A nip here, a tuck there, but excellence is still intact
Words by: Adam Allen
What’s new for 2018?
Land Rover’s flagship is loved by those who own one and coveted by those who do not, so any updates bestowed upon their top dog need to be subtle- messing with a tried and true formula is simply unacceptable. With that said, we think that mandate has been fulfilled admirably. Some might need to look closely to see the changes, and when they do they’ll notice squintier headlamps which take their cue from the new Velar, and out back the LED taillights have been revised as well. There are new wheels designs and colors on offer, including the showstopping Rossello Red our tester was furnished in. Also cribbed from the Velar is the slick InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system and occupants can now enjoy even more comfort from the upgraded thrones at all four corners. Chilly elbows and forearms will bask in the gentle warmth from the heated armrests. Powertrain choices are largely carried over- there are familiar supercharged V6 and V8 gasoline engines and a diesel option featured by our tester.
Range Rover isn’t giving up on diesel just yet.
After the whole Dieselgate thing happened it kind of threw a wet blanket over enthusiasm for oil burners. That’s a shame, because diesels have come such a long way with their technological improvements with their high-pressure fuel systems, stringent emissions controls and vastly smoother operational characteristics. There is of course the prodigious torque outputs they offer, never mind the stellar fuel economy they can muster. Although the 3.0 V6 our tester lacked the whip crack response of its gasoline counterparts, it lends a nice waftability to the proceedings, moving confidently under a velvety wave of 443-foot pounds worth of torque. Supplementing the cosseting experience are the air suspenders at all corners. They offer uncanny comfort whether the road is smoothly paved or gnarled and festooned with bumps of varying severity. When they aren’t keeping passengers blissfully unaware of the nasty tarmac unfolding below, the air suspension shows off its proficiency of keeping body roll commendably in check. There are many fine luxury SUV’s out there, but few can match the Rangie’s ability to provide such a comforting experience with the ability to venture far off the grid if that’s your thing. We especially delighted in its highway cruising abilities while we glided along, the diesel purring contentedly under hood barely ticking over idle.
In other news, the interior is still great.
Those new palatial seats offer even more comfort than before, and thicker glass throughout keeps the din of the outside world at bay. If you’re thinking that pampering occupants was top of mind when they designed the Range Rover’s interior, you’d be right. Rear seat passengers will bask in the glow cast from the seatback mounted screens while they watch whatever they like, the driver and co-pilot undisturbed thanks to the wireless headphones. If things do get a little noisy, the Meridian audio system has more than enough power to drown out pretty much everything, including your own thoughts of you raise the volume enough. We’ve tested this model previously and although changes are incremental, the hedonistic vibe continues to permeate ever facet of the Range Rover experience. We should note one feature we have yet to encounter in any vehicle that has spent time in the Carpages Garage, and that is the blind spot monitoring system for rear passengers. If, for example, someone riding a bicycle is flanking the Range Rover as its passengers disembark at their destination, a light illuminated on the door letting those about to fling open their door that someone could be seriously injured. It’s a neat trick and should be a boon here in Toronto where the cycling population continues to grow (and sadly, so does their indifference to sharing the road with cars and trucks.)
What might go wrong?
When it comes to Land Rover products, we are beginning to get a little tired of making the same complaints about the infotainment systems and occasional electronic gremlins. The fact remains that it is our job to tell you what’s what about whatever we test and until the software engineers overcome the struggle over screens that freeze up, backup cameras that refuse to turn on and seemingly random beeping from the many sensors placed all over the SUV we will have no choice but to continue our bellyaching. The InControl Touch Pro Duo is a palpable effort to the good, but we hesitate to fully rejoice until it responds faster to commands- perhaps they can fix this with an update of sorts as they continue to dial it in. Lastly, what’s the deal with the lack of cooled seats? We would expect them to be part of the deal at the level of prestige the Range Rover plays in.
Should I buy a Range Rover HSE Td6?
As diesel dwindles from option sheets, there won’t be many choices available for those who need a luxury full size SUV that can tow stuff (up to 3,500 kilos in the Ranger Rover’s case should you find yourself wondering.) In this rarified air of high end SUV’s there are many great choices- The Mercedes Benz GLS and the soon to be revealed BMW X7 come to mind- but there’s something about the way Range Rover does luxury that simply can’t be matched, and as you read this none of those other players offer diesel power nor are they as adept off road. You might have to look closely to see the subtle changes Land Rover has implemented on their flagship, but you won’t need to concentrate whatsoever to reveal its ingrained excellence.
2018 Range Rover HSE Td6 – Specifications
- Price as tested: $130,440
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger SUV
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/four-wheel drive
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Engine: 3.0 litre V6, DOHC, 24 valves
- Horsepower: 254 @ 3,750 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 443 @ 1,750 rpm
- Curb weight: 2,249 kg (4,958 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 10.2L/100km (22 mpg)