2016 Range Rover Sport in Diesel is Perfection

2016 Range Rover Sport (Aaron)

To describe the 2016 Range Rover Sport with a diesel powerplant: it’s a luxury SUV with go-anywhere capability that gets fuel economy on par with a small sedan and drives like a small sport crossover. In short, the Range Rover Sport is awesome and about as perfect as we can imagine a three-row SUV being.

The manufacturer says

Settle back into the driver’s seat of Range Rover Sport and one thing is immediately apparent: it demands to be driven.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Land Rover
  • Year, Model: 2016 Range Rover Sport
  • Class, Type: Full-sized luxury sport utility
  • Propulsion system: 3.0L tD, 8spd auto
  • Base Price: $64,950
  • MSRP as tested: $84,260
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The turbodiesel engine in the Range Rover Sport debuted this model year and the upgrade is a huge change for the already excellent 2016 Range Rover Sport. We drove the mid-level HSE trim with this powerplant and loved it. Why? Fuel efficiency, capability, and useful family ergonomics are all tied into one sporty, fun-driving machine. What’s not to love?

Called the Td6, the diesel option has the 2016 Rover powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel that outputs 254 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine choice sits alongside three others, including a 3.0-liter V6 gasoline, and a 5.0-liter V8 gasoline that outputs either 510 or 550 horses, depending on model configuration. For our money, though, the turbodiesel is where it’s at.

Full-time four-wheel drive is standard on the Range Rover Sport and a light-duty single-speed 4WD system is standard on the lower SE and HSE trims. Pper trims have a two-speed transfer case for more down and dirty offroading, but that can be added to the SE and HSE models as an option. Our test model included this along with its accompanying Terrain Response 2 system for selecting terrain types to configure the transmission, ride height, and suspension settings for the task at hand. The new All-Terrain Progress Control creep and crawl system, new for 2016, was also included. It works in a way similar to cruise control for low-speed crawling through terrain.

The real beauty of the diesel engine, though, is in its fuel economy returns despite its very sporty responses and power output. The gasoline V6 is EPA-rated at 19 mpg combined and the V8 at only 16 mpg combined. The diesel six, though, is a much more economical 25 mpg combined, with 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. In our week with the 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6, we averaged 26.5 mpg in over 500 miles of mixed driving. That’s phenomenal out of an SUV this size.

What we like

Extremely fuel efficient in the diesel option.

Fun to drive in almost all conditions, including off the road.

What we don't

Maneuvering and handling in tight situations can be difficult.

Infotainment seems a bit dated compared to other luxury rivals.

Conclusions

The 2016 Range Rover Sport with the diesel option is a near-perfect luxury SUV. The bulk of the vehicle means that it’s difficult to maneuver in tight spaces, but its spry handling and fast-paced get-up thanks to those turbos make up for this and the utility’s excellent road-hugging in the curves makes it a joy to drive at speed. The third row is specifically designed for children and everything folds flat with button pushes rather than manhandling. The fact that we over-achieved without even trying in terms of fuel economy is a testament to the beautiful turbodiesel in the new Rover.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The Range rover Sport was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, about 569 miles were put on the vehicle in varied driving conditions ranging from heavy rain to sunny, hot days on both highways and surface roads.

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