I promised myself I would wait and take my time for the review about the Range Rover Sport LR320, until all the wide-neck-narrow-forehead gentlemen will get bored and move on to the next motorized interventions vehicle. But it seems that this car is so good that it is immune to the passage of time. Really?
I’ve said it so many times, I’ll say it again. The Range Rover Sport L320 is one of the official cars of the 2008 crisis. Launched in 2006, the Range Rover Sport was Land Rover’s attempt to make a more affordable and good-looking car to attract more customers. A kind of commercial prostitution that worked really well for them. They took the Discovery platform because it was cheaper, gave it the name Range Rover and launched it on the Danube. And it sold, in large numbers.
It didn’t take long for the Range Rover Sport LR320 to became a serious rival to the already established X5, Q7, Cayenne and even the full fat Range Rover, especially in the world of those who wear silk shirts 2 sizes too small. They usually wear winklepickers and tight pants. They have at least 2 knives on them and walk in groups of at least 5. They don’t yield in traffic, they are the right of way. Scholars who gather night after night at the university, only instead of books they have pistols and they don’t use the chairs to sit on them, but to greet each other with them. To the face. With speed. With as much force and velocity as your daily worked muscles allow you to.
Range Rover Sport – The official “cheap to buy, expensive to run” car
This is one of the reasons why the first Range Rover Sport caught on so well with the public with primary school education or below. It was far from reliable and very far from being cheap to run, so the slogan “Range Rover is only bought new and driven strictly with valid warranty” has been true since 2005. In fact, if I sit and pick my bottom and think about it, I don’t know if the Range Rover Sport is any cheaper to run than the normal, full fat Range Rover.
So the prices fell like a student after drinking 5 shots of B52 and that allowed pretty much every chav to buy one on the used market. He kept it and drove it until the first major repair, after which he sold it to another, less pretentious chav. And it went down on this spiral and now in 2023 you practically have a good chance of buying what’s left of a Range Rover Sport LR320.
Range Rover Sport LR320 Engines
- 4.2 Supercharged V8 AJ-V8 of 390 horsepower – As I said, the Range Rover Sport LR320 is the official “cheap to buy, expensive to run” car. And the petrol engines prove the point, the smallest one being this tiny 390 horsepower V8. As with the Jaguar, it’s more or less the same engine as the 5 litre cousin, so I’ll talk there about common issues
- 4.4 V8 AJ-V8 of 300 horsepower – No, this is not the BMW sourced 4.4 V8 used on the LR322. It’s the same AJ engine from Jaguar. Moving on.
- 5.0 V8 AJ-V8 of 375 horsepower – Almost there.
- 5.0 Supercharged V8 AJ-V8 of 510 horsepower – How far does it go? From Abu Dhabi to London, because that is the client base for this engine. But I will now talk about the common issues of the AJ-V8 engine, in all it’s guises. Those being the timing chain tensioners that fail and destroy the engine if they’re not replaced on time, as well as cooling and/or overheating. The coolant pipes that run through the engine actually do not cope with the heat released by this engine, especially if you drive it like it has all it’s 510 horsepower. The smaller 4.2 Supercharged is somewhat less prone to coolant pipes cracking, but it’s a common issue for the AJ-V8 family.
2.7 TDV6 of 190 horsepower – The most popular engine for the Range Rover LR320. Which is not so great because this engine is notorious for reliability issues. Yes, it’s the same Peugeot-sourced 2.7 HDi which is not necessarily bad, but in the case of the Range Rover Sport some parts have been placed lower in the engine and, just like when you move your organs there will be problems. In this case, the oil pump, the timing chain may fail and ultimately the crankshaft will snap. It usually happens in this order and they will go for a walk together to the junkyard. The engine is deader than the last victim who did not pay his debts on time.
3.0 TDV6 of 211, 245 and 258 horsepower – Same engine, but bigger. Pass. Shame.
3.6 TDV8 of 272 horsepower – Yes. The most reliable diesel on the Range Rover Sport and on the Range Rover. It has no specific issues, but if the turbos go out you can throw the car in the trashcan. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it will be the end of the car. Basically, it’s like when you drink beer and eat melons. You don’t know when it will happen, but when it will hit you, you’ll know…
Range Rover Sport LR320 Common Issues
- All Range Rover Sport come with standard air suspension. And with a 60-ton car you will have to constantly replace components, because the car is heavier than my regret that I didn’t invite Delia to coffee, but also because Land Rover doesn’t have the best performing system nor the most reliable system.
- The front and rear differentials crack and lose oil, and in some cases the rear differential housing can crack and flood the gearbox and destroy it as a whole. The solution is to have the same type of oil in the differential and in the gearbox.As for the automatic gearboxes, they are reliable but don’t forget to change the oil and filter on time, which is 4 years or 60,000 kms.
- The screws used on the doors and bonnet are painted in the color of the car. This means that if they are not in the color of the car, they have been replaced. Which can mean that the car had quite an event that required the replacement of doors or bonnet.
- As with the Volvo XC90, the build quality improved every year so it’s essential to buy the newest one you can afford, even if it has less options.
- I return to the 600 tons part, namely the torture to which the tires, brakes and suspension will be subjected. Get used to the idea that you will change them more often than Trump changes diapers.
- And then there’s the big one. Because it’s built on the Discovery platform, the Range Rover Sport has a ladder-type chassis, which is basically one chassis sitting on top of another. Two chassis. And because of this it weighs 6000 tons. But that’s not even the biggest issue, the problem is that for most operations the upper chassis must be lifted and then bolted back in place. That means 8 hours of labor at least, just disassembling and reassembling the chassis. To which you add the labor hours for the actual work.
Range Rover Sport LR320 Verdict
Good car, if you can afford to properly run it. And that was the problem with most of the owners, because the average council housed could not afford to maintain it properly. They just bought the car as it was and drove it until the crankshaft snapped. They didn’t even bother chaning the oil. And then bought another engine from breakers, which can also fail at any moment. So you will buy what is left of a Range Rover Sport. But as long as the car is working, that is 2 weeks a year, people will step aside in traffic because they will think that you are on your way to the next unfortunate person who has not paid his debts on time.
Which engines do I recommend? 5.0 supercharged, 510 horsepower V8 for petrol because all engines are excessive anyway so you might aswell go all the way. And for the diesel 3.6 TDV8 of 272 horsepower, as it’s the most reliable and was the least popular amongst those who wanted to buy an Range Rover but couldn’t afford a Range Rover..