Embarking on an urban safari may involve excursions as mundane as a trip to the grocery or big-box store or fording a stream during a flash flood in Texas Hill Country. Regardless, discerning SUV buyers want the best, even if things could possibly begin to get wet and wild.
Land Rover has a fix for that, in the form of their ultimate 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6.
The legend continues.
Driving in a Range Rover has the potential to make its occupants feel like a pro athlete, a supermodel, or both. Hell, almost every Land Rover can do that. Ownership of a Range Rover becomes less a means to a destination and more an event, every time you slide upward into the seat. Completely revised in 2013, the Ranger now drives on an all-aluminum platform, which seats five, with improved rigidity, using aerospace technology and fasteners for an increased level of fuel efficiency. Reduced weight FTW! Other subtle improvements have made their way into the 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6, as well.
Power comes from a 3.0-liter V6 direct-injection diesel with single turbocharger. A DOHC design, it brings 254 ponies to the table. Yes, we paused to yawn as well, until we found that the engine produces a whopping 440 lb-ft of torque at a barely breathing 1,750 rpm. That power is transmitted to the full-time AWD system via a ZF electronically controlled eight-speed automatic transmission with CommandShift for Normal, Sport and Manual shift modes, and a two-speed electronic transfer gearbox. Newly available for the 2016 model year, the 3.0-liter diesel is capable of 22 City / 29 Highway, with 25 mpg combined. A 23.5-gallon fuel tank will let this 4,883-pound vehicle go 658 miles between fill-ups. Ours was equipped with the Rover Tow Package, which is complete with a receiver and electrical connector for 7,716-pounds of pulling power.
A Range Rover wouldn’t be a Ranger without the brand’s Terrain Response2 active dynamics system which adapts from General, Snow, Mud, and Sandy terrains, as well as hill descent, all while on the fly. A newer All-Terrain Progress Control system is available for what is essentially off-road cruise control.
Our tester was also equipped with the Land Rover Driver Assistance Package ($2,900) complete which included lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition, perpendicular and parallel park and park exiting, 360-degree park distance control, head-up display, WiFi, and soft door closings.
The Range Rover comes in five trim levels beginning with a standard Base model and graduating to HSE, Supercharged, Autobiography, and SV Autobiography versions. Buyers can between our diesel-powered model, and other petrol versions, depending on trim level. There is also a gasoline-powered Long Wheel Base (LWB) version with added rear seat legroom. The Td6 Diesel engine option is only available on the base and HSE models. They ride on wheels ranging from 20-to-22 inches.
It’s just the thing to compete against the likes of the Audi Q7, the Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz GL-class. At the outside extreme, count on a good seeing to by the new Bentley Bentayga.
Getting inside the Ranger is a practiced affair, with more perceptive drivers climbing in melon-first, before sliding their butts onto the front bucket seats. The Range Rover’s interior tends to coddle its occupants, cradling them in their heavily bolstered buckets, which happened to be heated and ventilated, thank you very much. In South Florida, with its attendant heat and humidity, and considering that said buckets are shod in coalmine hued black leather, such ventilated skins should be considered a birthright. There is no third row seating and as a result, the rear seat has tons of legroom. Oligarchs and the like can take advantage of the four-person executive seating specification and its expanded center console and available coolbox. The cargo area holds 32.1-cubic feet behind the second row. Fold those seats forward and the capacity grows to 71.7-cubic feet.
The in-car entertainment/navigation/communications system is much improved over the previous versions but we still find it dating itself when compared with vehicles of lesser stature. In addition to its unintentionally retro design, it requires a stretch across the cabin to access some of the menu selection buttons. But from an audio reproducing standpoint, the Meridian 825 watt system has just a handful of peers. With the Ranger being built for right and left hand drive markets, it is fascinating to see where practical and efficient dashboard and firewall designs come into play that will ease construction of the appropriate spec vehicle for that particular market.
As we mentioned above, driving a Range Rover, truly makes the slightest drive into an epic adventure. Acceleration is abundant due to the Td6’s 440 lb-ft of torque and the 254 horsepower. The one thing we have found through the years is that a typical Land Rover Range Rover buyer will be interested in comfort, which the RR provides in spades, but not without a bit of side wallow. Sensors on the Terrain Response2 system cause the adaptable ride system to constantly change with the situation at hand, through inflation or deflation of the vehicle’s airbags, whether on a gravel road, with ruts and bumps or a freshly laid, mirror-smooth finish.
In the standard drive mode, it is a much more compliant ride. But what if you are feeling noncompliant? Just pop it into Sport mode, which firms up the steering, lowers the suspension and remaps the throttle. The setting transforms the HSE into a much more capable vehicle with improved handling and road dynamics. After bouncing around the dial, it is here that we spent most of our drive time in.
Range Rover owner’s buy-in with the full expectation that they are purchasing one of the best, if not THE best of the bunch in high-zoot luxury SUVs. And they are. But sadly, it is rare this Ranger gets so dirty that it needs an undercarriage cleaning, because simply put, the Range Rover owner is typically not as adventurous as their vehicle. Still, like an auto club membership, it’s nice to know it’s there if you need it.
Refreshed in 2013, the look is nearing middle age, where a few nips and tucks might be appropriate, especially in light of the segment-redefining introduction of the Bentley Bentayga. Still, the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover HSE Td6 is a vehicle that is full on with its luxury and capabilities.
2016 Range Rover HSE Td6: Base MSRP: $93,450. Price as tested: $103,925.
Lauren Fix is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted automotive expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics, energy and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward. Follow Lauren on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram