Land Rover introduced the iconic Range Rover “Classic” way back in 1969. Although it was available only as a 2-door until 1981 and wasn’t designed to be a luxury vehicle, it slowly became one of the most desirable 4x4s on the planet, clad in expensive leather and wood trim. The Range Rover was already in its third generation when the Range Rover Sport arrived, still a premium cruiser, this model added a dynamic edge and quickly became successful.
The Range Rover Sport was first presented as a concept called the Range Stormer at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show, and it was clear Land Rover had an interesting idea going on. Already, the market was demanding these heavy, expensive SUVs also be fast, thanks to the recently introduced Porsche Cayenne (2002) and BMW X5 (1999).
The 2023 Range Rover Sport has just become available for order, and we thought it would be interesting to do a comparison with the regular Range Rover. This will potentially inform SUV buyers while helping regular folks tell them apart.
Both Rovers are large, riding on the MLA-Flex platform, so no more making jokes about the Sport being related to the Discovery. The “regular” model has an extended wheelbase version, but we’re just going to focus on the SWB specs of the L460 and see how they compare to the L461 Range Rover Sport model.
Range Rover vs Range Rover: dimensions
You might be surprised to hear that the two share a wheelbase. At 118 inches or 2,997mm, the distance between the axles of both SUVs is the same. And as you might suspect, the Range Rover is longer, measuring 198.9 inches (5,052mm) compare to 194.7 inches (4,949mm). Even with the naked eye, you can just see the rear overhang is different.
The 2023 Range Rover Sport is designed to look sportier, so it has a lower roof. From top to bottom, it measures 71.7 inches (1,820mm), which makes it about 2 inches (50mm) lower than a Range Rover. Part of that is also down to the ride height, which is 11.61 inches on the full-size and 11 inches on the Sport.
While we’re on the subject of off-roading, it might be important to note that both models have the same wading depth at 35.4 inches (900mm), but the Range Rover has a better approach angle at 34.7 degrees. This can change a little with some packages.
Is the full-sized one heavier? Yes. The difference depends on which model you have and what options have been equipped, but we found that on a P400 model, the 2023 Range Rover Sport is lighter by 152 pounds or 69 kg.
There are also a lot of similarities. Most models have the same towing capacity, the same permitted trailer load, the same roof load (220 lbs or 100 kg), and the same gas tank capacity (80 or 90 liters/21.1 or 23.7 US gallons).
The same engines
Although some of them aren’t available right now, both models are supposed to get the same engines, and there are a lot of them. The P360 and P400 use a 3.0-liter inline-six turbo (AJ300), while diesel options include the D250, D300, and D350, all with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo diesel layout.
Two plug-in hybrid models are also offered, the P440e and P510e. But everybody’s favorite seems to be the new P530 which basically has a BMW 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. The names all express horsepower but in European spec, so a P360 makes 355 hp and a P530 has 523 hp. It’s not that complicated.
The plug-in hybrids use a 38.2 kWh (31.8 of which is usable) Lithium battery, which is frankly huge, almost as big as an old Nissan Leaf. And means they can do up to 70 miles in EV mode. They also charge pretty fast, making Range Rovers some of the best plug-in luxury SUVs right now. All-electric versions are expected to launch by 2024, and those should get Tesla-sized 100 kWh packs, if not more.
The design changes
It’s pretty easy to tell the two apart. The full-size Range Rover is designed to look like a yacht. It has no pointless lines, an imposing slab side, and a big oval describing the taillights. Meanwhile, the Range Rover Sport is also minimalist but comes with a complicated front grille design, vents on the fenders, and a roof that slopes down.
You’ll also notice the visible exhaust tips on the Sport, and you can’t have 3 rows of seats and more. Sport models borrow the flush door handles from big brother and can be equipped with carbon-clad wheels or 23-inch ones to match the maximum size of the other SUV.