Luxury and diesel go hand in hand.
On a recent launch of the 2016 Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6 in Sedona, Arizona, we were put to the test rock crawling through red canyons, deserts, and rutted roads. Every year the Range Rover gets easier to drive and the new edition has technology that allows you to take your feet off the pedal on rough terrain. But that still doesn’t stop you from needing to know your boundaries. Our instructor, Jim West, gave me enough encouragement to make me feel awesome.
When I first experienced driving off-road in Land Rovers many years ago, it wasn’t so counterintuitive. In fact, I had to think about which gear to use for what type of terrain; the vehicle didn’t do it seamlessly.
But the off-road technology isn’t all that has changed. The big news for 2016 is both new Range Rovers run on diesel. The models deliver 25 miles per gallon combined (22 city, 29 highway), a 32 percent improvement over the supercharged V6 gasoline engine.
As Peter Wright, Vehicle Engineering Manager, at Land Rover, explained, ”Globally more than 50% of sales come from a diesel power train. Over the last six years, we have seen a rapid growth in diesel customers.”
The case for diesel
If given a choice, I’d choose diesel over gas for any vehicle – diesel has a quicker, more responsive feel. The Td6 Range Rover diesel models are also more fuel-efficient than their gas-powered counterparts and have more pulling power making these models better for off-roading and hauling large loads.
Quicker acceleration is also a benefit in the diesel powered Range Rover Sport Td6 and Range Rover Td6. These models accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.1 and 7.4 seconds respectively, compared to 6.9 and 7.1 seconds for gasoline V6 models.
Fuel economy in the diesel models is fab! The Range RoverTd6 and RR Sport Td6 get 22 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the highway, a 32% step up from the gasoline V6 engine. Plus, total range increases to 658 miles.
And, it is surprisingly quiet thanks to the compacted graphite iron engine block which reduces overall vibration, isolating engine mounts, and an acoustic laminated windshield that keeps the outside sounds from coming into the cabin.
No more switching gears. Both the Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6 use full-time intelligent all wheel drive suspension with Terrain Response 2 technology that allows drivers to select one of the several modes. The new system can automatically switch between five settings — General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl. Each setting optimizes traction by adapting engine, transmission, differentials and chassis systems to match the terrain.
Also, standard technologies include hill descent control, dynamic stability control, electronic traction control, cornering brake control, electronic brake-force distribution, emergency brake assist, and anti-lock brakes.
Inside and out
There are no significant design changes for 2016 – both Td6 models retain the elegant and sophisticated DNA of their heritage. Options like black surrounds on the grille, fog lamps, mirrors and red brake calipers tone up the Range Rover Sport Td6. Inside, high-grade leathers, specialized wood veneers, aluminum trims and stainless steel pedals are just some of the embellishments that make the cabin like your living room.
Joe Eberhardt, President and CEO Jaguar Land Rover North America, said, “We intend to roll out fuel-efficient diesel-powered vehicles across Jaguar and Land Rover lineups on virtually every model over the next three years. Starting with the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Td6 Diesel, almost every vehicle in the Jaguar and Land Rover line up will offer an optional diesel powertrain delivering anywhere from 20 to 30 percent improvement in fuel economy versus the comparable gasoline version.”
Base price to highest price
The first two diesel-powered Land Rover models to go on sale in North America will be the Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6. Starting price for the entry-level Range Rover Sport Td6 is $64,950 and $86,450 for the Range Rover Td6 — about $1500 over the gasoline-powered versions.
Notable improvements for 2016
The all terrain progress control makes driving in all kinds of environments so effortless. The Range Rover also has automatic access height to raise the suspension for off-road or lower for on-road driving, hands free gesture tailgate and improved user interface one touch.
Disclosure: Travel and accommodations were provided by Range Rover; opinions expressed here are all my own.