The 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 is the Most Skillful Luxury SUV

From by Michael Crenshaw
The 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 is the Most Skillful Luxury SUV

The original plan was to take a short jaunt up the coast to the charming town of Providence, Rhode Island with the wife and pup in tow for 36 hours of relaxation. Having the new 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 at our disposal seemed like the perfect getaway vehicle: quiet, comfortable, luxurious and tough enough to tackle any potholes on the freeway. A bout of rainy weather may have derailed our plans of relaxation, but it brought a new off-road rendezvous where we were able to test out the newest Range and see what its motor could handle.

One of the main parameters for our analysis of the new Rover was to check out the range of its Td6 diesel motor—which provides unprecedented fuel economy for a 5,485-pound luxury monster. With up to 658 miles of available mileage per tank of fuel and up to 25 mpg combined, the turbocharged Td6 proves this Range Rover to be the most opportunistic of the entire lineup.

2016 Range Rover HSE Td6Photo Credit: Jonathan Harper

A 3.0-liter V6 engine is the backbone of the Td6. Though it offers a modest 254 horsepower, it also boasts 440 lb.-ft of torque at a lowly 1,750 rpm. It’s this type of torque—with their legendary four-wheel-drive—that propelled us through the rock-laden woods of Northern New Jersey. Utilizing a more modern take on the traditional iron engine block, the Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI) is essentially smaller and lighter than its counterpart, making it compact in nature.

Since the recent introduction of the Td6 motor, customer adoption has equaled, or exceeded Land Rover’s expectations. Nathan Hoyt, Product Communications Manager for Jaguar Land Rover North America, says, “[Land Rover] was projecting a take-rate of approximately 15-20 percent, but we’ve gone beyond that with about 25 percent of the full-size Range Rover sales being the Td6 diesel.”

2016 Range Rover HSE Td6Photo Credit: Michael Crenshaw

Unlike most large trucks with diesel motors, the car is subliminally quiet thanks to fully sealed doors, windows with acoustic laminate and dual-isolation engine mounts. A large majority of owners will never come to experience the seclusion of one of the world’s finest cocoons deep in the backcountry, but if they do, there’s little worry of the surrounding woodlands and the challenges presented.

With all that torque available, an eight-speed transmission with plenty of low gearing and 4WD comes the ability to literally crawl over any obstacles in your way. Adaptive Dynamic suspension lifts to a height of 11.6 inches off the ground, which is more than enough for most fallen trees and mud bogs. 

2016 Range Rover HSE Td6Photo Credit: Michael Crenshaw

Undulations, vertical climbs, three-wheeled balancing and driving through large swaths of terrain require a system advanced enough to ensure you can get out of any situation. Luckily, all Range Rovers are equipped with the Terrain Response 2 system. The system is comprised of air suspension, with multiple sensors figuring out just how you’re pushing the envelope. It’s so advanced that there’s no need to ever manually enter a particular mode.

We will say, however, the Td6 is not very responsive at low rpms. There’s turbo lag that doesn't seem refined enough for a model of this caliber. It’s a very minimal fault—one that you may not even notice—but for snobs of combustion and finesse, it’s there in plain sight. 

2016 Range Rover HSE Td6Photo Credit: Michael Crenshaw

The Vision Assist Package (a $2,110 option) adds additional cameras to help when navigating obstacles, but it stills doesn’t feel responsive or varied enough to replace spotters and photographic memory. Range Rover can (and should) upgrade the system to a higher caliber. The High Specification Edition (HSE) option is highly recommended by us as a $7,000 option package. Included is a beautifully-wide panoramic roof, posh self-closing doors and customizable 14-way perforated leather seats.

The Range Rover Td6 meets the requirements of the top class of upscale SUVs with a new motor to surpass it. This new powertrain gets to the core of what Land Rover and Range Rover stand for: the potential ability to explore anywhere without worrying about running out of fuel.

2016 Range Rover HSE Td6Photo Credit: Michael Crenshaw

Having the weather deter our plans to unwind instead offered the chance to test this earthbound legend in the place where it’s realistically home. Chances are most drivers would never step foot off the beaten path, but the fact remains that the capabilities are there. We think you’ll be hard-pressed to find an automobile other than the 2016 Range Rover Td6 HSE that will allow you to drive almost 700 miles, tackle any foreseeable obstacles and wade in up to three feet of water, all while surrounded by comfort.

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