Diesel engines shouldn’t be in luxury cars. They’re louder than gas engines, they smell, they run rougher and they pollute more. Right?
These stereotypes are founded in a piece of the truth with older diesel engines, but getting behind the wheel of a modern incarnation quickly dismisses any notion that these powerplants can’t be smooth, quiet and luxurious. That is exactly the case with the Land Rover Range Rover Td6 HSE.
A posh British luxo-barge, the Range Rover just began offering a diesel engine in North America for the 2016 model year.Luxury DieselPower in this version of the Rover comes from a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel that makes 254 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, the latter coming on at 1,750 rpm. All the power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed transmission, which handles shifting beautifully.At idle, a few small clicks and a low rumble pronounce this Range Rover as a diesel, but once underway, it becomes harder to discern the difference because this engine is so quiet. Not only does it sound refined, it drives like it belongs in a $100,000 luxury vehicle.
Upshifts are perfectly smooth while downshifts are timed just right as to not allow too much engine braking. Running through all eight ratios happens fairly quickly and the Range Rover is plenty fast. Hitting 62 mph takes 7.4 seconds, which is just a little slower than the supercharged gas-powered V6.Cruising down the interstate is a drama-free affair with this engine, while being inside the Range Rover makes it all the more luxurious. A nicely weighted steering wheel combined with the overall weight, which sits around 5,600 lbs, gives it a heavyset feeling while cruising, nicely planting the wheels into the pavement.
Comfy Cruiser or Trail BasherBest of all, the Range Rover isn’t just an elegant cruiser. This SUV can pull you through a mud bog or over a mountain with loads of low-end torque and thanks to the Range Rover’s famous off-road prowess. An air suspension system will lift the body to help you clear obstacles, while drive settings like Mud and Sand will tailor the Range’s drive to make sure you don’t get stuck. Oh, and did we mention all that low-end torque?
Sure, it will never match the unbridled power found in the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 gas burner, but you also won’t need to live at the gas station.
The benefits of going diesel are pretty clear. Fuel economy for this mammoth is pegged at 22 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway and 25 mpg combined. That means that opting for the diesel over the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 will save you nine mpg combined, while the diesel bests the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 by a healthy margin of six mpg.
In our week with the Range Rover diesel, we managed a solid 24 mpg average, just a tick below the combined rating. This is exactly what Land Rover is hoping will draw buyers to this engine, as before the diesel model, fuel economy wasn’t exactly the Rover’s strength.Having diesel power might be new to the modern Range Rover, but simple, elegant luxury has always been the name of the game and the Range Rover continues to deliver. With a theme of less is more, interior design in this SUV is stunning. It’s the total opposite of the button overload you get from a German luxury SUV or the tech-filled interior of a Japanese luxury SUV. The leather is sumptuous and feels rich to the touch, coddling the occupants of this luxury beast.Technology isn’t in short supply here, either. The information screen in the driver’s instrument clusteris clean and fairly easy to navigate, while the infotainment system in the center stack is also a generally stress-free affair.
Opting for the diesel engine over the supercharged gasoline V6 only costs $2,000, and remember, you will get roughly five to six mpg better in the fuel economy department while giving up just about nothing when it comes to speed or comfort. In the long run, the diesel will save you money.
When all the options are added up, our test unit rings in at $108,946 in the U.S., which is comparable to a Mercedes-Benz GLS550, though at the base level, the Mercedes undercuts the Range Rover by about $20,000.
Audi will sell you a loaded-up Q7 for around $87,000, easily coming in as the bargain in the segment.But neither of those Teutonic luxury SUVs can match the all-around skills of the Range Rover, which can handle itself with poise whether on a race track or in a mud bog.
The Verdict: 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Td6 Review
Adding this diesel unit to the Range Rover only enhances this SUV. No loss of comfort or luxury is apparent, while fuel economy and performance are both stellar.In the search for an all-around, go-anywhere luxury SUV, few can match the Land Rover Range Rover.