Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: August 29, 2016
It’s no surprise that I am a huge advocate for diesel engines. Economical, efficient, powerful and now more refined than ever, diesels are my mile-munching powerplants of preference. I’ve written about them many times in the past few years, and have even convinced many of my close friends and relatives to give this alternative fuel a try.
Many of them have since bought diesels from BMW and Volkswagen (yes maybe that last one was a mistake), but now there’s a newcomer to the yellow-handled fuel pump party. This year, Land Rover has brought over their diesel engines from overseas and lodged them inside their two largest vehicles, the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover. I’ve tested and gleefully written about the Sport variant before, but now we’re taking a look at the big daddy Range Rover, the full-sized pimpmobile with a fuel saving heart.
Dressed in all clad black with the Black Package ($2,100), this trimmed out Range looks deceivingly sinister, especially with those gloss black 22-inch wheels to match ($4,200). Its Santorini Black paintjob also makes it a mirrorful nightmare to take photos of, but regardless, to the naked eye it screams d̶r̶u̶g̶ money.
Like a Rolex, the full-sized Range Rover wears a timeless design that is broad but easy on the eyes. It’s well proportioned, and though not as sleek as its Sport model, it has more character, more defined angles, and executive road presence. It’s frankly one of the best looking SUVs you can buy on the market.
But let’s talk about that new diesel engine because frankly, it’s a game changer. You see, the Td6, which stands for turbocharged six-cylinder, remedies nearly every issue that Range Rovers had in the past, mainly fuel economy. Compared to the now discontinued supercharged V6 gasoline engine, the diesel claims a 32% improvement in fuel economy and an 8% gain in range, meaning it’s possible to go 1,058 km in one single tank of gas. That amounts to 17 round-trips from Markham to Downtown Toronto – insane!
But it’s not all just unicorn farts and rainbows coming out of those back pipes, because this turbodiesel V6 is good for 254-hp and delivers a remarkable 440 lb-ft of torque from as low as 1,750 rpm. That’s 108 lb-ft more than the gasoline variant. Its horsepower figure is a bit low, and as a result it gets from 0-100 km/h in 7.9 s, 0.3 s slower than the thirstier V6. That’s only the slightest drop in performance, but it’s not always about straight lines, is it?
Land Rover has gone to great lengths to quiet the clatter that most diesels are known for making. None of that sulfur-burning raucous makes it into the cabin, they’ve made sure of that. Engine mounts and layers of sound deadening in the firewall have helped shush it up, along with an engine block made of compacted graphite iron to reduce the amount of engine vibration. The result is barely any diesel clatter at idle or even at highway speeds, a rarity in this SUV segment. Only by rolling down the windows, turning off the radio, will you hear just the quietest purr of diesel locomotion.
The biggest downside (actually, the only downside) to the diesel is the initial turbo lag as you wait for it to spool and build up boost. You don’t get that same rush of torque as you do with the supercharged engines. Even if it lags for just a split second, it makes a huge difference on the road when you’re racking up the miles at three digit speeds. However all it truly requires is just a minor adjustment to driving behaviour – from instant attacks to planned strategic takeovers. The diesel also loses quite a bit of steam in the upper range, like an asthmatic trying to gasp for air, so best to keep the bursts small and precise.
When it comes to fuel economy, I doubt many customers that can afford the Range would really care. To them it’s more of an afterthought, right next to the costs of their daily hair-does and weekly grocery bills at Whole Foods. But it’s one of those feel-good passive emotions to know that you’re sipping as much fuel as a Hyundai Elantra, while weighing nearly twice as much. And the best part about it? Nobody can tell – the only giveaway is that tiny-font “Td6” badge perched on back.
Over the week we averaged a commendable 9.9 L/100km with an equal mix of both highway and city driving. To put that number into perspective, this 2,215 kg Range sips less fuel than a four-cylinder Subaru WRX. Minor nuisances include having to add some Diesel Exhaust Fluid every 16,000 km or so to meet emission standards, but it’s a small sacrifice for the returned mileage.
As with every Range on the block, this one isn’t short of interior amenities. It’s got everything from an 825-watt Meridian Speaker System ($1,900) to a center console cooler box used to chill your drinks.
Whichever seat you take is a win. There’s no more calling shotgun – every seat is as comfortable, purpose built, and cocooning as the last. Soft leather hides embrace your bottom while massaging seats give it a little whirl.
The driving position is grand – you sit like a king on his throne, with wide armrests on the door sill and a manually adjustable one on your right. Wide expansive glass fills the entire cabin with sunlight, with blind spot monitors keeping you in check.
The ride feels like a million bucks, nearly matching the quality provided by a Rolls-Royce. Soft, supple, and serene; you won’t even notice those potholes and undulating roads ahead. It glides along with a clever mix of performance whilst sipping only the most frugal amounts of fuel.
The only downsides to our diesel tester was that you cannot order it in a long wheelbase version, and that it doesn’t offer a third row of seats either. Carpooling in the full-sized Range is limited to just five passengers – even the Sport has an optional third-row but alas, none is found here. The Range hasn’t been updated with the new infotainment system found in the rest of JLR’s products either.
The Td6 diesel is the cheapest model you can buy – you can’t even get the supercharged V6 anymore. The V8 costs $8,000 more, but I would forget about the bigger engines and spend that extra d̶i̶r̶t̶y̶ money on upgrades like the Black Package, 22-inch wheels, and 825-watt Meridian Speaker System – people will know you’ve made it in life.
With the Td6, rather than bolting down with a supercharged mill, you’ll waft there cloaked in black hovering in diesel silence. To me, the Range was never built to be a performance machine. It belongs on the street, the boulevard, parked in front of the rich man’s castle, and I can’t think of a better way to experience this opulent cruiser than that, well, except for off-roading, but who does that with their Range Rover anyways?
型号 Model: 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6
顏色 Paint Type: Santorini Black
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $108,490
試車售價 Price as Tested: $129,840
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,922
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,999 / 2,073 / 1,835
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,215
引擎 Engine: 3.0L turbodiesel V6
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, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City/Highway/Combined ) L/100km: 10.5 / 8.0 / 9.4
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 22-inch Style 707, Gloss Black