Few SUVs operate as smoothly around town as they do off road. In the luxury segment, the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover supplies an upscale presentation fit for country club visits and river fording alike. The Range Rover is available in standard and extended wheelbase models, and a diesel engine is now available for the first time in the U.S.
Introduced in 1970, the Land Rover Range Rover serves as the brand’s flagship model. It’s offered in base, HSE, Supercharged and Autobiography trims, as well as a newly available SV Autobiography edition.
Additional changes for the 2016 model year include a new turbodiesel engine, a refreshed infotainment system and a few new features, such as an automatically lowering air suspension system, off-road cruise control and a hands-free tailgate.
The Land Rover Range Rover exudes luxury without saturating us with flashy embellishments. Its lines are firm, clean and expressive. They also point to Land Rover’s heritage with upright roof pillars. There are contemporary touches too, with sophisticated front lighting assemblies, crisp lines and a tucked in rear quarter.
The Range Rover’s front fascia is punctuated by an egg-crate grille and wraparound headlamps. The lower section is composed of vent slits and fog lamps with a skid plate rounding out the presentation. A massive clamshell hood and a lengthy windshield contribute to the Range Rover’s determined expression.
Along the sides, the Range Rover features a slightly falling roofline, a low and straight beltline, an upper character line and vertical body lines on the front doors. There’s also chrome trim running along the rocker panel and across the rear quarter. All models come dressed in split-spoke 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels.
At its rear, the Range Rover has a large liftgate spoiler, vertical combination lamps, dual exhaust tips and a skid plate. Notably, the gesture-controlled liftgate is a two-part design with the upper section lifting up and the lower section dropping down, making it easier to access the rear storage area.
There may not be a roomier cabin anywhere that’s better suited to seating five people. Where other manufacturers might have shoved in a third-row seat at great compromise to the rear storage area’s 32-cubic-foot capacity, Land Rover makes every seat count in the 2016 Range Rover.
The interior is spacious with excellent sight lines everywhere, thanks in part to the Range Rover’s expansive greenhouse and upright roof pillars. Broad, plush bucket seats are up front and a 40-20-40 split-folding bench seat is in the rear.
Clean lines, exceptional materials and excellent fit and finish define the Range Rover’s cabin. Leather, wood and aluminum trim fill the interior. If there was a square inch of plastic present, I could not find it. From side to side, the dashboard is expansive, orderly and uncluttered.
The instrument panel features a digital display with tachometer and speedometer readouts. The dash is swathed in leather and the power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel is composed of wood and partially wrapped in leather.
The center stack’s orderliness is a welcome relief from competing models that are filled with more buttons, switches and dials than one can possibly count or make sense of. At the very top of the stack are a pair of vents, which are flanked by the start/stop button to the left and the glove box button to the right.
Beneath that is an 8-inch color touch-screen display with four rows of icons for managing the camera, parking, phone and other controls. The center compartment that separates the front seats has the transmission and terrain management dials on the left and two cup holders on the right. An oversized storage compartment between the front seats is generously proportioned and large enough to accommodate a small handbag.
Beyond the expected amenities, all models come with heated front seats, a Meridian audio system, Bluetooth and a rearview camera. Trim level upgrades bring in 4-way tilt front headrests, a sliding panoramic moonroof and stainless steel gas and brake pedals. At the top end of the collection are a 29-speaker Meridian audio system, four-zone climate control, 18-way power-operated front seats with massage and a rear-seat entertainment system.
One can’t-miss attribute of the Range Rover is just how quiet it is. Land Rover has employed a variety of sound deadening materials that keep exterior noise out while managing interior noise with the careful placement of every audio speaker. Sound management is a science and Land Rover aced that class.
Three engine choices are available with the 2016 Range Rover. All three come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.
The standard engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine making 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. This model is EPA-rated at 17/23 mpg city/highway.
A supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that produces 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque is also available. In the SV Autobiography edition, this engine is specially tuned and boosted, delivering 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. Models with this engine get an EPA-estimated 14/19 mpg city/highway.
