What should have been a landmark event – a Range Rover that can average up to 29 to the gallon and cruise for 650 miles on a single tank – was blown to smithereens by news of VW’s cheating.
Range Rover Td6
Can Land Rover recover, even though it uses no emissions-defeating technology in its well-proven 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 TD6 engines? Only time will tell.
But the reality is that, for the time being, I reckon few buyers will want to boast to friends and family that they’ve just become the proud owner of a brand new Range Rover diesel. You bought a diesel?
Which is a pity because both the new 2016 Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Td6 are remarkable machines. Not only are they capable of tremendous fuel economy and low, low emissions, but they’re also a true joy to drive.
Range Rover Sport Td6
Having a stump-pulling 440 lb-ft of torque available from just 1,750rpm delivers slingshot low-speed and mid-range acceleration. Passing that lumbering 18-wheel on a two-lane has never been easier, or safer. Merging with fast-moving Interstate traffic takes just a prod of the throttle.
And if you tow a horsebox, or a boat or car trailer, the Range Rover’s diesel V6 is like having a team of Clydesdales hooked to your front bumper.
I’ve just spent a couple of days sampling both Range Rover models on and off road in the wilds of Arizona, and it was hard not to come away thoroughly impressed by their true breadth of capability.
Range Rover Sport Td6
The very first thing you notice is their remarkable refinement. From behind the wheel it’s pretty near impossible to detect you’re driving a diesel. There’s no clatter or chatter, no rattle or rumble.
In fact Land Rover boasts that in ‘blind’ tests of the new Td6 against similar gasoline-engined models, carried out with potential customers in three major U.S. cities, not one person correctly identified they were driving a diesel. I can believe it.
The give-away however, is that sensational low-speed thrust that really squeezes you back into the seat. It’s not surprising considering the Td6 diesel delivers almost the same amount of torque as the honking 5.0-liter V8 in the Range Rover Supercharged.
But it is fuel economy that really sets the diesel apart. EPA estimated show the Range Rover Td6 models can deliver an impressive 25mpg city/highway combined. That’s a 25 per cent improvement over the supercharged V6 gas engine.
And on the highway alone, owners can expect close to 30 to the gallon, which for a 5000-pound sport-ute, is remarkable.
But for me, who hates the hassle of filling-up, the real appeal is the range. Up to 650 miles on a tank means Atlanta to Miami without a stop.
To encourage buyers to opt for these diesel models, Land Rover is pricing the Td6 at just $1,500 more than equivalent gasoline-powered versions. That means $66,450 for the Range Rover Sport SE and $86,450 for the Range Rover Td6.
These just might be the best models in the Land Rover range. Just don’t tell anyone you bought a diesel.