mph (225 km/h). A 48V mild-hybrid system is fitted. 

8-speed auto
The I-6 drives through an 8-speed automatic transmission which is a smooth operator – except occasionally when the car is typically exiting and accelerating out of a tight corner. This can create a noticeable torque effect, albeit not something commented on by well-mannered passengers. The NEDC2 fuel consumption quoted by Land Rover is 9.3l/100 km (25 mpg) and is easily achievable on longer journeys. An average of about 10.2 l/100km (23 mpg) in a mix of city, rural and motorway driving was seen over 400 miles (644 km) in the U.K.

Handling is very good for a vehicle of this type and weight (2.2 tons). High-speed ride comfort is excellent in highly supportive and embracing seats designed for on- and off-road travel. At low speeds, large wheels (22 inches) entering potholes sometimes deliver a thump but do not detract from this multi-role car’s message of premium quality, high performance and road presence.

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