The Land Rover Range Rover has been on a journey of improvement and refinement for the past 46 years. Land Rover introduced the model in the UK in 1970 as what it calls “the first ever luxury SUV,” which featured the comfort of a car in an off-road-capable machine, full-time four-wheel drive, and disc brakes at all four corners.
In 1986, American buyers were given the chance to find out just how posh and polished a Land Rover SUV could be. The automaker continued to make its flagship vehicle better, giving it anti-lock brakes in 1989 and Electronic Traction Control and an Automatic Electronic Air Suspension three years later.
Two more further-improved generations followed. The second, codenamed P38a, came in 1994 and introduced the world to not only a new design and heightened interior luxury, but to the regal rig’s height adjustable suspension and new engine lineup. Between 2001 and 2012, the third incarnation of the Range Rover treated adventurers to the finery of its cabin, which featured cues from high-end yachts, upscale furniture, and first-class airline seats, and the power of its available supercharged V8 engines.
Land Rover took the Range Rover into its fourth generation in 2012. Of course, it looked different inside and out. The differences between it and its predecessor were more than just cosmetic, though. They were material – literally. Land Rover began making the Range Rover’s body out of weight-cutting, fuel-saving aluminum.
The Range Rover has also been on a physical journey since 1970. In 1974, a Range Rover made it across the brutal landscape of the Sahara Desert. Range Rovers won the 1979 and 1981 Paris-Dakar Rally races. Fourth-generation Range Rover Hybrids traversed the ancient silk route from the UK to India in 2013, covering 9,950 miles in the process. Customers have taken their Range Rovers on countless more journeys.
Land Rover’s four-wheel-drive icon is not done traveling – not in terms of its luxury and sophistication or its physical destinations, but it’s certainly in a great spot in 2016. We were recently in a great spot, too. We had the privilege of being behind the wheel of a diesel-powered 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 and driving it for a week around Central Texas.
2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 Exterior
Anywhere a Range Rover goes, its reputation precedes it. So does its name. The green oval badge on the right side of the perforated three-bar grille gives passersby a hint of what vehicle they’re looking at, but those 10 letters on the hood leave no doubt. The grille of our tester was flanked by adaptive xenon headlamp casings that flowed back into the front fenders.
Perhaps the most important component of the Range Rover’s front end was the lowest part of it. That gave it an approach angle of 34.7 degrees, a key contributor to the Range Rover’s off-road prowess.
Our review vehicle was coated in a paint color that Land Rover calls Scotia Grey, a beautiful, subtle mixture of the neutral, blue, and green.
A pronounced character line started at the front and extended at a slight upward angle under the “floating” roof and over the 20-inch wheels and into the wraparound casings for the LED taillights. The bodywork below those was shaped to give the Range Rover a departure angle of 29.5 degrees – close to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon’s departure angle of 32.5 degrees.
2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 Interior
The pure luxury of the Range Rover’s cabin was the product of mixtures, such as light and dark, and leather seats, metallic trim, and glossy wood accents. Even if you were blindfolded and seated in the Range Rover, you’d know you were in a special vehicle the second your fingertips touched one of the high-quality surfaces around you.
What we felt underneath us was just as impressive. Land Rover engineers found the sweetest of spots in the Range Rover’s suspension. It wasn’t too firm when the tires contacted rough pavement and it wasn’t too floaty afterward. We were honestly surprised at how well the suspension soaked up imperfections in the road. We’d expect any luxury SUV to offer a smooth ride, but we learned just what that can be from the Range Rover.
Our tester had something to offer our other senses, too. We could crank up the volume on the 380-watt Meridian audio system or get an eyeful of the nighttime sky through the sliding panoramic glass roof. There was nothing to taste inside the cabin, but the ventilated front seats sure were sweet on sweltering Texas summer days.
2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 Performance
Depending on trim level, the Range Rover is available with a variety of six- and eight-cylinder engines. The one we had the keys to was powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6. That cranked out a healthy 254 horsepower and a stout 443 lbft of torque. Once the Td6 got into the meat of its power band, it pulled hard. The eight-speed automatic went about its job of changing gears imperceptibly – just the way we like it.
According to the EPA, our Td6-powered Range Rover was able to get 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined**. We averaged a figure in the neighborhood of 22 mpg.
Earlier this year, we took a slightly different Range Rover HSE Td6 to an off-highway vehicle park. We went home with a real knowledge of what Range Rovers can do on less-than-smooth roads. Its Terrain Response System allowed us to set our rig to handle a variety of surfaces. Hill Descent Control kept us going down steep grades at a calm, steady speed. All Terrain Progress Control acted as a form of off-road cruise control and took us up vertigo-inducing inclines with sure feet…er…tires.
2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 Safety
Inside the Range Rover, we were surrounded by a variety of electronic safety nets. Some of those included front and side airbags, a Surround Camera System that let us see everything around us from a bird’s-eye view, and a Blind Spot Monitor with Reverse Traffic Detection. The Lane Departure Warning system alerted us if we tried to leave our lane without signaling. If we missed a speed limit sign with our eyes, the Range Rover saw it with its own and warned us of the limit in the gauge cluster.
2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 Overall
We knew the Range Rover model is still on its journey to higher levels of on- and off-road refinement and abilities, so we expected the $94,945 2016 HSE Td6 we tested was going to be on a trip back to Land Rover at the end of a week. In its absence, we were left knowing how handsome, comfortable, powerful, and capable it is now. To find out for yourself, visit an AutoNation-affiliated Land Rover dealer. Prices for the 2016 Range Rover start at $84,950*.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.