Jaguar Land Rover isn't in the best market position right now. Sedans sales have crippled Jaguar, while Land Rover's market share in China is contracting and both brands have supply chains that could be significantly disrupted by Brexit.
The bright spot, though, is the Range Rover nameplate. Originally a single model, Range Rover now has its own lineup that stretches from the $42,650 Range Rover Evoque to the $209,000 Range Rover SVAutobiography.
Not quite as big as or expensive as the full-size Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport is a more approachable way to get the high-dollar Range Rover style and nameplate at $93,200 as tested. Plus, with the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle Range Rover Sport P400e model, you get 31 miles of all-electric driving.
We're big fans of plug-in hybrids in general. Unlike a conventional hybrid, you can charge them from the wall and drive at high speeds and for significant distances without requiring the gas engine to fire up. If your commute is less than 31 miles, you shouldn't have to burn gas at all on your way to work.
But unlike an all-electric car, when that range is depleted, you still have a gas motor that can provide power. You also get the combined forces of both for performance. That means that, despite a relatively small 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Range Rover Sport P400e produces 398 combined system horsepower.
The gas engine is also less taxed during acceleration and can shut off during light duty cruising, which makes the Range Rover Sport P400e even more quiet than its already-hushed internal combustion siblings.
Besides the powertrain, the Range Rover Sport P400e has the usual Land Rover strengths. Though it's expensive for an SUV of this size, we can't deny that — especially wearing the $710 Firenze Red paint — the Sport looks every nickel of its $93,200 price.
It's also a staple of any high-end country club, Beverly Hills driveway or downtown restaurant. Discerning snobs may look down on it as lesser than a "true" Range Rover, but the Range Rover Sport surely conveys more wealth and status than a BMW X5 or Volvo XC90.
It's also lovely inside. The leather is sublime, controls feel premium to the touch and a large panoramic sunroof makes the cabin bright and inviting. The two-screen infotainment setup looks modern and sleek, with cool touches like control dials embedded in the lower touch screen.
And, as one would expect from a Range Rover product, the Range Rover Sport P400e is a truly great way to put miles behind you. Over six days around the Florida Keys and Miami, the supple ride, fantastic seats and hushed cabin never got old.
Dealing with the infotainment system, however, did get old. The two-screen setup looks sleek and has a pretty graphical interface, but it's tiresome to use. The navigation system was particularly annoying, with weird layered menus that never seemed to contain the option I was looking for.
The lower display was better, if only because it was more limited in what it could do. You couldn't show navigation on it or the radio, but you could put those things in your instrument cluster. Between the two displays you could configure in the instrument cluster and the main screen, there was really nothing we felt like we needed to see on the lower screen besides climate information. We would have been perfectly happy with a few climate control knobs and a more polished main screen experience.
Most importantly, though, the Range Rover Sport P400e is expensive. We expect electrified vehicles to carry a bit of a premium, but even gas-only Range Rover models tend to be pricey for their respective classes.
A top-trim Volvo XC90 T8 Inscription, for instance, starts at $74,045. Though it may have only 19 miles of electric range, it offers more space, more equipment and better technology for less. The same could be said of competitors like the BMW X5 and Audi Q7, though neither of them offer hybrid variants at the moment.
If you want the Range Rover badge, you have to consider if the plug-in capabilities are worth the $5,950 premium over the gas-powered Range Rover Sport. If you do a lot of highway driving, the answer is probably no. The hybrid returned around 22 miles per gallon on the highway once the batteries were drained, which didn't strike us as impressive.
For a very specific buyer, the Range Rover Sport P400e makes sense. If you're willing to pay up for a stylish SUV with a big name but want to do gas-free city driving while still having a gas motor for longer trips, this is your best bet.
But that's an incredibly specific use case. There are cheaper Range Rovers, cheaper plug-in hybrids, cheaper midsize luxury SUVs and even comparably priced all-electric options like Jaguar I-Pace or Tesla Model X.
It's a beautiful car and it drives well, but the Range Rover Sport P400e doesn't make sense for most people.
Driving Experience: 4
Price as tested: $93,200
*Ratings out of 5.