For 2016, a turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine joins the Range Rover line. It generates 254 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque and is available in base and HSE trims. The turbodiesel V6 provides a 32 percent boost in fuel efficiency over the comparable gasoline engine, delivering 22/29 mpg city/highway according to the EPA.
As tested, a Land Rover Range Rover HSE was provided and outfitted with the turbodiesel engine. I’ve tested a variety of Land Rover products over the past year and am familiar with all three engine choices.
The turbodiesel is surprisingly quiet and nearly imperceptible when sitting inside the cabin. Even when standing by the front bumper, the diesel-powered Range Rover is muted except on cold days when the sound is moderately magnified.
Engage the transmission, press down the accelerator and the Range Rover moves forward with confidence. The diesel clatter increases, but it is never particularly raucous. Stomp the pedal and an explosive amount of low-end torque kicks in. This model is narrowly slower than its gas-powered counterpart and fast on the highway.
The Range Rover is outfitted with a variable-ratio electric power steering system offering appropriate feedback. Drivers are given welcome control over the suspension and steering with a Terrain Response system that adjusts the driving feel depending on the conditions.
Full-time four-wheel drive is standard with torque split evenly between the front and rear axles. Various drive modes make it easier for the big SUV to cross sand, retreat mud and push through snow. If there is a benchmark for luxury SUVs, the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover certainly is it.
Standard and available technology features push the Land Rover Range Rover into a segment of its own making. The Terrain Response system is enhanced by an air suspension designed for extraordinary articulation.
The Range Rover’s four-wheel drive system maximizes grip with ease and offers shift-on-the-fly adjustment, allowing drivers to switch in and out of low range at speeds up to 37 mph.
An assortment of driver assistance technologies remove the stress of driving a big SUV. Park assist is an integral part of the Range Rover experience, aiding in parallel parking with a 360-degree view of the SUV and its surrounding obstacles on the color display.
Range Rover supplies a pair of screens on the dashboard. The instrument panel is composed of a 12.3-inch screen that replaces the standard gauges, and the infotainment system features an 8-inch touch-screen display. The instrument panel is easily decipherable and quick to adjust; the center stack’s arrangement is logical. Consider the touch screen about average in usability. There are better systems out there, but at least it escapes the calamity found in certain luxury models.
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has crash tested the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover. Nevertheless, the SUV’s weighty proportions and high-profile are assets that shouldn’t be underestimated.
The standard surround-view camera system adds a technology layer to this SUV’s customary safety features. This system makes it easier to maneuver the big SUV in tight spaces or identify trouble – such as a child or a pet in harm’s way – and take corrective action.
Voice-controlled Bluetooth allows the driver to stay focused on the road ahead while working through commands. Excellent visibility, adaptive cruise control and a package of lane keeping and parking technologies add to this vehicle’s safety credentials.
Shop for a Range Rover and it is doubtful that price will play a consequential role in your purchase decision. That said, there is a $115,000 price differential between the base model and the lavish SV Autobiography trim.
The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover starts at $84,950. HSE models are priced from $91,950 and the Supercharged starts at $103,195. Choose the Autobiography edition and you’ll pay from $139,995.
The long wheelbase Range Rover begins with the Supercharged edition carrying a $108,195 price tag. At the very top of the pricing spectrum is the SV Autobiography with a starting price of $199,495. For 2016, Land Rover will only release 100 SV Autobiography models in the U.S. market.
Most shoppers can expect to pay in the six-figure range for their Range Rover. Even the tested HSE edition topped out at $106,000 as such features as the diesel engine ($1,500), upgraded split-spoked wheels ($2,800), metallic paint ($1,800) and a fixed panoramic roof ($2,150) were added. Deployable side steps, rear seat entertainment, and an 825-watt Meridian sound system contributed to the final cost.
There are very few direct competitors to the 2016 Range Rover. The Mercedes-Benz G-Glass, Lexus LX and Cadillac Escalade are a few models that come to mind. The first two are capable off-road mavens, while the Escalade is almost singularly prized for its on-road presence.
Although most people won’t buy a Range Rover for its off-road antics or for towing, it shines in both departments. The diesel option only makes this model better and as a $1,500 upgrade it brings a rare value proposition to the product line.