The 2016 Range Rover lineup broadens with a luxurious new SVAutobiography model and a new Range Rover Td6 powered by a new turbodiesel V6 engine.
The 2016 Range Rover is in the fourth year of its generation, with another 40 years before that, enough time to get it right. Not to mention evolve into an SUV costing more than $100,000. We’ve driven the current Range Rover in Moroccan gale, over the Spanish steppes, and in wretched Atlanta traffic, and it has never failed us.
One beauty of the Range Rover is it hasn’t lost its shape. It will hopefully be a box forever. This latest-generation Range Rover is a box with curves and wraparound headlights. A long-wheelbase version stretches the box.
The Range Rover is Land Rover’s flagship.
Several engines are available. New for 2016 is the Range Rover Td6 with a turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 making 440 foot-pounds of torque and 254 horsepower that gets an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon Combined city and highway. Land Rover says the Range Rover Td6 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. Range Rover Td6 offers a range of more than 600 miles and retails for $1,500 more than the standard gasoline V6.
An all-aluminum supercharged V6 comes standard, making 380 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Every Range Rover gets a sharp paddle-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission built by ZF.
A supercharged 5.0-liter V8 making 510 horsepower comes on Range Rover Supercharged models.
The Range Rover rides like a tall sedan, while being renowned for its offroad capability, with up to 12 inches of ground clearance and Land Rover’s effortless Terrain Response system, using four modes with sensors dictating traction. Meanwhile it can tow 7700 pounds of horses or boats, even racecars.
Range Rover comes with a choice of 340-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 ($84,950) or 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 ($86,450), along with leather-trimmed upholstery, automatic tri-zone climate control, navigation. Range Rover HSE upgrades all the seats, is trimmed in full leather, and comes with panoramic sunroof, 20-inch wheels, a choice of a more powerful 380-hp V6 ($91,950) or turbodiesel ($93,450).
Range Rover Supercharged ($103,195) features the 510-hp V8, upgraded Adaptive Dynamics electronic air suspension, and 21-inch wheels. The Supercharged is available in the long-wheelbase version ($108,195). Autobiography models are available with bespoke luxury features. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination.)
Call the Range Rover’s lines streamlined classic, modern box. Windshield ever so slightly swept back, to a roof that appears to float, and a tail that’s ever so slightly swept up, with a split tailgate.
Its profile is SUV, while its lines are all clean, no chrome or crap on the sides. You would never mistake it for a Cadillac Escalade.
It’s contours are aero, even at the front end, with thin LED headlamps. Thanks to the slim roof pillars finished in black, the roof appears to float.
The front seats are tall and the glass low, so you feel like the king of the road, sitting above them all in luxury and isolation. You’ll be surrounded by rich wood, supple leather and elegant metals, not seen since the last time you climbed in your Bentley. There’s an amazing number of finishes and colors to choose from: 37 exterior colors, 17 interior colors, and three veneers. Earthtones galore.
The air suspension can be set at a step-in height. Reclining rear seats can be heated, ventilated and massaged, with enough leg room to stretch The long-wheelbase model is like a limousine SUV.
There is no instrument cluster. The driver’s view of the high-tech instrument panel is dominated by two large LCD screens, a 12.3-inch screen replacing the cluster, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the centerstack for infotainment, whose interface won’t win any Apple fans. Fortunately there are steering-wheel thumb controls for some functions, namely audio. Below that touchscreen are manual climate controls.
Lots of SUVs claim they can go anywhere, but Range Rover takes it seriously. It backs up the words with technology. In the olds days it went there on gears and rubber, today it goes more places on microchips.
The standard supercharged 3.0-liter V6 will push the Range Rover to sixty miles per hour in 7.1 seconds, with a slight supercharger whine and lots of low-end thrust from that huge 440 foot-pounds of torque. The aluminum chassis and suspension parts, as well as sandwiched composite body panels, brings the weight down to 4700 pounds. The riveted and bonded construction brings aircraft-like rigidity and strength. The V6 gets an EPA-rated 17/23 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined.
Meanwhile the new turbodiesel V6 is only 0.3 slower from 0-60, and gets 25 mpg Combined. In the diesel, you can drive from New York to Los Angeles and only stop for fuel three times. It begins pulling like a train at 1750 rpm and tops out at 3500 rpm, the engine so under-stressed it could take naps. It makes a bit of diesel noise when you hammer it, but it’s soundly insulated and otherwise totally quiet inside.
The third engine option is the supercharged 5.0-liter V8. If you want to stand up to your friends’ Cadillac XR with its supercharged 6.2-liter Chevy V8, this is your steed. It makes 510 beefy horsepower and hits 60 in just 5.1 seconds. It comes standard with Dynamic Response, with active anti-roll bars to control lean and firm up the cornering. And it still gets 16 miles per gallon Combined, just 3 less than the V6.
The Range Rover was designed to handle like a Bentley Flying Spur or Mercedes S-Class. Advanced suspension with adaptive dampers and air springs, front control arms and rear multi links, variable-ratio electric power steering, help it feel smooth and languid, even without the tautness of Dynamic Response. Remarkably, the LWB model with seven inches more wheelbase, feels as responsive to us as the regular wheelbase.
The four-wheel drive is full time, with a 50/50 split. It’s the highest technology among all luxury SUVs, using the Terrain Response system. Low range will go to a fast 37 mph, enabling the Rover to climb monstrous grades. There’s more than 10 inches of wheel travel in front, and more than 12 inches in rear. With a ground clearance of 12.2 inches, it can drive through 35 inches of water. You see lots of Range Rovers in Australia, where floodways often flow 35 inches of water across the outback highways.
Terrain Response uses sensors to set the traction control, stability control, steering, suspension, and locking differential. The modes are General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl (with Heavy Duty package). The anti-roll bars can be disabled during offroad maneuvers like crossing over boulders, or other times when the demand for wheel articulation is extreme.
If you want your garage to be the home of the best British SUV made, buy the Range Rover with the V6 turbodiesel engine.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. Words by Sam Moses.