2017 Land Rover Range Rover HSE Td6 Review

Real SUV luxury and fuel economy in one pricey package


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Incredibly smooth ride, seriously great off-road capability, luxurious and airy cabin with good seating and layout, sweet automatic dual tailgate, superb cargo space, good fuel economy.
Negatives: Painfully lagging throttle response, finicky infotainment system, no ventilated seats for those hot summer months, wafty handling and body roll.
Bottom Line: Almost no premium SUV out there exudes the kind of luxury and status that a Range Rover does. Like a creamy Davidoff cigar in a field of Dutch Masters, it stands out in a crowd of lesser SUVs. But the cushy digs and ride get sullied by lackluster handling, throttle delays and subpar electronics. In other words, most people will still gravitate to this off-road master simply because of its badge cred and luxury.
Diesel powertrains might be the pariah of the current automotive industry, thanks to Volkswagen, but they still live on in a few automakers, even at the higher end of the price spectrum. The Td6 version of the lofty Range Rover is one of them. It offers up high levels of luxury and off-road chops while providing solid gas mileage not touchable by its gas brethren. We drove it for a full week to see if miserly fuel numbers and oozed luxury make for good bedfellows. Read on for the full review.
 

Driving Experience

7.8

 

Driving the Td6 is like riding on a very expensive pillow. The quality of the ride is excellent for those who focus on comfort but less so when it comes to handling thrills.

Ride Quality: Extremely comfortable and compliant. There's a lot of movement in the suspension, but it absorbs practically everything.

Acceleration: Once you get up to highway speeds, acceleration is pretty strong. It's the initial throttle response that's brually slow. Mash the gas at a standstill and count a full second before anythinng happens. Ugh.

Braking: The Td6's brakes are good, and so is pedal progression. We just wish the nose didn't dive so much under hard braking.

Steering: Steering is definitely on the light side, but it's about right for this type of vehicle. The feel is lacking.

Handling: The Td6 is a tall vehicle with ample body roll in the corners.

Technology

7.7

 

We like the improvement in the way the infotainment system looks, but its menus and operation need work.

Infotainment System: The 7" screen looks good, but it's not always responsive, and some functions are hard to get to, like seat heating.

Controls: The infotainment buttons that flank the screen are nice, as are the climate control and audio knobs that make driving less distracting.

Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing took a little longer than we would've liked, but it wasn't terrible.

Voice Call Quality: Good voice call clarity and volume. We had no trouble conducting phone calls.

Styling

9

 

The current generation keeps with tradition in that the tall greenhouse is kept intact, but the overall body is far more modern than its predecessor. It's still a conservative look but one of the best luxury SUV designs we've seen.

Front: The easily recognizable textured grille is stunning, and the flanking LED trimmed headlights are distinctive, especially at night. The fascia isn't overdone, and we really like its combination of traditional and modern.

Rear: Like other Range Rovers, the Td6 looks tall but handsome from the back. The vertical taillights with square reverse insets are a nice touch. It's all conservative but Brit handsome.

Profile: The distinct Range Rover profile is kept with tall glass and smooth doors. A single body-length crease helps decrease visual height, as does the blackened roof and pillars.

Cabin: We love that Land Rover kept the interior clean and elegant. Nothing's overdone, and the materials look beautiful together. Leather is buttery soft, and the Macassar wood is stunning.

Comfort

8.8

 

The cabin is truly airy and relaxing, and the seats are excellent. We're sure numerous Range Rover customers are sold on the interior alone. It really is quite wonderful to sit in.

Front Seats: Cushy and comfortable with the trademark adjustable armrests.

Rear Seats: The rear seats in the Range Rover might not have the most legroom, but six footers can sit comfortably for hours.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Td6 is cosseting and quiet. The only noise comes from the clicking of the diesel mill, and that's not too bad.

Visibility: Big glass and a tall seating position make the Td6 great for placing where you need it. Pillars are kept at reasonable widths.

Climate: The climate system works very well. Too bad our tester didn't have cooled seats.

Safety

5

 

None of the Range Rover trims has been tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA. This is likely the case since this model isn't considered a popular/mainstream vehicle.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The standard safety features include Autonomous Emergency Braking, lane departure warning, rearview camera, ABS, airbags, and roll stability control.

Optional Tech: Monroney sticker not provided.

Storage/Cargo

8.3

 

The Range Rover is spacious, and its cargo hold is especially sow. The fact that its air suspension automatically lowers when loading and unloading make it that much better.

Storage Space: The cabin doesn't have a ton of storage space for small items, but the armrest is a good place for concealment. Other than the cupholders and their retractable door, there's not much for phone, keys, etc.

Cargo Room: 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space with seats in place, 82.8 with seats folded flat.

Fuel Economy

8.7

 

For a big, heavy SUV to get mid-twenties in spirited driving conditions is pretty damned good. We've driven SUVs with the same power output that couldn't even touch 20. The throttle response is the sacrifice you make.

Observed: 24.5 mpg

Distance Driven: 323 miles

Driving Factors: Our combined driving took place on both suburban roads and highway commuting.

Audio

8.4

 

The stock Meridian audio system is quite good with 13 booming speakers that provide solid bass, clarity and volume. We experienced no distortion regardless of the type of music played. It's a very good system.



Final Thoughts

We love Range Rovers because they're just so damned good at tackling the kind of off-road conditions at which most crossovers and SUVs would utterly fail. Rocky canyon trails, deep mud, and crippling snow are no match for the Range Rover and its Terrain Response System. Too bad few buyers who can afford a Range Rover would try anything resembling off road. The rest buy it for status and comfort, which the Range Rover provides in spades. It's truly luxurious ride. As great as this Range Rover Td6 is, it gets hampered by the throttle lag. If you can afford this premium vehicle, we recommend the gas version. It's quicker, more responsive, and just as beautiful to behold. We do laud Land Rover for putting a diesel in its lineup, but the performance needs a bit of improvement.
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