Tested: 2016 Land Rover Range Rover

The days of requiring a V8 engine to lug your typical luxury SUV are waning. So says Land Rover, at any rate. The company now offers its ever-graceful Range Rover with a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine as the base powerplant. The British brand was good enough to loan us just such a vehicle for a test, and we found that, in the main, the 340-horsepower six doesn’t do anything to sully a magnificent driving experience.

Pros:

  • The supercharged V6 is remarkably good. We have been firm fans of the 5.0-litre V8 that Land Rover used in so many applications, for so many years, but this smaller mill gives up nothing in terms of performance. The engine makes 332 pound-feet of torque to go with the 340 horses, with all of that twist available at an accessible 3,500 rpm. Combined with an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission, that translates to smooth power delivery and laid-back speed.
  • Range Rovers have always offered decked-out interiors, but the 2016 iteration of the cabin is downright decadent. Pale leather swathed my test car’s innards; something so light wouldn’t be my first choice, but the application is stunning. Every control or surface that I encountered felt hand-crafted and looked remarkably stylish. Rubber mats with white leather seats… that’s something you can only get away with in a Range Rover. Oh, and if you’re a music fan at all, the 825-watt, $1,850 Meridian sound system is highly recommended.
  • Ride quality is good in that “floating over the Earth” sort of way. I pushed the big-bodied Rangie on a few curvy roads, finding expected softness in the suspension and a dearth steering feel. No big thing; driven as a large SUV should be, the Range Rover whooshes its occupants to their destinations with a feeling of rich, good-smelling confidence.

Cons:

  • At six-feet, five-inches tall, I’d expect something as large as a Range Rover to provide me with often-missed space behind the wheel. This is the car rookie NBA players buy, right? The truth is that I fit, but without quite as much legroom as I’d hope for an SUV in this class. Long-wheelbase Range Rovers may have ample rear-seat room for guys my size, but the standard-length version that I drove can be cramped for the XL set.
  • You’ve got to pay through the nose for the privilege of driving this British brute. The most basic version asks more than $100,000, or close to $10,000 more than Cadillac wants for an all-wheel-drive Escalade, for instance. A Mercedes-Benz GL450 – with a similar forced-induction 3.0-litre V6 – starts out at just about $82,000. Sure, the Range Rover is a far superior off-roading vehicle than just about anything in the large lux SUV class, but how often do you plan on churning through the mud and ruts?

Competitors:

  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Infiniti QX80
  • Lexus LX
  • Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Engine Supercharged 3.0-liter V6
Output 340 Horsepower / 322 Pound-Feet
Transmission 8-Speed Automatic
NRCAN Fuel Economy 14.2 City / 10.2 Highway / 12.4 Combined L/100 km
Weight 2,230 Kilograms
0-96 KM/H 7.1 Seconds
Top Speed 209 KM/H
Base Price $108,490
Price As Tested $97,156 USD (US model tested)

 

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