2018 Range Rover HSE Td6
If you're going to spend around $100,000 for an SUV, you're going to expect a lot for your money — luxury, power, technology and off-road abilities, just for starters.
The 2018 Range Rover HSE Td6 exceeds all of those expectations. And, because it is a diesel, it also delivers better milaege that gas-powered siblings and competitors.
In fact, comparing Land Rover's largest vehicles to the competitors from other manufacturers isn't even much of a contest. Some may be faster, but they aren't as off-road capable. Some may be nearly as off-road capable, but they aren't as genuinely luxurious. Some may have a lot of technology, but they still lack such features as the camera package that allows drivers to see what's ahead, behind and under all four wheels. And most don't offer a diesel option.
If you've never owned a modern diesel, forget about the earlier versions that were noisy, smokey and slow. Today's turbodiesels are quiet, clean running and powerful enough to compete against anything but a performance gas-powered engine.
A case in point is the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel available in the Range Rover. Although the 245 horsepower it produces may not sound like much, the 443 foot-pounds of torque will push you back in your seat — and deliver an EPA average of 24 miles per gallon, despite the fact the vehicle weighs around two-and-a-half tons.
As expected from a company with decades of building luxury SUVs, the Range Rover is extremely comfortable on the road. The suspension soaks up every imperfection, leaving the driver and passengers all but isolated from the road. It is so quiet the slight burbling of the diesel rarely intrudes and the excellent Meridan sound system easily blocks everything else out. The sumptuous leather seats are plusher than anything in your living room. And the advanced safety systems mean you won't be surprised by anything other drivers are doing in front, beside or behind you.
More amazing are its astonishing off-road capabilities. The last time a range Rover competed in Mudfest, the annual competition of outdoor activity vehicles sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Automotive Writers Association, it won the Best Extreme Capability category. The 2014 version could be just about driven off a cliff and descend it fully under control with ease — and then turn around and climb back up it.
The biggest change for 2018 is likely to be the most controversial, however. The traditional controls for many climate, convenience and infotainment features have been replaced with two touch screens with steep learning curves. Much like the one found in new Volvos, everything is there and it all works, but it takes time and practice to use it efficiently, especially while driving.
The 2018 Range Rover comes in two lengths, short and long wheelbase versions, with the longer one providing more back seat room and an even more refined ride. It is also available with multiple powerplants, inlcuding a gas-powered 3.0-liter V6, two 5.0-liter V8s and even a plug-in hybrid model that promises up to 31 miles on electricity alone before switching over to traditional hybrid mode.
But for practicality, efficiency and ease of operation, it's hard to beat the Td6 version, especially since the price of diesel is now amost as low as regular gas, at least in my neighborhood.
2018 Range Rover HSE Td6
Base price: $96,050
Price as tested: $108,040
Type: Full-size luxury SUV
Engine: Turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (254 hp, 443 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with multiple drive modes
EPA estimated mileage: 22/28
Overall length: 196.9 inches
Curb weight: 5,000 pounds
Final assembly: Solihull, UK