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Range Rover Sport PHEV’s green dream still on horizon

We’ve often felt premium cars are perfectly made for electric driving.

I mean, cabin quietness is a big part of luxury motoring – and it’s pretty easy to keep things serene without any engine noise.

And plug-in hybrids make sense in general as they allow for much of your daily commute to be emissions-free, while also being able to head out on a decent road trip with out fear of running out of juice or having to spend an age charging up.

So a Range Rover Sport plug-in should be a match made in heaven: there aren’t many more comfortable vehicles out there and, despite most never leaving the western suburbs, it’s a brand built on being able to head out and conquer vast stretches of terrain.

Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid.Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid.
Camera IconRange Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid.

And while any Rangie Sport in high-spec HSE trim will be a lovely drive, the plug-in hybrid isn’t quite the home run it could be.

Firstly, Land Rover reckons this can get 48km of purely electric driving.

But even after fully charging the battery, the display would show a range of 35km and in practice we struggled to get 30km from battery alone.

There is the handy option of using both the petrol engine and electric motor at once to find a nice middle ground between frugality and performance, but its quickly shown to be moot: the petrol engine will kick in when it wants to anyway.

Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid displayed range.Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid displayed range.
Camera IconRange Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid displayed range.Picture: Sam Jeremic

Even when in EV mode and not asking the electric motor to exert itself much at all, the petrol engine would regularly kick in; one morning it stayed on half the way to work, even though the battery was full.

The petrol/electric combo is pretty potent, able to get this big rig up to 100km/h in a decent 6.7 seconds.

But when the battery runs out, there’s only a 2.0-litre turbo four-pot to pick up the slack.

It’s not a weak unit and it can still get you moving, but this is a heavy car made heavier by the hybrid gear — Land Rover lists it as “from 2464kg”.

This means if you’re on petrol power, you’re going to use a lot of it.

Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid.Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid.
Camera IconRange Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid.

About 80-85 per cent of my driving was electrically powered due to my work commute being around 25km a day and then opportunistically plugging in at friends and families houses where possible (which they all loved, of course).

I still returned 3.1L/100km after a week, which means if you regularly to do lots of kilometres at a time, you may not get the fuel savings you may have hoped.

But if you do like all the nice things the HSE spec offers — and there are a lot of very nice things — choosing the green option isn’t financially prohibitive: diesel SDV6 HSE is $10,000 less and the petrol V8 HSE is actually around $3000 more.

You can also get the plug-in hybrid in lower SE trim for $129,559 — but, unlike the HSE, if you’re happy with the SE level of kit you may as well go for the non-hybrid options as they’re more than $20k cheaper and it will take a long time to make that up in fuel savings.

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