2016 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6
I realize that I’m probably not speaking to the Range Rover Sport V8 Supercharged or SVR owner already enjoying zero to 60 mph times of 5.0 and 4.5 seconds respectively, unless they feel a newfound calling to delve deeper into the wild green yonder and therefore require much-improved fuel economy to do so. While such thriftiness has its merits off-road, most will appreciate the Sport Td6’s impressive 22 mpg city, 29 highway and 25 combined EPA rating even more while attending to their regular daily duties, while its 7.1-second sprint to 60 is hardly lacking.
This is a 32-percent advantage over the gasoline-powered V6, while total range goes up by eight percent to a grand total of 653 miles on a single tank, plus take note that your anti-SUV neighbors had better be criticizing from something more efficient than a V6-powered mid-size sedan, as that’s right about where the new Td6′ emissions register. And just in case you’re spooked by a certain German manufacturer’s diesel scandal, Land Rover made sure its diesels are U.S. certified by including a special selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system that injects a urea-based fluid into the exhaust flow, plus recirculating low-pressure exhaust-gases (EGR) through an engine-mounted cooler ahead of reentering the combustion chamber. Additional efficiency measures include a low-friction cam-to-cam chain, plus low-friction radial shaft seals, pistons and rings; as well as a two-stage oil pump design, and high-pressure 2000-bar injectors.
Joined up to an eight-speed automatic with paddles it’s a wonderfully smooth and soothingly quiet alternative to gasoline power, while its ability to drive farther between fill-ups improves an important aspect of the luxury experience.
As usual, Land Rover’s legendary four-wheel drive capability with Terrain Response adds confidence whether off-road or on, albeit this particular tester wasn’t outfitted with the optional Extra Duty package that includes the more sophisticated Terrain Response 2 system with additional road/trail settings, a high and low range Twin Speed transfer case, All Terrain Progress Control, and Adaptive Dynamics, so it’s probably best that I kept to paved surfaces, yet even if rain or snow had made things slippery I’m sure it would have remained stably within its lane. I’ve learned this first-hand during mid-winter jaunts up local ski hills and longer runs in multiple Land Rover and Range Rover models, sometimes traveling over snow, other times taking to fast-paced gravel roads and once even tackling the trail as part of the Land Rover Experience Driving School. No matter the road traveled or its condition the SUV at my command made my work light while keeping everyone onboard ultimately comfortable.
Prior to this 2016 Sport HSE Td6 I tested a near identical 2015 Sport HSE with the base supercharged 3.0-liter gasoline-fueled V6 that’s good for 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. It’s fractionally quicker off the line, but its claimed 17 mpg city, 23 highway and 19 combined fuel economy isn’t quite as appealing, and it’s difficult to argue against 440 lb-ft of 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel torque available from just 1,750 rpm when it comes time to tow. To be clear it’s not that the Sport’s 7,716-lb tow rating is any better, but rather that more torque is available lower down the rev range to make throttle application easier and smoother, while all Sport’s are aided by standard trailer stability assist.
On that note don’t be turned off by the Td6’s seemingly low 254 horsepower rating, which is 86 horsepower lower than the base engine, but rather focus on the 108 lb-ft of additional torque. What’s more, you and your passengers will only notice some hushed diesel clatter when idling with the windows opened, engine sound almost imperceptible with the glass sealed thanks to vibration reducing compacted graphite iron engine block construction and layers of sound deadening material attached to the firewall, whereas the auditory sensation at full throttle is similarly pleasing albeit a lower more guttural sound, closer to the supercharged V8.
Ride quality with both trims is excellent thanks to a standard air suspension that also improves handling, the latter being one of the Sport’s key attributes since the model arrived on the scene in 2005 and even more so when it lost some 700 to 800 lbs (depending on trim) as part of a new aluminum-intensive 2014 model year diet, this despite gaining 7.1 inches in wheelbase and 4.0 inches overall to a new fully mid-size length of 191 inches. The updated Sport combines Evoque styling cues with those of the full-size Range Rover, revised the year prior, for a much more rakish profile and arguably more attractive look from front to back.
