Range Rover Sport HSE P400e
Range Rover Sport HSE P400e (All photos by Ian Whelan except as indicated)

2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE P400e

It’s fun to drive and friendly to the environment. And it can go just about anywhere.

With a luxurious and powerful Range Rover, you can traverse any terrain in style. But can you reap that benefit while also helping the environment and enjoying your daily commute?

Yes, you can, and the Range Rover Sport HSE P400e plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is an enticing option if you’re shopping in the luxury SUV market. This is the second-largest model in the Land Rover lineup, below the full-size Range Rover, which also offers the 398-hp and 472 lb-ft of torque combination of electric motor and 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Though I’m a lover of classic analog cars, driving in electric mode still feels like a marvel to me. I’ve been behind the wheel of a variety of electrified vehicles and love the high levels of immediate torque electric motors provide, not to mention the near silence. Off-the-line responsiveness is high, thanks to the full torque of the electric motor being available from 0 rpm.

Range Rover Sport HSE P400e Fuel
Range Rover Sport HSE P400e Fuel

Not burning fuel makes you feel as if you’re getting away with something, and this car can do that for up to 31 miles depending on driving conditions. You can also save the battery power for later use, which might make sense if the beginning of your trip is on the highway but you’ll spend time later in an urban environment. Using the climate control in EV mode can reduce range, but a neat trick is preconditioning: you can schedule or start the climate control via a smartphone app while the car is still plugged in. That way, the system has less work to do when you’re driving and you won’t have to spent the first minutes of your ride in a hot cabin.

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When you’ve depleted the battery—or earlier if you request full power by pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor—the internal combustion engine comes to life. During light cruising, you’ll experience stretches of electric mode, and the gas engine will cycle on and off as necessary. As with other hybrids, the P400e takes advantage of regenerative coasting and braking to charge the battery, and this makes the PHEV great for urban environments where it can harvest energy that’s typically lost during braking in traffic.

In mixed driving conditions on one tank of fuel, including the miles in EV mode from one charge, my fuel economy was about 22 mpg. Charge the battery often and that figure will go way up. If you use the included 120v cable, you can expect to charge overnight, but with a dedicated wall box charger or a public station, you can do the job in less than three hours.

Spending time on the highway is a delight, and I did just that in complete comfort for long stretches. Premium materials abound, and everything feels lovely to the touch. The panoramic sunroof lets in plenty of light, making even a black interior feel airy. My passengers in the back were happy with the legroom and enjoyed the heated and cooled seats. Speaking of cooling, the actively cooled center storage console is nice to have for beverages. 

Range Rover Sport HSE P400e (Photo: Land Rover)
Range Rover Sport HSE P400e (Photo: Land Rover)

On the highway, the air suspension keeps the ride smooth, and the radar cruise control with steering assist keeps your workload down. The near-bank-vault level of quiet inside, helped by the fact that the gas engine isn’t always running, is another reason this car is so pleasant to spend time in. On back roads, for a vehicle of this size and weight, it is sprightly to drive; it holds the road well on curves and moves quickly when necessary. You’ll notice the torque assist from the electric motors when accelerating, especially from lower speeds, which helps the Sport to reach 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. While it’s not a sports car—the weight is noticeable—you’ll still have fun, and most drivers will enjoy the level of power the Sport provides.

There’s plenty of tech, and it’s spread over two screens in the center stack. The touchscreen displays and graphics are pleasing to look at, but I found them a bit cumbersome to interact with at times. Sometimes I couldn’t find what I was looking for in the layers of menus and pages. As my time with the car went on, I was able to understand the system a bit more, but its response to my inputs was still slower than I would have liked, even when I knew where to go.

At least once you get everything set up the way you want, you won’t need to dive into the menus as much. If you prefer, you can use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which take over the upper screen and let you run music and navigation from your phone apps. 

One of the reasons you might buy a Range Rover is to know you can take it to the country club one day and cross desert terrain, climb rocky hills, and ford rivers the next. I didn’t get to take the Sport on any such off-road treks, but I have experienced what these cars can do at Land Rover’s driving school in Carmel, California. The claim that they can go almost anywhere isn’t exaggerated, and while you may want to visit one of the company’s driving schools to learn how to best maneuver your vehicle, the electronic Terrain Response modes make it easier. You can select the settings manually or leave the system in auto mode and let it sort out the conditions.

Range Rover Sport HSE P400e Interior
Range Rover Sport HSE P400e Interior

Our test vehicle, which had a base price of $79,000, retails for $93,200 with the included options. A variety of other engines are available, but a non-hybrid base supercharged V6 Sport costs $67,050, so the PHEV comes at a premium. It does offer better performance than its sister V6 models, or the diesel option, but it makes the most sense for drivers who will be able to charge it frequently. 

The Range Rover PHEV is more expensive than Volvo’s XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid, which starts at $67,645 but offers less EV range—about 19 miles. Porsche’s Cayenne E-Hybrid starts at $79,900 and provides a range of about 27 miles. Beyond price and range, there are plenty of other differences between these vehicles, though. Fully electric SUVs like the Tesla Model X starts at $81,000, and the Jaguar I-Pace starts at $69,850.

Your choice will likely come down to what appeals to your lifestyle the most, but if you’re considering a luxury SUV, try an electrified version. You’ll save fuel and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, you’ll likely enjoy the experience of driving in EV mode. 

Range Rover Sport HSE P400e
Range Rover Sport HSE P400e

Range Rover Sport HSE P400e at a glance

Base price:                              $79,000

Price as tested:                        $93,000

Powertrain:                             2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine and 105kW electric motor 

Power:                                     Combined output of 398-hp and 472 lb-ft of torque 

Battery:                                   13 kWh Li-ion

Electric range:                        31 miles

Charging time:                        14 hours using onboard 110v 7-kW charger or 2.75 hours using Level 2 charger

Acceleration (0–60 mph):       6.3 seconds

Top speed:                              137 mph or 85 mph in EV mode

Curb weight:                           5,430 lb

Cargo capacity:                       24.8 cu ft (56.8 cu ft with rear seats folded)

Warranty:                                4 years/50,000 mi basic, 8 years/100,000 mi battery (up to 70% state of health)

Source: Land Rover