The Range Rover can be hard-core off-roader one moment and a genuine luxury model the next.
Base price: $160,000.
Powertrain and performance: 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V6, 190kW/600Nm, 8-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, Combined economy 7.5 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 7.9 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4999mm long, 1835mm high, kerb weight 2160kg, luggage capacity litres, fuel tank 85 litres, 19-inch wheels.
We like: Elegant and imposing style, vastly improved efficiency, breadth of ability.
We don’t like: Still only a five-seater despite size, high cost of options.
How it rates: 9/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
We might need to start with a model refresher. There’s been a lot of action in the world of Range Rover in the last couple of years. An all-new Range Rover was launched early in 2013, with sleek styling and aluminum construction that dramatically reduced weight and improved performance and fuel efficiency. Late in 2013 came an all-new Range Rover Sport, using similar technology to even greater effect: it’s certainly the current star of the lineup, offering even more dramatic styling and even a seven-seat option (which the larger Range Rover lacks).
However, the full-size Range Rover is still the main event as far as the brand faithful are concerned: it has more presence and better off-road ability than the Sport. The two models actually have quite a crossover on the price list. The Range Rover’s lighter weight has allowed Land Rover to offer a turbo-diesel V6 model (previous only V8 engines were available), whose $160,000 tag is exactly the same as the Sport turbo-diesel V8 Dynamic. That’s the car we’re driving here: the entry-level (but still very posh) Range Rover TDV6.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Big but brilliant. Interestingly, the full-size Range Rover is only 45kg heavier than the equivalent Sport, so it doesn’t feel sluggish. The 3.0-litre turbo diesel still has plenty of shove (600Nm is mighty by any measure) and while it might feel roly-poly for fast on-road driving, there is a long tradition of Range Rovers that hold the road tenaciously regardless of suspension travel and sheer bulk, and this one is no exception.
The latest Rangie is of course an epic off-road machine. As with other models, it features a new version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system with an Auto setting that can detect what type of environment you are driving in and adjust the powertrain and chassis accordingly. Just so you know, the Range Rover has 25mm more axle articulation and 50mm more wading depth (an incredible 900mm) than the smaller Sport.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH?
The Range Rover can be hard-core off-roader one moment and a genuine luxury model the next. Few cars offer sense of sheer luxury and well-being – the imperious height you travel at has something to do with that, but the Range Rover also boasts beautiful leather and wood finish, even in this ‘entry’ model.
There’s nothing in the cabin of the HSE to suggest you’re in a base model, but look deeper and you will find that many technology features you might expect on a luxury vehicle are optional: blind spot monitor, high beam assist, surround-view cameras and adaptive cruise control are all extra-cost. That’s perhaps to be expected when you consider just how much metal (sorry, aluminium) you’re getting for $160k. And as we said, you’re still treated to an extraordinarily luxurious experience in the cabin.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
The latest Range Rover retains all of the marque’s heritage and ability, but brings it right to the cutting edge in terms of technology and advanced construction. It’s natural to look to the upper-end versions, but the reality is that the TDV6 HSE is hard to fault for its combination of ability, luxury and sheer value.
EQUIPMENT CHECKLISTAir conditioning: Three-zone climateAudio: CD, iPod compatibleAutomatic lights/wipers: Yes/yesBlind spot warning: $1200Bluetooth: YesCruise control: YesDriver footrest: YesGas discharge headlights: XenonHead-up display: NoHeated/ventilated seats: Yes/NoKeyless entry/start: Yes/YesLane guidance: NoLeather upholstery: YesParking radar: Front and rear with cameraPower boot or tailgate: Yes, two piece (both powered)Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/YesRemote audio controls: YesSatellite navigation: YesSeat height adjustment: YesSelf-parking technology: $1400Split/folding rear seats: 60/40Steering reach adjustment: YesStop-start: YesTrip computer: Yes
Find a Range Rover TDV6 HSE HERE