By BOB GRITZINGER | Contributing Editor Toyota may have finally…
Few car names elicit an impressed response of envy like Range Rover. It’s a brand with a long history of upscale interiors and classically designed exteriors — all built to somehow accomplish everything you need from a workhorse yet desire from a luxury vehicle.
True, your visions of grandeur as a Range Rover owner may quickly be spoiled by the prospect of frequent and expensive repairs in your future. (That’s what leasing is for!) Still, if you were to ask someone if they’d splurge to own a Range Rover they’d probably choose it anyway. I know I’d at least consider it.
Entering and exiting the Range Rover Sport diesel is definitely a step above (both figuratively and literally!) our daily driver — a 2013 BMW X3 35i. The seven-seater is grandiose in the best of ways, yet somehow, it remains elegantly simple. From the clean, linear dash to the straightforward controls in the center stack, this vehicle is all about the user experience. It evokes the same feeling of engagement and interaction as if visiting a well-designed and programmed modern website. Range Rover has assigned each button, control and gauge a corresponding function for interacting with its user. Ambient lighting fades up or down or, perhaps, a gentle ping provides an important notification. As they say, “The devil is in the details,” and Land Rover has ruled out any evil clunkiness lurking inside this luxurious SUV.
The 2016 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 (that’s High-Specification Equipment Turbodiesel V6) arrived in Santorini Black, a classic flat black with the slightest metallic fleck and a gorgeous, supple beige leather interior.
Initially, I thought our model was the 5.0-Liter because the vehicle accelerated off-the-line with such zeal. It just so happened it was garnering that power from a capable 3.0L engine that puts out 254 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, reaching peak torque at just 1,750 rpm. This low-end torque is terrific for stomping others after a red light turns to green but also for mountainous and rough terrain, not to mention towing up to 7,716 pounds behind you.
Most surprising is that despite its size, the Range Rover Sport diesel is incredibly efficient. We consistently garnered 25 mpg in combined driving, achieving closer to 28 mpg on the highway. What’s even more amazing is this vehicle can go 658 miles before running on fumes thanks to a nearly 24-gallon fuel tank. That could take you from Washington, D.C. to New York City and back again on a single tank, leaving you another 200 miles for driving around town.
Helping that fuel economy rating are an all-aluminum platform Range Rover models moved to a few years ago and a water-cooled turbocharger. Additionally, the brand addresses greenhouse gas emissions through its innovative Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system that combines a special fluid with harmful NOx emissions, coverting them into harmless nitrogen gas before existing the exhaust.
New measures to shore up the engine block and a laminated windshield make this luxury diesel ute especially quiet and refined. We found the ride to be solid and almost silent. No matter how many potholes were thrown our way, the Range Rover took them like a champ, keeping the tossed-in-a-washing-machine feeling at bay.
For those of you cross shopping shorter, more compact utility vehicles (like the Range Rover Evoque), it’s worth noting that the center of gravity rests pretty high on this model, making tight turns at speed a bit unforgiving. Nothing to worry about with regards to rollover, but an important differentiator given the “Sport” in its name.
What the Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 absolutely is, however, is a fully capable off-roading machine that is perfectly refined enough to put back on its tuxedo and take you to the fanciest restaurant in town following a day dancing in the dirt.
So, how much is this beautiful beast going to cost you?
Our tester started at $71,450 but quickly made it into the $80’s thanks to $13,000 in options. What kind of options are worth 13-G’s, you say? It includes mood lighting, parallel and perpendicular park assist, WIFI enablement, massive panoramic sunroof, and two electronic rear seats as part of a “5+2” seating package (no, they’re not meant to be ejector seats for the two most rotten kids in the car) among other features.
The seven-seater is grandiose in the best of ways, yet somehow, it remains elegantly simple.
All around, the 2016 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 is a great entry point for aspiring buyers looking for the total luxury package. Its price is comparable to other high-end sport utilities on the market, yet it is 32 percent more fuel efficient than its supercharged V6 gasoline sibling. All that is terrific, but keep an eye out for repair costs that could potentially set you over budget. We’d recommend leasing before choosing to buy, that way you’ll know exactly what type of vehicle you’re getting before its fully yours.