Test Drive: 2016 Range Rover HSE Diesel Review

Jerry Reynolds | March 14, 2016
Test Drive: 2016 Range Rover HSE Diesel Review

This week, I bring you the the flagship of the Land Rover lineup of SUVs, and for the first time in the United States, it has a diesel under the hood. 

As I always do when I review a Rover, let’s go through the name game, since these tend to confuse people.  First and foremost, it is a Land Rover.  That is the name of the brand, like Ford, Chevy, Toyota and so on.  From the bottom to the top, the lineup of Land Rovers includes the Discovery, the LR4, the Range Rover Evoque, the Range Rover Sport, and finally this one…the Range Rover HSE. 

So my tester’s official, legal name is the Land Rover Range Rover HSE Td6.

Just to refresh your memory, The Range Rover HSE and Sport went through a big transformation in 2013. It shed almost 800-pounds by going to an all-aluminum body. A 6-cylinder supercharged engine replaced the naturally aspirated V8, and an 8-speed transmission replaced the 6-speed. The body and interior underwent big changes as well.

The end result of the changes produced the most refined and best Range Rover ever, and even 3 years later, the HSE and Sport are always in short supply and have incredible resale value.

My review vehicle has the 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine that is putting out 254-horses, but as always with diesel engines, the torque is the most important factor, and this one has 443 pound-feet of torque.  There is a gasoline 3.0-liter V6 engine available, and then for you people with a heavy foot, a 510-horse supercharged 5-liter V8. 

The 8-speed and the diesel engine together provide good acceleration after a very slight turbo lag, especially considering it weighs over 4700 pounds.  Acceleration, like most diesels, is strong and steady.  If you are worried about the diesel sound, inside the vehicle there is absolutely none.  From the outside, you can tell it is a diesel when you get really close to it, otherwise it is whisper quiet.

When you ask a Range Rover owner why they love their vehicle, they will generally answer because of an exceptional interior, an incredible 4-wheel drive system, and safety.  Also some people just like the overall functionality and incredible view of the road the Rover-with its huge windshield-affords drivers.

Moving to the interior, like all Range Rovers, the interior of the HSE is exquisite. There is leather, wood, and aluminum everywhere you look or touch. The seats are extremely comfortable and the leather trim is soft to the touch. You will not detect any plastic anywhere.

The dash is simplistic and not overly complicated.  There is a Driver Information Center in the middle of the gauge cluster, and that is where you personalize your Range Rover. 

Most everything else operates from an 8” color touch screen. It has all your audio controls, navigation system, which is also voice activated, more settings for the vehicle and climate controls, and much more. The screen is easily reachable by the driver and passenger. The re-do of the HSE in 2013 yielded more back seat room, and now you can get a third row seat in it, but I assure you, it is only for children and do not recommend it.

My Kaikoura Stone (sort of a goldish brown) sampler comes nicely equipped with many standard features including power front heated and cooled seats, power tailgate, pushbutton start, rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, power tilt and heated steering wheel, and much more.

Like all Range Rovers, it has full-time four-wheel drive, and features Rover’s famous Terrain Response System.  This is the heart of the suspension system.  To use the Terrain Response System, you turn a knob on the center console between the seats to choose among five usage or surface settings: (1) general mode, for everyday driving, (2) grass/gravel/snow, (3) mud and ruts, (4) sand, (5) rock crawl. For each setting, Terrain Response adjusts the aforementioned components to perform best for each driving condition. It is awesome.

Other standard features include a hands-free tailgate, 20” wheels, panoramic glass roof with power sliding cover, heated rear seat, a 380-watt Meridian sound system with Sirius/XM and HD radio, keyless passive entry, Xenon headlights, and rain-sensitive wipers.  Oh, and it has my favorite, the stop/start system but luckily it can be turned off.

Options on this HSE includes the Vision Assist package, which I highly recommend.  For $2110 you get interior mood lighting, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beam headlights, reverse traffic detection, and a 360-degree rear camera.  It also has the $900 trailer-towing package that comes with a full-sized spare, an $1850 stereo upgrade that takes you to 825-watts, and a heated wooden steering wheel runs an additional $350.

My review vehicle also has adaptive cruise control, which runs $1295, and finally the Driver Assistance package for $2900 and that gets you lane departure warning, park assist, heads-up display, and soft closing doors.

If you want to get sold on the off-road capability of the Range Rover, you have to experience the four-wheel drive system at a Land Rover dealership to understand what the system will do. You can move the vehicle 11” with the push of a button and it will rise even higher if the vehicle senses you need more clearance. It is my opinion that this is the best four-wheel drive system in the auto industry, and this contributes greatly to the overall cost, but well worth it.

Gas mileage is good at 22 in town and 29 on the highway, especially considering it’s an extremely large and heavy SUV.  I had stretches of 33 miles per gallon on the highway. Total MSRP is $103,925, which is a lot, but it also offers a lot.

Looking at the math on this diesel engine, I am going to use the current fuel prices (March 2016) of $1.55 per gallon for diesel, and $1.68 for premium, and using a 15,000-mile per year assumption.  So, with the 3.0-liter gas engine, annual gas cost is $1260, and with the diesel it is $936 per year, a savings of $324 per year with the diesel.  The upcharge for the diesel is $1500, so to make the diesel pay for itself, you are looking at about 4 ½ years to break even.  When you consider the diesel engine should go twice as far as the gas engine, I can make the case for the Td6.

Globally, 50% of all Range Rovers sold have the diesel engine, and if rumors are correct, this is the same diesel we will see in the 2018 Ford F150.  If so, they will have a winner.

If you are in a position to spend a hundred grand or so on an SUV, for me, this is the Crown Jewel of them all.

  • What I liked most:  Fuel economy, interior, 4-wheel drive system.
  • What I would change: Actually nothing.
  • MSRP: Base price $93,450, as equipped $103,925.
  • Fuel Economy: 22 City/29 Highway, 25 Combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 23.5 Gallons
  • Dimensions: 196.6” long/87.4” wide/72.2” high.
  • Weight: 4727 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing:  7716 Pounds
  • Miles When Tested:  6350 miles.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Solihull, UK
  • 2016 Range Rover Td6 in a few words:  Great large SUV, great fuel economy!
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with roadside assistance.
  • Manufacturers website: Land Rover
Photo Credit: Land Rover
Tags: 2016, range, rover, hse, diesel
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