2016 Land Rover Range Rover Driving Impressions

Lots of SUVs claim they can go anywhere, but Range Rover takes it seriously. It backs up the words with technology. In the olds days it went there on gears and rubber, today it goes more places on microchips.

The standard supercharged 3.0-liter V6 will push the Range Rover to sixty miles per hour in 7.1 seconds, with a slight supercharger whine and lots of low-end thrust from that huge 440 foot-pounds of torque. The aluminum chassis and suspension parts, as well as sandwiched composite body panels, brings the weight down to 4700 pounds. The riveted and bonded construction brings aircraft-like rigidity and strength. The V6 gets an EPA-rated 17/23 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined.

Meanwhile the new turbodiesel V6 is only 0.3 slower from 0-60, and gets 25 mpg Combined. In the diesel, you can drive from New York to Los Angeles and only stop for fuel three times. It begins pulling like a train at 1750 rpm and tops out at 3500 rpm, the engine so under-stressed it could take naps. It makes a bit of diesel noise when you hammer it, but it’s soundly insulated and otherwise totally quiet inside.

The third engine option is the supercharged 5.0-liter V8. If you want to stand up to your friends’ Cadillac XR with its supercharged 6.2-liter Chevy V8, this is your steed. It makes 510 beefy horsepower and hits 60 in just 5.1 seconds. It comes standard with Dynamic Response, with active anti-roll bars to control lean and firm up the cornering. And it still gets 16 miles per gallon Combined, just 3 less than the V6.

The Range Rover was designed to handle like a Bentley Flying Spur or Mercedes S-Class. Advanced suspension with adaptive dampers and air springs, front control arms and rear multi links, variable-ratio electric power steering, help it feel smooth and languid, even without the tautness of Dynamic Response. Remarkably, the LWB model with seven inches more wheelbase, feels as responsive to us as the regular wheelbase.

The four-wheel drive is full time, with a 50/50 split. It’s the highest technology among all luxury SUVs, using the Terrain Response system. Low range will go to a fast 37 mph, enabling the Rover to climb monstrous grades. There’s more than 10 inches of wheel travel in front, and more than 12 inches in rear. With a ground clearance of 12.2 inches, it can drive through 35 inches of water. You see lots of Range Rovers in Australia, where floodways often flow 35 inches of water across the outback highways.

Terrain Response uses sensors to set the traction control, stability control, steering, suspension, and locking differential. The modes are General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl (with Heavy Duty package). The anti-roll bars can be disabled during offroad maneuvers like crossing over boulders, or other times when the demand for wheel articulation is extreme.

Final Word

If you want your garage to be the home of the best British SUV made, buy the Range Rover with the V6 turbodiesel engine.

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. Words by Sam Moses.

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