Land Rover introduces the Range Rover Sport Td6 Diesel to the North American market, finally! Many of us have watched as international markets, Europe, Middle East and Asia have enjoyed the opportunity to drive diesel powered Range Rovers for many years. It has been so with many of the Land Rover group of vehicles, but now we finally get what we have been waiting for. I now can report it was well worth wait.
There are so many areas in which the Range Rover Sport Td6 impresses that is difficult to pick out one that impressed us the most. So I will pick the top few that made me enjoy my drive even more. Here in the USA diesels are still believed to be noisy. This Range Rover Td6 dispels that myth with little effort. In fact, like a focus group Land Rover used to evaluate the vehicle’s features during early development, I could barely notice more than a basic engine sound coming from under the hood. Yes, this diesel is that quiet.
Another important factor Land Rover wanted for their vehicles equipped with a diesel power plant was economic based. We all acknowledge Range Rovers are luxury vehicles and therefore skirt any recognition of being an economy car, but I’m talking relative to the luxury market where this vehicle sits. To keep the wraps of an inflated MSRP the diesel engine option is a mere $1,500 that is less than the cost of some navigation systems. And, it is substantially lower than other vehicles where a diesel power plant is an option. Some diesels can add over $5,000. The next closest to the Td6 is an additional $3,120 and that is a pickup truck, a far different package than the luxurious Range Rover Sport. I can say the Range Rover is a relative bargain.
The Range Rover Td6 is a V-6 3.0-liter turbocharged configuration that produces a healthy 254 horsepower and more importantly, a healthier 440 lb-ft. of torque. Drivers get to take full advantage of this great torque from 1750 rpm. In the parlance of old diesel lovers, “that’s real stump pull-en power.”
Some miss the real beauty of the mileage picture derived from a diesel powered vehicle, one which comes truly apparent on planning a long distance drive. The Range Rover Sport Td6 is equipped with a 23.5 gallon fuel tank. The EPA fuel economy numbers are 22 in the city and 29 on the highway, which computes to a long range trip of over 650 miles. That is more than enough to drive from San Francisco, CA to Portland, OR without a stop. But, then I don’t know any of my driving buddies could last that long without a stop. If you know what I mean? Anyway, you wouldn’t want to miss the rest areas in Oregon, they have volunteers who serve up coffee and hot chocolate along with some entertaining conversation. I usually end up stopping more than I really need to just for the stories.
Long drives or off-roading along rocky trails are not just a pleasure in the Land Rover Sport Td6, they are downright luxurious. The cabin design is a combination of leather, wood and metal trim that makes you comfortable and places your mind at ease through every mile. It is utilitarian without being stark. On the contrary, the Range Rover Sport Td6 interior is more like an expensively designed den that rolls down the highway. Other niceties include an automatic vehicle lowering setting on the suspension system that lowers the vehicle after the parking, making entering and exiting easy. A new automatic tailgate opening system allows you to open your tailgate with a simple gesture, with the key on your person, of course.
Do not let all of this luxury dissuade you from thinking that the Range Rover Sport isn’t capable of some hardy trekking down a rock strewn trail. This SUV will utterly astound you with its abilities. And now it is even more capable with the addition of what Land Rover calls All-Terrain Progress Control. ATPC wraps up all of the modern day advances in traction control into one system that will, with little doubt, get you out of some of the most difficult terrain issues. In short, if you get stuck this will get you unstuck. Or better yet keep you from getting stuck.
During my original drive on the desert trails outside of Sedona, AZ I encountered some awfully rutted and rocky trails that for a lesser vehicle would have been imposable to pass through. Even though I felt quite capable of navigating the trail I wanted to see just how good the ATPC system really was. Although, it was really, really difficult at first not to grab the steering wheel and take over control.
ATPC operates in low speed and becomes your virtual vehicle controller sans steering. Set it, take your feet off of the pedals and let the Range Rover Sport take you through nearly any terrain you point it toward. I have to admit in retrospect I felt as though this new system takes a bit of the adventure and testing of one’s skills out of the off-roading experience.
The Range Rover Sport Td6 is welcomed addition to the Land Rover portfolio. The diesel engine along with the advances in drive technology and the inherent luxury Land Rover vehicles are known for gives the Range Rover Sport an even stronger draw to potential buyers. The Range Rover Sport Td6 might be the “Super hero” of the Sport Utility world.