2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Episode 3319
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

With last year’s near total transformation of Land Rover’s Range Rover, sales for the ruggedly premium utility brand are up double digits. Indeed, November was one of their best U.S. sales months ever. Well, now they hope to spread a little of that success to their bestselling model, the Range Rover Sport. So, let’s find out if they can keep the momentum going. 

A big part of the 2014 Range Rover Sport’s appeal is, without a doubt, that “go anywhere in luxury” tradition of the Land Rover brand. But just like many other builders of traditional SUVs, if they want to increase sales numbers, as Land Rover surely does, their utilities will have to become even more refined. 

And, that’s clearly what was intended with the new Sport. Developed alongside the also-new Range Rover that launched just last year, the Sport shares the same all-aluminum architecture and 800-pound weight loss despite growing larger and more functional.

For differentiation, the Sport’s front-end styling is more Evoque than Range Rover, but with the slant-back image of previous generations still intact. It looks slick and rugged; though more than a few of our staffers also pointed out a resemblance to the Ford Explorer. The blacked out pillars and rear glass give it a wraparound visor treatment, with a thick spoiler topping the hatch.

V6 models ride on 19-inch wheels, V8s on 20s. Both V6 and V8 come supercharged, with an incredibly smooth 8-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4-wheel-drive. 

The brute of the two V’s is our tester’s 5.0-liter eight. It cranks out 510-horsepower and 461 lb-ft. of torque, and sounds nastier than any SUV we can remember.

But it’s the interior presents perhaps the biggest visual change where things are simpler, cleaner, more logical, all while becoming roomier. Space was sorely needed in the back seat where the added leg room is appreciated. Still even more is needed for normal adults so those in the front don’t have to move their seats forward.

New this year is an optional child-size third row. There are loads of interior choices for color and wood tones, and just about all the creature comforts you could ask for including a big sunroof and power rear hatch.  Everything works well, and the IP layout is excellent; a beautiful mix of needles and dials with the digital age meeting Land Rover tradition. 

Despite the increasingly refined nature, on the road it still feels like a truck, which is just fine by us. It soaks up road imperfections much better than before, there’s a commanding view from the driver’s seat, and no matter the road surface it feels incredibly composed, smooth, and never harsh. It’s probably the best riding SUV out there, managing to still feel like a Land Rover with that go anywhere sensation, just a super smooth one. 

Even at higher speeds, the Sport feels flat and sporty, making you want to go faster than you should through corners, but don’t worry, electronic nannies have your back. For a vehicle that weighs over 47–hundred pounds it responds very light. The Enhanced Electronic Air suspension’s Auto mode reacts promptly, and Dynamic mode firms things up to sport sedan territory. Land Rover claims it’s their most agile UTE ever, and we can’t help but agree. 

An early winter storm prevented us from really pushing the Sport to its limits at our test track, but did provide us a chance to fully experience Terrain Response 2’s snow setting. While the standard V6 is probably more than up to the task of carpooling and mall running, it’s big V8 power that we crave and the Sport has a huge amount of it, delivering it in a very luxury car-like fashion. 

Acceleration is brisk, hitting 60 in as little as 5.0-seconds. Of course you have to pay on the back end with Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 14-City, 19-Highway, and 16-Combined. We managed 16.6 miles-per-gallon of Premium in mixed driving. That makes for a poor Energy Impact Score, with 20.6-barrels of oil being consumed per year and 9.4-tons of CO2 emitted. 

If we’ve got a nit to pick, it’s the very noticeable stop/start system, though some harshness might be expected when you’re instantly igniting this much engine. But, you really don’t expect any roughness with a vehicle with a base price of $63,495. V8’s begin at $79,995. 

So you’ll need to bring the bucks, but you will be very satisfied; as there’s no denying that the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is vastly better than before. It’s a lot more refined without losing any of its Land Rover-ness. A formula that many other brands have been unable to duplicate, and a recipe that will keep the momentum going for Land Rover.


  • Engine: 5.0-liter
  • Horsepower: 510
  • Torque: 461 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.0 seconds
  • EPA: 14 mpg city/ 19 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 20.6 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 9.4 tons/yr
2023 Mazda3

2023 Mazda3

Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better

Episode 4304
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.

The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.

Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.

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A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.

That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.

The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.

At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.

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While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.

Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 227 | 250
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
  • EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined