IF you’re searching for a big SUV with lots of power and refinement then look no further.
The Range Rover Sport has been updated for 2012 to make it an even better proposition.
It’s one of those vehicles that surprises you with the amount of comfort and control you get when driving it.
You just don’t expect an SUV of this size to handle so well either – and produce the sort of mid-range acceleration it possesses when overtaking power is required.
The four-wheel drive Sport model I sampled is even faster now with the new 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine’s power increased from 245bhp to 256bhp.
This enables it to surge from standstill to 60mph in just 8.5 seconds and be capable of a top speed of 124mph.
Needless to say it cruises ever so smoothly and quietly at motorway speeds, allowing driver and passengers to enjoy the comfort of a lavish interior and view the scenery from high seating positions.
The Sport now benefits from a new eight-speed automatic gearbox with rotary gear shift selector and paddle shift.
It moves so smoothly yet quickly when required that I only experimented with the manual shift for a short spell.
This new gearbox helps in no small way to improve fuel economy, with the combined figure rising from 30.7mpg to 32.1mpg. It also assists in cutting CO2 emissions which are down from 243g/km to 230g/km.
Interior enhancements include a seven-inch touch screen with Dual View which allows the driver to view the navigation display while rear passengers watch TV or a DVD through their WhiteFire headphones.
The entertainment gets a further boost with a whopping 825watts of power coming through 17 speakers.
I found the new powered tailgate particularly useful, using the key fob to open it as I rushed through the rain from the supermarket, and enabling me to place bags easily into the massive luggage area.
The Range Rover Sport also has the credentials to quickly venture off road but, like the majority of its buyers, I was quite happy to enjoy this model’s excellent on-road driving behaviour.
I sampled the HSE model which costs £55,995.