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2016 Range Rover Td6 HSE Review

More power, less fuel with the 2016 Range Rover Td6

  • Land Rover Td6 2016-main

THE PROS & CONS

    • What’s Best: Superb interior craftsmanship, legendary off road ability
    • What’s Worst: I can’t afford one
    • What’s Interesting: These $100K-plus vehicles will ford nearly three feet of water

2016 Range Rover Td6 HSE at a glance

BODY STYLE: full-size sport utility

DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, four-wheel-drive with terrain select

ENGINE: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel (254 hp, 440 lb/ft of torque at 1,750 rpm) with eight-speed automatic transmission

CARGO: 909 litres behind second row, 2,030 litres with seats folded

GROUND CLEARANCE: 295 mm/11.6 inches in off-road mode

WADING DEPTH: 35.4 inches (900 mm) in off-road mode

FUEL ECONOMY: 22/28/25 mpg (US gallons – city/hwy/comb)

PRICE: (as tested) $108,490 plus Driver Tech Pack $2,500; InControl Protect $450; 825 watt Meridian Premium Surround $1,850; 22 inch alloys $3,500; towing package $900; front/rear Climate Comfort Pack $3900; wood/leather steering $425; illuminated treadplates $1200, adaptive cruise control $1500; Premium Pack $1100; freight $1575; Green tax $100: total $127,490.

2016 Range Rover Td6

There’s been no shortage of news about diesel engines lately.

And little of it good.

But let’s set aside VW’s woes for a moment and consider that diesel still has a positive story to tell, be it about fuel economy or performance.

For starters, this fuel is more energy dense than gasoline, and because of how it’s delivered to each cylinder – injected after, not with the air – it can achieve higher compressions.

Which means diesel will produce more work from the same amount of fuel, not to mention loads more torque from the same displacement. Particularly with a turbo, where this added grunt comes in at lower rpms.

On all counts, this is a huge advantage for gas-sucking work trucks that need tow or haul. It’s also ideal for European commuters, where the rate at the pumps can be two bucks a litre and more.

2016 Range Rover Td6  tow

And although Americans haven’t yet embraced diesel, Canadians are more partial.

We’ve been looking longingly across the pond at the vast selection of Euro models. But that being said, will diesel resonate with those of us buying $100K-plus luxury SUVs?

My current tester, the 2016 Range Rover Td6 HSE, should test these waters.

Powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine, it is expected to achieve 32 per cent better fuel economy than its V6 gas sibling. My own result was 9.8 L/100 km, rivalling the 25 mpg combined city/hwy fuel economy on the US spec sheet. Canadian figures were unavailable at time of writing.

Still, that’s not bad for something this large, tipping the scales at roughly 5,000 lbs.

The company has put much thought into engine design, with the block made of compacted graphite iron – lighter and stronger than regular cast iron and aluminum. Other tweaks include a low-pressure EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system, two-stage oil pump (to reduce engine losses) and revised fuel injectors.

Emissions are cleaned up with an exhaust-scrubbing system that employs “diesel exhaust fluid” (DEF) to reduce NOx and turn it into harmless nitrogen gas.

The DEF reservoir is under that hood and should hold enough fluid for about 10,000 miles (16,000 km).

Such eco friendliness won’t go unnoticed by Range Rover’s well-heeled buyers, as long as performance is up to scratch.

RELATED: 2015 Range Rover Evoque Review

And it is.

The Td6’s 3.0-litre mill delivers 254 hp, and more importantly, 440 lb/ft of torque coming in at a low 1,750 rpm. That is a big increase over the gas burner that produces its 332 lb/ft at 3,500 rpm.

This makes the Td6 ideal for towing and off roading where ample torque in needed in lower gears.

It also allows this bulky SUV to move briskly off the line – especially in ‘sport’ mode – with the eight-speed automatic firing off gears smoothly and without pause. Zero to 60 mph takes only 7.4 seconds, which nearly matches the supercharged gas V6 model.

2016 Range Rover Td6  gear

Of course, the 510-hp, supercharged V8 is quicker (0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds), but purchasing a Range Rover is not about how swiftly you arrive at a destination. It’s about the craftsmanship, comfort and brand cachet that has built a clientele that includes both celebs and Royals.

My tester’s interior was smartly appointed in two-tone beige and charcoal – looking very modern and with a minimum of switchgear. The eight-inch infotainment screen takes care of audio, climate, phone, navigation and vehicle settings, although a set of knobs and switches below control HVAC and the heated/cooled front seats.

2016 Range Rover Td6  interior

On that note, the front seats also include a massage function with settings for intensity and for targeting specific areas of your back. Perfect – with the heat – for those early morning commutes.

Back seat occupants as well needn’t be shortchanged on amenities.

There’s loads of head and legroom in the second row, where passengers can be treated to nearly all the comforts up front. This includes available power adjustable seats (with lumbar), as well as both heating and cooling. There’s also a separate HVAC unit and dual 12-volt powerpoints.

These seats can also be folded and raised via power buttons in the 909-litre cargo hold. Front seats automatically move forward while the back seats fold, making it easy to max out space at 2,030 litres for larger items. The middle seat position also drops forward as a pass-through for long objects, like skis.

2016 Range Rover Td6 cargo

I’m not one to go bush bashing in a luxury ride, but you can in a Range Rover.

Beneath the posh fittings is an advanced Terrain Response system, with settings for general use, grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, sand and rock crawl. As well, you can separately raise and lower the air suspension, although programs like rock crawl will automatically do this.

The latter setting, which requires the low range on its standard two-speed transfer case, can take you through some gnarly terrain. I, however, kept this $126K vehicle ($108,490 plus $17,325 in options) on the asphalt the entire week.

There’s a good chance my technique would pass muster, but this wasn’t the right vehicle to overestimate my off-roading skills.

No doubt the press team at Land Rover was relieved.

2016 Range Rover Td6 rear

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