When touring the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, the Range Rover Sport will help translate the road
Author Joe Keohane Illustration Brett Affrunti
Perthshire’s Blair Castle, the gleaming whitewashed seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and home to the last remaining private army in Europe, is an imposing place. But our Sport—fittingly in Scotia Gray—is an unflinching car, with a stern, masculine look and aggressive posture that serves you well in comparison with the surroundings. That is, until you step into the main entrance hall—which has walls lined entirely with bouquets of swords and rifles—at which point that nagging sense of inadequacy returns.
Our Sport was plush and comfortable, with ivory leather seats and ebony flourishes, but what truly elevated the experience was the panoramic roof and the 23-speaker, 1,700-watt Meridian audio system. Opening the former while playing Bach’s “The Art of Fugue” on the latter stunned us into silence as we drove the A87 through the ominously beautiful Five Sisters of Kintail Mountains en route to the Isle of Skye. (Once we were there, the capacious interior served us well as a repository for the case of whisky we acquired at the Talisker distillery.)
With high ground clearance and the ingenious “Wade Sensing” feature, which tells you when you’re getting too deep into water (deeper than the impressive 33.5-inch wading capability), the Sport is made for the muck. On the hair-raisingly narrow and winding road out to the Quiraing—a hike along the Trotternish Ridge, which looks like Mars, only green—we wound up sliding into a muddy culvert thanks to an oncoming driver who didn’t quite pull all the way left. The driver cheerfully apologized, and we popped out with no trouble.
On the last leg of our trip, driving the stunning, glimmering west coast from Skye to Glasgow, the eight-speed, 3-liter SDV6 engine made quick work of any slowpokes clogging up the two-track road. The Sport can go 0–60 in 6.8 seconds, all without burning a lot of fuel: It gets 32.5 mpg in the city and 41.5 mpg in the country, driven by a cool feature in which the engine shuts off if you pause for a few seconds, then noiselessly starts back up when you take your foot off the brake. In a place where everything, everywhere you look, is beautiful, this is a very good feature to have.