This diesel-powered beauty boasts fuel-efficiency while delivering top-end luxury
Test driving a 2018 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 in one of Southern California’s suburban beach communities this past week, I fit right in. At least automotively speaking anyway. In this slice of metropolis suburbia, SUVs rule the proverbial roost where soccer moms haul oodles of kids to and fro, take an abnormal abundance of blond Labradors to the groomers and occasionally, engage in shelf-emptying escapades at Costco.
Once a die-hard lacrosse mom, I have done my fair share of serious schlepping. And for the past 20 years, it has always been from behind the wheel of an SUV. With the Rover Sport, I was happily able to fully engage my innate tendency of being severely smug. Smugness was permitted because this HSE Td6 model, with a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 engine possessing 254 horsepower and a zippy 443 pounds of torque gets amazing mileage for a 4,773-pound workhorse beauty.
Although the official EPA rates for this Rover lists mileage at 22 for the city and 28 for highway, my personal experience was that those numbers are inexplicably, artificially low. And while I often wear ubiquitous Australian UGG boots while driving, those who have driven with me know my right foot in those boots contains copious amounts of lead. Exceedingly careful but heavy footed, I got closer to 34 miles per gallon on the freeway and about 25 miles per gallon while tooling around town during rush-hour traffic on crowded surface streets.
For those who drive off-road or tow – horse trailers, snowmobiles, race cars or whatever else floats your boat – this Rover’s diesel power train produces 111 pound-feet of torque more than the gas model (443 vs. 332). According to Land Rover, the Range Rover Sport can comfortably haul up to 7,716 pounds.
In addition to my well-warranted mileage smugness, this Rover packs some rare luxury for such a powerhouse SUV.
Seating in the Rover Sport is undeniably comfortable, whether in bumper-to-bumper traffic or for long-haul travel. The perforated Windsor leather seats, both heated and ventilated, are certainly the best I have recently encountered and far more sumptuous than those in similar-sized SUVs in both the Mercedes and BMW line up. Another terrific feature – especially for those like me who are a tad vertically challenged – is that in the Rover Sport the driver is happily elevated, thus increasing comfort and visibility.
The Touch Pro Duo infotainment system is incredibly user friendly, even for me, well known to be technologically lame. The two high-definition touchscreens are the cabin’s centerpiece. They are at once elegant, yet functional. Even though this system is different from my daily SUV drive, within minutes I was voice commanding for Navigation and making I-phone calls. This is and of itself may be a miracle fairly close to that resembling Moses’ parting of the Red Sea.
The front center console contains USB ports so that connectivity is never an issue. Indeed there are 14 points to power your digital world including an AC power outlet. Of the many features the Rover has, one of my all-time favorites is the built-in refrigerator compartment that is push button accessible. Here I stored bottled water and diet Coke that remained frosty and enjoyed throughout my various road trips.
The refrigerator compartment is one of those items in the $1,385 optional equipment package that also included a sliding panoramic roof, heated steering wheel and four-zone climate control. While having a car fridge strictly speaking, may not be a necessary vehicular item, having one, especially while stuck in traffic or on long hauls is most certainly wonderful.
Perhaps because of the death of paper map usage, many recent SUVs designs in this class have reduced glove compartment real estate, rendering them minuscule and virtually useless. This is something I have found particularly annoying, especially when stuck in traffic or on long road trips, as if maps were the only items for which glove compartments are used. A wide selection of chocolate, candy and granola bars anyone? Much to my chocoholic delight, the Rover Sport has a split glove compartment, giving drivers not one, but two glove compartments! Thus for the duration of my test drive, I was in a sugar-induced bliss.
The MSRP of the Rover Sport I test drove is $74,350. This is $2,000 above the gas model pricing. However, when you take into consideration that the 340 horsepower gas model gets 17 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway, the delta of $2,000 in purchase price is well worth it given the fuel savings.
With the optional equipment, including the Climate Comfort Pack, the Drive Pro Pack, the Off Road Pack, the Tow Pack and the Vision Assist Pack, the destination and delivery charges of $995, the total price of the model I drove was $86,775.
If you need more reasons to be smug, models for 2019 (available in late Q1, early Q2) will include a Plug-In Hybrid power train option that will produce a total output of 398 horsepower and 472-pound feet of torque.
In the meantime, or if you are not quite ready for a hybrid, yet want a seriously delightful drive that is all at once luxurious, smart and fuel-efficient, the 2018 Range Rover HSE Td6 will fit the bill perfectly and will provide a dream daily drive, whatever your terrain.
Julie L. Kessler is MoneyInc’s Managing Travel and Luxury Editor and writes for several major media outlets in the U.S. and Asia. She is also an attorney, legal commentator and the award-winning author of “Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight.” She can be reached at Julie@VagabondLawyer.com