Sedona, AZ.– Even though the iconic Land Rover brand has been selling diesel models in Europe for the past two years, there were none to be had on our shores. Problem solved. Land Rover has just introduced not one, but two, of their first ever luxury diesel SUVs to the North American marketplace – The Range Rover Sport Td6 and full size Range Rover Td6.
Both new 2016 model Range Rover models, though differing in size, and possessing varying distinctive styling cues, are powered by the same 3.0-liter (2993 cc/182.6 cu.in.) DOHC, 24-valve, 254 horsepower, V6 diesel engine with direct injection and a single turbocharger. The efficient diesel also makes 443 pound feet of torque at 1,750 rpm, while delivering an EPA estimated 22-mpg city and a high of 29 mpg highway (combined 25 mpg), which represents a 32 percent improvement over the supercharged V6 gasoline engine for more than an annual savings of $450 in fuel. The total range increases to 658 miles for a gain of 8.0% for the Range Rover Sport and 3.3% for the Range Rover.
The longitudinally front mounted engines deliver their driving force through a ZF® 8-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with CommandShift™ (Normal, Sport and Manual shift modes); and locking torque converter to to all four wheels via Land Rover’s full time system.
Diesel engines have long been perceived by many as noisy and smelly, thanks to GM’s early offerings with diesel conversions. Land Rover has successfully overcome this perception – in fact, if one were to be blindfolded and taken cruising in either the Range Rover or Range Rover Sport Td6, they would be hard pressed to identify their ride as being diesel powered. The new diesel Rovers are extremely quiet thanks to innovative dual-isolation engine mounts that reduce engine noise in the cabin, along with an advanced bulkhead design that also cuts noise transfer and, there is no unusual odor present.
Visually, the exteriors of the new diesel powered Range Rovers resemble their gasoline fueled brethren. Unmistakably Range Rovers, the 2016 models represent refined, modern aerodynamic interpretations of familiar past design cues. Their distinctive silhouettes display a smooth, contemporary styling execution. The roofline slopes gently from front to rear presenting a floating image, thanks to the blacked out pillars from “A” to “D”. The “A” pillar exhibits a pronounced rearward rake. Unique signature headlamps feature LED light blade technology, displaying an interlocking circle design, with the main projector beams designed to resemble a camera lens. The rear lamps continue the stacked treatment of the outgoing model with a design that utilizes LED technology. The LED center high-mount stoplight is positioned under the tailgate spoiler.
Moving inside, the cabin’s elegance reflects that of the exterior with ample interior space for both passengers and cargo while retaining strong characteristic architectural forms emphasized by clean and elegant surfaces rendered with the finest leathers and veneers. The cabin’s centerpiece is the intersection between the horizontal elements of the instrument panel and the vertical lines of the center console. The broad center console creates a focal point with its sculptured surface appearing to float above the supporting trim, drawing attention to the material quality. The instrument panel and console’s clean lines reflect the effort to refine and simplify the interior, with the control layout featuring a simplified and manageable number of switches and knobs. Special attention was given to the comfort of rear seat passengers by offering significant legroom, plus the option of luxurious individualized seating.
There are varying grades of premium quality leather applied to the interior, covering nearly every surface from the seats and instrument panel to the doors and headlining. Seats and wrapped interior surfaces are finished with tailored twin-needle stitching. The choice of veneers and finishes, come from sustainable sources, and the sculptured veneer surfaces of the center console and door panels are hand crafted by experienced specialists. The focus on craftsmanship is further evidenced by metal details that provide contrast to the leather and veneer surfaces. Examples include the brushed aluminum pillars each side of the center console, the rotary transmission control with its machined finish, and the distinctive air vents with each blade highlighted by a line of satin chrome. The aluminum finish on the center console is created using a proprietary technique in which the aluminum material passes through more than 20 distinct processes to provide an exquisitely crafted finish.
My driving partner and I set out on our Range Rover drive experience which took us from Phoenix, AZ to Sedona in a Range Rover Sport Td6 with a Loire Blue metallic exterior and an Ebony and Ivory interior accented by brushed aluminum trim accents. The base sticker was set at $71,450. which escalated to $84,260 after factoring in the options, which included: the Front Climate Comfort & Visibility Package; the Driver Assistance Package; Extra Duty Package; Tow Package; 825 Watt Meridian™ Premium Audio; Sliding Panoramic Roof; Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist and Inland Freight charge. The following day, we piloted a Range Rover HSE Td6 finished outside in Corris Gray metallic and inside in Ebony with Grand Black Lacquer Wood Trim accents. Its base price was $93,450., with the final sticker totaling $106,675. After adding: the Vision Assist Package; Driver Assistance Package; Rover Tow Package; Rear Seat Entertainment; 825W Meridian Premium Audio; Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist; Heated wood & leather steering wheel; Ebony headliner; and Inland Transportation. Later on my home turf, I was able to spend more time in a Range Rover Sport HSE Td6. It was base priced at $71,450 and sported a Kaikoura Stone metallic exterior finish complemented by an Almond/Espresso/Almond Ivory interior. The final price was elevated to $84,260 after factoring in the optioal features, which included: the Front Climate Control and Visibility Package; Driver Assistance Package; Extra Duty Package; Tow Package; Meridian 825 Watt Premium Audio System; Sliding Panoramic Roof; Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist; and Inland Freight.