Of course, it’s ultimately luxurious inside. To be clear, my tester was a step above the base SE model, also available with the new turbo-diesel. The move up to HSE includes 20-inch twinned five-spoke alloys, aluminum-look exterior trim detailing, auto high beams, front fog lamps, a power-sliding panoramic sunroof, heavy-duty branded aluminum tread plates, 14-way powered front seats with memory, heatable front seats, adjustable front armrests, Oxford perforated leather upholstery, and a universal garage door opener, this over and above features pulled up from the SE that included auto on/off HID headlamps with signature LEDs, passive access, pushbutton ignition, auto start/stop, an electromechanical parking brake, LED interior mood lighting, a full-color five-inch TFT instrument cluster, rain-sensing wipers, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment with navigation, 250-watt eight-speaker audio, forward and rearview parking cameras with active guidelines, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, satellite radio, dual-zone auto climate control, a power-adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors with a visual display, all the usual active and passive safety features, and so much more.
The base SE starts at $64,950 while HSE trim ups the window sticker to $69,950, my tester starting at $71,950 due to its surprisingly low $2,000 turbo-diesel upgrade, while Range Rover also replaced the HSE’s standard Zebrano hardwood with Grand Black Veneer and the beige headliner with black, both $350 upgrades. Its two additional options included an absolutely awesome sounding 825-watt 19-speaker Meridian audio system that was worth each and every one of its $1,100, plus a $1,600 Vision and Convenience package featuring soft-cinching door closure, a 360-degree surround camera, and configurable mood lighting, all of which resulted in $6,200 worth of options and an as-tested price of $78,150, excluding freight and dealer fees.
The list of features still available is much more exhaustive, including various alloy wheel and tire combinations, optional roof colors, adaptive cornering headlamps, deployable side steps, a head-up display, four-zone auto HVAC with separate rear controls, climate controlled front seats, a cooler in the center console, 16-way powered seats, a third row of seats, a 1,700-watt 23-speaker Meridian Signature Reference audio system, blindspot monitoring with closing vehicle sensing and reverse traffic detection, lane departure warning with traffic sign recognition, dual-screen rear seat entertainment, advanced apps and security features, adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist, autonomous emergency braking, active seatbelts, a towing package and more.
It goes without saying the Sport HSE’s interior was beyond reproach, with nearly every surface covered in soft touch synthetic or padded leather, metal, piano black lacquered hardwood or some other high-end material, only the lowest portions of the door panels and lower console sides done in harder plastic, but it’s purposely applied to withstand wear and tear and even still features a nice soft-painted finish. And it’s not just the quality of the materials used that makes the Range Rover feel so special, but rather the SUV’s substantive weight and solidity. Everything is so incredibly well made, especially the beautifully crafted rubberized metal switchgear. It’s a true cut above any competitive SUV.
On a more practical note the rear outboard seats are sculpted like those up front, and while capable for three, best for two extremely comfortable passengers. There’s no shortage of space so even extremely tall or large folks should feel right at home, while the beautifully finished and fully accommodating cargo compartment benefits from 40/20/40-split folding seatbacks, making for happy warm kids on the way back from the ski hill when rear seat heaters are added. By the numbers the Sport allows for 27.7 cubic feet of gear toting space behind the rear seat, 17.3 cubic feet of which can be stowed under the retractable tonneau cover, while folding all seats down results in 62.2 cubic feet of total luggage capacity.
Most reading this review already appreciate the Range Rover Sport as one of, if not the most impressive SUV in its class, but this Td6 designation brings an entirely new element of efficiency to the model, without noticeably impacting performance. That this turbo-diesel upgrade can be had so inexpensively means the difference can be paid off within the first year if you put on enough miles, or at least shortly thereafter, especially when factoring in cheaper diesel fuel compared to required premium unleaded for the base supercharged V6, making it the obvious choice for those wanting base SE or mid-grade HSE trim.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, American Auto Press Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, American Auto Press Copyright: American Auto Press