Falling Hard For My Long-Distance Winter Travel Companion
I couldn't believe it. The middle of winter, and despite being on the
|As that Pirelli ad says, power is nothing without control. So, I had them swapped for high-performance winter tires made by Continental. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)|
West Coast, where it tends to rain more than snow come March, or anytime for that matter, Land Rover had equipped its new Range Rover Sport Supercharged
with stock performance-oriented summer tires. Large in diameter and ultra low in profile, 275/40R20 at all four corners no less, the hot looking Pirelli PZero Rosso Asimmetricos wouldn't do at all. I quickly made the appropriate phone calls that resulted in plans to return to the Richmond, BC dealership that LR uses as a liaison to the media, and have the racy rubber replaced with more suitable tires.
|Land Rover's Terrain Response system is easy to use; simply twist it to match the road around you. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)|
the concern? While there's always the off-chance that the heavens will open and snow will descend upon us, my worries centered around a road trip I had planned for the following day, which would take me and the Sport overtop one of the higher mountain passes in this neck of the woods, delivering me safely to one of my clients in Kamloops, BC. I returned to the dealership later that day and in about half an hour, while enjoying a relaxing moment of downtime in the well-equipped customer lounge, I was off, a new set of Continental 4X4 SportContact tires, of the same dimensions, giving me more confidence.
Being that there was no racetrack between my home and the
|The Range Rover Sport is a sports car that can scale rocks. (Photo: Land Rover Canada)|
dealership, the only opportunity I had to test out the previous set of tires was on city streets plus a few short stretches of freeway, and as far as attempting any activity that could even come close to breaking traction, a few high-speed cloverleaf-style on- and off-ramps would have to suffice. And on that note, I noticed little difference between the racing slick-like performance tires and the heavily grooved mud & snow rated winter rubber, which made it quite clear that I hadn't even come close to testing this SUV's tenacity when equipped with the Pirellis.
|Range Rover Sport is also a sports car that can carry five and luggage too. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)|
worries, track testing the Sport would have to wait. Currently, I was on my way home to prepare for a road trip; one of those rare opportunities to travel without the headaches of airport security and fear of baggage loss. And looking around at my first-class cabin of choice, I realized that even upgrades to business class brought about by my frequent flier status wouldn't come close to the opulence Land Rover had afforded me.
Only the top-line Range Rover delivers a more lavish SUV interior, with few others, VW's Touareg
, Porsche's Cayenne, plus a couple from Lexus being the only off-road capable SUVs immediately coming to mind that even come close to matching the new Sport's cabin. And while plank-like hardwood graces the door panels and frames the centre stack, its ambience is
|... and the Range Rover Sport also has the interior of a first-class limo. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)|
more adventurous than its larger, older sibling's moneyed décor. The wide centre interface commands immediate attention, pulling all eyes toward its fusion of high-tech componentry and old world charm. Level with the topmost edge of the dash and surrounded by a set of high-quality vents is a large LCD screen displaying navigation information; requisite in this segment of the market. I found it easy to use and effective, although I really didn't need it during my trip as I knew the way without need for directions. Just below, four square buttons, the first to defeat the DSC stability control system, the second to turn off the SUV's electronic parking assistant, the third and fourth pair being rather oddly placed buttons for unlocking and locking the doors, in that order, flank a large, red half-moon hazard switch. Traveling further down the centre stack brings a somewhat utilitarian looking audio system head unit, but it wins points for ease of use, the inclusion of an integrated six-disc stacker, and superb overall sound quality.