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2016 Ranger Rover Sport Diesel

By Benjamin Yong, 22 Jul, 2016 03:55 PM
  • 2016 Ranger Rover Sport Diesel

The Fuel-efficient SUV

To my disappointment as a gearhead residing in Canada, diesel variants of popular vehicles have never quite taken in North America as they have in Europe, and as a result, offerings on this side of the pond have always been slim at best. All the recent “Dieselgate” controversy at Volkswagen certainly doesn’t help the cause any. Regardless, Land Rover has gone and released a diesel version of its Range Rover Sport for 2016 and guess what? It is good. Very, very good.

Styling hasn’t really changed any since the vehicle’s refresh in 2012, so I won’t go into that too much here other than to say a new Carbon Fibre Pack is available. The optional appearance add-on comes with side vents, tailgate trim, side mirror covers front grille garnish, foglight bezels and hood vents, all finished in the woven black race-inspired pattern.

Compared to models from other manufacturers in the same segment I’ve tested, for instance the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the Range Rover Sport feels smaller than it is whether driving on the road or trying to fit into a small parking spot. The interior is on par with competitors, and there are even extras like a cooler in the centre console.

The real story here is the introduction of the new Td6 motor that completely changes the perception of what a mid-size SUV is. Unlike other examples powered by the non-gasoline fuel, the Sport operates much more quietly. Only the tiniest chug-chug-chug can be heard from underneath the hood thanks to the copious amount of sound deadening employed by the luxury manufacturer.

Beyond the extra insulation, the motor is constructed from a specialized graphite iron compound and sits on isolating engine mounts that together help to cut down on noise, vibration and harshness (N/V/H). To top it off, an acoustically laminated windshield – featuring a special sound-absorbing interlayer built inside the glass –shields the occupants from virtually all outside noises.

The Td6 cranks out 254 horsepower but with all diesels, the more important figure is torque, which in this case is a throw-you-back-into-your-seat 440 lb-ft peaking at a scant 1,750 rpm. Put your foot down and the low-end grunt will surprise even the most seasoned of drivers, getting from 0-100 km/h in approximately 7.1 seconds.

All the while, this sport utility vehicle will get fuel economy numbers in the low 10s all day long in combined city and highway driving. Land Rover says overall efficiency has improved 32 per cent compared to when the supercharged V6 engine is equipped.

Some other changes for the 2016 model year worth mentioning include standard Terrain Response 2 technology, where the driver is able to select from pre-set modes that set up the Range Rover Sport to perform optimally according to changing road conditions; Auto Access Height that lowers the ride height when the vehicle comes to a complete stop and a door is opened to ease passenger entry/exit; and Gesture Tailgate allowing the tailgate to open and close with the wave of a foot underneath the bumper. 

 

Highlights (as tested):

MSRP: $82,990
 
Motor: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6
 
Horsepower: 254 @ 4,000 rpm
 
Torque (lb-ft): 440 @ 1,750 rpm
 
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic transmission
 
Layout: Front engine, four-wheel drive
 
Fuel economy: 10.8 L/100 km mixed city/highway (manufacturer estimate)

 

PHOTOS: BENJAMIN YONG

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