Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Don Cheng
I did a little experiment and asked my non-car enthusiast friends what they thought of the word diesel. They told me the first thought that came to mind: 60% of them said Volkswagen scandal, 25% of them said dirty gas, 10% said smelly, but only 5% told me efficient. So why do diesels have such a bad rep in the community?
Back in the day, diesels were known to be dirty, slow, and noisy. Yeah, they smelt bad too. But since then, diesel engines have become more refined than ever and there are many perks to owning one: stellar fuel economy, boatloads of low-end torque and best of all, it’s currently cheaper than gasoline.
Overseas, diesels sell like hotcakes. It’s vice versa in North America where gasoline engines dominate. In most cases, we aren’t even given the option of a diesel engine, not even in the vehicles that guzzle gas like no tomorrow. Yes I’m talking about large SUVs. Audi offers a diesel on their Q7, so does BMW with their X5. Mercedes-Benz utilizes Bluetec on their ML-class and Volkswagen has one for their Touareg. But what about Land Rover? The brand that started life in agriculture has never given Canadians the option of a diesel engine. Well that’s all about to change.
Diesel engines are now available for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, the latter of which we are testing today. It commands a $1,500 premium over the standard supercharged 3.0-litre gasoline V6 engine, but it improves fuel economy by a whopping 32% and an 8% gain in total driving range. In return, you receive a generous amount of low-end torque with the sacrifice of a few horsepower. Like pairing wine with cheese, the heavy Range Rover Sport with the diesel engine hits the sweet spot between performance and efficiency.
In fact, the engine is so quiet that most passengers can hardly tell it’s a diesel. The sound insulation is perfect and while most other diesels emit a noisy idle note, this one doesn’t. There’s barely a crackle or whiff of sulfur from the outside.
Td6, which stands for turbodiesel, is an engine from the old days of Ford ownership. It’s been tweaked to produce 254 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, which is 86 hp less and 108 lb-ft more than the gasoline V6. The diesel’s power delivery isn’t as immediate however and there’s a slight bit of lag before the turbo spools up. The driving experience is similar to that of the turbocharged four-cylinder Evoque, except the Sport has got a better 8-speed transmission.
Nevertheless, the Td6 engine is only 0.2 seconds slower than the thirstier gasoline V6 from 0-100 km/h, 7.1 s and 6.9 s respectively. The diesel also emits a V8-like grumble under hard acceleration and it’s admittedly a very entertaining exhaust note – something I never thought would be possible.
Though if you’re not used to driving a diesel, that low redline might seem strange. The Td6 loses steam at around 4,000 rpm, a couple thousand lower than the gasoline V6. Short bursts of overtaking are easy and highly encouraged, and while it’s not as quick from a standing start, the Range Rover Sport is very responsive with a heavy punch of low and mid-range torque.
The wealth of power humbly suits the Range Rover Sport’s off-roading prowess as well. Though most owners will never take their beloved off the paved road, it’s nice knowing that it will outperform competitors on rock, river, and sand with it’s renowned four-wheel drive system.
We’re not trying to say that the supercharged V6 engine is terrible on fuel. We’ve tested it a couple of years ago and it did pretty well for a large 2,000 kg-plus SUV. However, the diesel engine scores a huge improvement in fuel consumption. With the Td6, we averaged a jaw-dropping 9.4 L/100km throughout our week of driving (7.4 L/100km if you’re just counting the highway runs). That’s crazily efficient for a vehicle that weighs as much as an adult elephant.
Compare that figure to the 15.2 L/100km figure we averaged in the 5.0-litre V8 engine and 13.9 L/100km in the 3.0-litre V6 engine. This Range Rover Sport Td6 sips as much fuel as a four-cylinder, but delivers the power and performance of an eight.
Yes there’s a measly up-charge of $1,500 for the diesel but you’ll get your money’s worth before a year of ownership is up. Think about it – diesel is almost the same price as regular 87-octane gasoline, and Range Rover’s supercharged engines demand the more expensive 91-octane.
What better way to get the point across than with numbers? So let’s say you drive 500 km each week. If diesel costs 99.9 cents/litre and 91-octane costs 116.9 cents/litre, that amounts to a 17 cent different per litre of fuel. Taking our fuel consumption averages above for each engine, then the Td6 would use 47L of fuel a week, while the gasoline V6 would use 70L. Each week, you’d be spending $35 more if you chose the gasoline. After a year, you’d be spending over $1,800 extra.
Truthfully, I’m having a hard time finding a reason not to choose the diesel. Most gas stations these days have diesel pumps anyways and they don’t smell that bad either. The tractor noises are mute, the amount of torque you get in return is bountiful, and the price premium is negligible after less than a year.
Combined with stellar fuel economy and the Range Rover Sport Td6 poses as a compelling choice in an already crowded diesel SUV segment. Its competitors have been offering diesel engines in North America for ages, but I think it’s finally time for Range Rover to get a slice of the underrated pie. Forget hybrids or electric vehicles, this is the SUV you've been waiting for. And with all it’s wild benefits, I wouldn’t want my Range Rover to be drinking anything but diesel.
型号 Model: 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE Td6
顏色 Paint Type: Montalcino Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $82,990
試車售價 Price as Tested: $96,340
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,923
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,856 / 2,220 / 1,780
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,136
引擎 Engine: LR-TDV6 3.0-litre V6 (turbocharged diesel)
最大馬力 Horsepower: 254 hp @ 4,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 440 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 10.5 / 8.0 / 9.4
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.4
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Continental CrossContact - 22-inch tires