SUMMARY: The 2016 Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6 are both elegantly exquisite and extremely comfortable while managing to maintain their legendary and rugged capability for conquering even the most challenging off-road (or non-road) obstacles.
The Range Rover HSE Td6 was so smooth, that on a downhill freeway run after being misdirected by the Nav system, getting lost and running behind schedule, I noticed an Arizona Highway Patrol SUV parked in the meridian and reacted by glancing at the speedo which registered 87 mph, but in reality felt more like 60 – 65 mph, but however happened to be in a 75 mph speed limited area. The officer was a friendly sort who noted that I was actually clocked at 90 mph, but obligingly set us off in the right directionfor our destination with only a stern warning.
The new diesel-powered Range Rovers perform beautifully in virtually all driving scenarios from urban and suburban to off-road challenges. Turbocharged acceleration tended to plant one against the seat backs, while the ride was completely stable at high freeway speeds on either straight or twisty raids. Handling characteristics were outstanding with positive results.
New for 2016 is the All-Terrain Progress Control, Automatic Access Height, Hands-free Gesture Tailgate and improved user interface including Land Rover InControl® Remote & Protect, Land Rover InControl Apps, justDrive and more.
Bottom-line, if there was a feature missing, it very likely wasn’t needed. I couldn’t really think of anything that I would have added to the impressive inventory of equipment and features of either of my test models. They represented the absolute ultimate in luxury SUV travels and adventures.
In the final analysis, both the 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6 are superior full-sized luxury SUVs that are truly “Above and Beyond” (Land Rover’s tagline), as well as seemingly capable of going anywhere under any condition.
The diesel Range Rovers are superior in terms of fuel efficiency, with improved torque and seamless drivability while yielding lower running costs. Yes, Range Rovers are expensive and it’s possible to top the $200,000 mark with certain petrol versions, but you do get what you pay for.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport TD6
|Base Price:||$71,450. – RR Sport / $93,450. – RR Td6|
|Price as Tested:||$84,260. – RR Sport / $106,675. – RR Td6|
|Engine Type and Size:||3.0-liter (2993 cc/182.6 cu.in.) DOHC, 24-valve V6 diesel with direct injection and single turbocharger.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||254 @ Not listed rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||443 @ 1,750 rpm|
|Transmission:||ZF® 8-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with CommandShift™ (Normal, Sport and Manual shift modes); locking torque converter.|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / Full time four-wheel drive.|
|Suspension:||Front – SLA suspension with twin lower links with air springs/ CVD with Passive ARB
Rear – Integral link suspension with air springs/ CVD with Passive ARB
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with EBD, ABS, TCS, DSC, EBA, Hill Start Assist, GAC, EBP, ACC, HDC, GRC, RSC and TSA.
Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 255/55 R20 -110Y M&S mounted on 5-“V”-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase:115.1 inches – RR Spt / 115.0” RR HSE
Length Overall:191.2 inches – RR Spt / 197.2 RR HSE
Width:87.4 inches – with mirrors.
Height:70.1 inches – RR Spt / 73.8 RR HSE w/sunroof open.
Wading Depth: 33.5 inches – RR Spt Td6 / 35.4 RR HSE Td6
Min. Ground Clearance: 8.4 std / 10.9 OR* std. RR Spt Td6/ 8.88 std / 11.63 OR* RR HSE Td6
Approach angle: 24.3 std / 33 OR*- RR Spt Td6 / 26.0 std / 34.7 OR* RR HSE Td6
Departure Angle: 24.2-24.9 std / 27.2-31 OR*- RR Spt Td6 / 21.8-26 std / 26.9-37 OR* – RR HSE Td6
Breakover Angle: 19.4 std / 27.2 OR* (to exhaust)- RR Spt Td6 / 20.1 std / 28.3 OR* (to exhaust)- RR HSE Td6
Curb Weight:Curb Weight:4,709 lbs. – RR Spt Td6/ 4,918 lbs. – RR HSE Td6
Fuel Capacity:23.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates:22-mpg city / 29-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient:0.360 – 60 mph: 7.1 seconds – Range Rover Sport Td6 / 7.4 seconds – Range Rover Td6
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.