2016 Range Rover Sport 4WD 4dr Diesel HSE Review By Steve Purdy
...the Range Rover is premium in every way.
2016 RANGE ROVER SPORT HSE TD6
Review by Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Here at the Michigan Bureau of The Auto Channel we review just about every car and light truck made. We are near Detroit where usually-flush press fleets keep us busier than a frog on a freeway trying to spend a little time with, and writing stories about, each and every vehicle you can buy. Yes, it is tough work, but someone has to do it.
This week our focus is on the new Range Rover Sport HSE. The “Td6” in its name means 6-cylinder turbo diesel. Being a diesel fan, notwithstanding VW’s diesel emissions cheating scandal, I’ve been looking forward to this one. They delivered it to the Cracker Barrel where I was breakfasting with some friends, a couple of whom are knowledgeable and enthusiastic car guys. Of course they wanted to come take a look at it as our group broke up. When I started it up none of us thought it was a diesel. We had to pop the hood and listen carefully to perceive the slow idle and characteristic tick of the compression ignition engine.
We noticed right away that the window sticker shows just over 84-grand on its bottom line. That sounds like a lot, and it certain is, but the Ranger Rover is premium in every way. A cursory glance by someone not attuned to cars and trucks could mistake this for a new Ford Explorer, an SUV that moves upscale with every redesign. The profile and particularly the front styling are similar. A loaded Explorer will probably get you well over 50 grand but you won’t get the heritage, prestige and some of the off-road features that are part of the Range Rover.
Climbing up into this classy truck we immediately see we are in a high-end luxury vehicle. Wood, leather and metal trim dress the comfortable cabin in high style. Seats are generous, well-bolstered, heated, cooled, leather clad and vastly adjustable. The relatively conservative design of the dash, IP and sloping center stack makes for good functionality and aesthetic appeal. Ergonomics are a bit strange as many functions do no respond immediately to stimuli. For example, when we adjust the HVAC fan speed, one way or the other, it waits a full three seconds before slowly doing what we ask. I’m wondering if they think that makes things feel more luxurious. Some of the functions managed on the decent sized multi-purpose touch screen are less than intuitive but, like most systems, will take just some learning and acclimating.
This is a small to mid-size SUV/CUV so the rear seat offers modest but adequate space for three. A center armrest with cup holders folds out of the seatback and the seatbacks fold 60/40 easily for extra utility. The optional panoramic sunroof extends well to the rear with an effective screen when you don’t want the sun or the view. Rear cargo area offers a decent 27.7 cubic-feet for our stuff and 62.2 with seatbacks folded, considerably more than the new Lexus RX.
The turbo-diesel V6 under the Range Rover Sport’s broad hood displaces 3.0 liters and makes a substantial 443 pound-feet of torque augmenting a decent 254 horsepower. That means low-end grunt takes precedence over higher end thrust, as with all diesel engines. We noticed this early on as we put our foot into it handily getting onto a busy freeway with short ramp. But later, trying to make a quick transition from 60-mph to 80 in order to get around a dawdler, it felt a like a task beyond its will. The EPA estimates we’ll get about 29-mpg on the highway, 22 in the city and 25-mpg combined. Our experience this week confirms those numbers are right in the ballpark.
In spite of having owned a couple of dismal diesels in the 1980s I’m still a fan of the “oil burners.” Today’s diesels are as sophisticated as any powertrain in the consumer market. They are fast, clean, quiet and durable. Some with the Blue-Tec emissions system claim the air exiting the exhaust pipe is cleaner than the air going into the intake. Diesels get better fuel mileage than a gasoline engine, so, although diesel fuel costs more than gasoline the economics are a wash. Anytime diesel is less than that, like now when the fuels cost about the same, it can make economic sense to go with diesel.
Driving dynamics rank with the best of luxury SUVs. Ride is firm and precise with generally good steering feedback. You’d not want to compete on a slalom course but you could lead the pack on an off-road drive and you could look as cool as anyone pulling up to the valet stand at the opera. Those without big-vehicle experience will not be intimidated by its size or handling in everyday driving.
The company’s new vehicle warranty covers the whole vehicle for 4 years or 50,000 miles.
Yes, the Range Rover Sport is a bit pricey, even without the costly diesel powertrain and other options. Content, quality, heritage and capability will justify the cost for those who can afford one. For those without such deep pockets, and without the need for optimal off-road credentials, plenty other options exist (Find All Options and Trim Levels Below).
©Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved
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