Range Rover conjures images of luxury SUVs tackling desert roads in Africa or rolling over green hills in the UK. It’s a brand with a very definite aura all its own, and the 2016 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 upholds that image.
The big news this year is the addition of a diesel engine. The Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 has a V6 turbocharged diesel with 254 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. At a time when diesels are taking quite a hit thanks to the Volkswagen emissions scandal, Land Rover is bringing a very competent diesel to market.
The Sport isn’t the largest Range Rover you can buy, but it’s still not small, so that diesel has a lot of metal to move along the highway. It does so without any difficulty, making the somewhat heavy bulk of the Range Rover Sport nimble during high speed driving.
A light foot on the gas produces quick results, easily sending the Range Rover Sport cruising into heavy highway traffic. Passing is not a problem with even quick lane changes with little room easy to accomplish. The 8-speed automatic transmission shifts are smooth and well-timed so they are unobtrusive, as it should be with a luxury SUV at this price point.
The Sport’s design is very reminiscent of the Evoque with slightly larger, taller proportions than its city-slicker sibling. Still, those who want all the luxury and capability of a Land Rover yet are worried about it being too big will have no problem maneuvering the Sport. It’s that just-right size that will serve you well whether its loaded with people and cargo for an adventure or trying to fit into a narrow parking space on a city street.
The ride is smooth and controlled at all times. Even cornering at higher speeds is effortless with no sense that you’re top heavy or about to lose control. Braking is solid and steering is tight with measured feedback to it’s never a chore. It’s a fantastic car to drive and equally comfortable for passengers.
A Range Rover is a luxury car and this one fits the bill. It is roomy and comfortable with power adjustable driver and front passenger seats covered in supple leathers. They are supportive, but not the least bit stiff. These are the kinds of seats that could easily keep you comfortable for long road trips across multiple days.
A standard panoramic sunroof lets in plenty of light and opens the interior, especially for rear passengers. There is seating for three in the rear seats, but it will get tight for a longer drive. Two passengers will have plenty of room with no chance of bumping elbows and leg room enough to stretch out even with the front seats pushed back.
The $2,620 Front Climate and Visibility Package adds 16-way power adjustable front seats that are ventilated and heated, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel for cold weather. They all heat up fast making a frigid winter morning much easier to endure.
Upgraded safety features in the $2,900 Driver Assistance Package add land departure warning, perpendicular and parallel park with exit, head-up display, and 360-degree park distance control. This is in addition to cruise control and a rearview camera, which are standard features.
Range Rovers are also known for their off-road chops and the Sport HSE Td6 includes their Terrain Response System with choices of general,snow,mud, or sand, dynamic stability control, roll stability control, and hill descent control to tackle more challenging terrain. It was amplified on our tester by the $1,750 Extra Duty Package with Terrain Response 2, All-Terrain Progress Control, and adaptive dynamics.
Not everyone will be climbing a mountain in their Range Rover, although you could if the mood was right. It was more than capable in heavy snow, making short work of deep drifts and unplowed snowbanks. Even if you’re not climbing that mountain, it’s nice to know the next blizzard stands little chance of trapping you in your own driveway or the middle of the street.
The Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 combines luxury, style, and capability that lives up to the brand’s reputation.
The biggest drawback it the price tag that comes along with the car. Even without the options mentioned, the starting price is a $71,450. Still, if you’re in the market for a luxury SUV with genuine off-road capability, you can’t go wrong with the Range Rover Sport HSE Td6.
2016 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6
Base Price: $71,450
Price As Tested: $85,065 (not including destination charge)
- Luxury Interior
- Manageable Size
- High Price of Entry
- Expensive Options Pacakges