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The new sumptuous Range Rover Sport comes in a Plug-In hybrid version

The RR Sport PHEV is the car of dreams...if only I could afford it

The Range Rover Sport PHEV in Carpathian Grey has an equally plush interior

The Range Rover Sport PHEV interior

Daragh KeanySunday World

Every week I make a list of the pros and cons about each car I drive.

These lists can be long or short on any given week based on the level of tech and spec in any particular car. For context, you should know that these lists can be suitably vague or extremely pedantic.

Before I work through the highlights of my long ‘pros’ list, let me tell you the full extent of my ‘cons’ list.

Firstly, the armrests in the front seats block the seatbelt buckle which makes fastening up a little bit trickier than it should be and secondly, the car didn’t park itself. And that’s it. Literally.

Let me explain the parking thing. The demo car I got at the Irish launch a few months ago had a feature that parked itself with the touch of a button; parallel or perpendicular. It was incredible. And I missed it in my test car last week as I wanted to show it off. First world problems, right?

As for the armrests, they were a moveable feast and had clever twistable locks on the end of them to hold them in place at your desired height, but they did need to be navigated each time the front two people were putting on their seatbelts.

And there, ladies and gentlemen, is my list of negatives. I didn’t even put the asking price in this list like I normally do.

The Range Rover Sport PHEV interior

Because, quite frankly, I am part of the converted. Range Rovers are big and brutish and almost bully their way around roads but having finally got behind the wheel of one for a whole week I have fallen in love.

For starters, there is this paint job called Carpathian Grey that sits beautifully on top of the satin dark grey 22” alloys. There are also deft glimpses of rose gold too, which offset perfectly against the gigantic grey canvas.

Very little has been changed about the exterior styling here on the 3rd-gen version with a lot of focus going on the new powertrain line up — more on that later — and increased tech on board. There are new sportier horizontal lights at the rear but to most of us who aren’t overly familiar with the last iteration we will find very little change to the outside.

Inside is like a little piece of heaven bedecked in the finest premium, plush materials your hard-earned money can buy.

There is a pared-back, minimal-buttons styling that balances the right amount of actual knobs and dials with a slick 13-inch screen housing the vast array of infotainment options.

The centre console on my Dynamic spec had the kind of storage space that some city cars would offer in their boot. And the whole design and layout is very clever with several compartments for various storage options and plentiful charge ports.

The seat itself is ridiculously good. It’s stupidly comfortable and will be known as a throne forever more.

The second row isn’t far off either, as the two outside perches can be heated, cooled and reclined (which was a huge hit with the kids) while there is a big space in the middle for a third person or the impressive rear centre console that comes equipped with storage, charging ports and cup holders.

There is a front-to-back panoramic sunroof too with the front half retractable and both easily covered over with a slick curtain.

While the roof sits approximately 50mm lower than the full Range Rover, no one in the back will feel cramped. And we move into the boot, where you have 650 litres of space at your disposal.

Driving it makes you fall even more in love with it. The extra weight thanks to the battery means it is even more grounded than you’d expect. It’s nimble too and fast (510hp with 700Nm of torque) when you want it to be and all four members of Team Keany commented on how smooth the driving experience was.

Then we get to one of the best bits… and the real reason I am testing this car. It is now available in the Plug-In Hybrid version with a battery that (Range Rover claims) offers 113km range. Which also means you only pay €140 tax a year.

I tested the EV mode a few times during the week and I think 90+ km is more accurate which is still really impressive compared to most PHEVs on the market. Although this isn’t just any ordinary PHEV. It’s a Range Rover PHEV, which means we finally get to the asking price.

This is not cheap. Starting from €114k, my test model was an eye-watering €125k and I find it hard to argue with it.

I will never own one but not because I don’t want to; trust me on that.

I have driven far more expensive cars and while impressed I didn’t yearn to own one.

But this is different.


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