Car Review: 2016 Range Rover Sport TDV6

1462696033235Range Rover’s TDV6 is the entry level model to the Range Rover Sport family and has some omissions surprising to find in a luxury SUV. We’ll come to them shortly.
What’s important here is the engine. It’s an impressive piece of earth rotating machinery, with torque enough to twist Superman’s arm. What it also delivers is an engaging driver experience, aurally and physically, shoving the passengers backwards whilst reeling in the horizon, complete with a snarl from the exhaust and a most undiesel like growl from the front. Impressive stuff from a 2115 kilo machine.2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport engine

The reason for the excitement is a V6 of 3.0 litres capacity; there’s a whopping 600 torques (peak) at just 2000 rpm with a suitably eyebrow raising 190 kW at 4000 revs. It’s the redline figure for this that raises the eyebrow further, with 6000 rpm the end of the line here. It’s a figure that only the most churlish and disliking of torque will see, or someone that likes to think about engines self destructing from revs, as that torque really is all you should need to know.

The engine is hooked up to a slurry eight speed auto; if you’re in a hurry, use the paddle shifts. It’s quick, sharp, instant, crisp to a fault when you do so, compared to the easy and soft change under gentle acceleration or the slide from ratio to ratio under a heavy right foot. There were instances of what is known as turbo lag, when the right foot goes down and the turbo is spinning at revs lower than required to pressure the engine into performing. Consequently, some driving situations had the big beastie lurching forward after a moment’s hesitation, requiring the driver to be on their guard.

As it’s a vehicle that asks for, nay, demands spirited driving, the economy was a surprise all the way. The official figures are: 6.9L/100 km for the combined, 6.4L/100 km for the highway and a not unreasonable 7.8L/100 km for the urban. A Wheel Thing’s stint saw 8.5L per 100 km as the final figure.

Right quality seemed less jiggly than the HST tested in early 2016, with a sensation of rubber meeting the varying road surfaces more efficiently, with perhaps a touch more softness in the air adjustable suspension. Handling was also just that little more planted, as a result, lacking the minor skittishness the HST exhibited. Rubber was 235/65/19 from Pirelli, which may have contributed.2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport wheel

The steering was quick, responsive, with the variable ratio speed sensitive making parking easier to deal with. It’s planted, stable, thanks to an almost equal front to rear rear track of 1690 mm and 1685 mm. A decently large wheelbase of 2923 mm, inside the 4850 mm overall length, does however make a turning circle of 12.3 mm a little larger than expected. 2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport front seatsInside, you’re greeted with a nice office. You get in, strap in, hit the Start button, go to zero the trip meter and then adjust the electric seats….except the TDV6 doesn’t have them. Yes. Being the entry level, it’s Mr Manual Adjustment to the rescue. Being a vehicle from the UK, there’s no problem with heating the comfortable leather seats. Cooling, however, is a different question. Hmmm…2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport dashGiven it’s the entry level model, it’s not unsurprising that the TV function (yes, truly) wasn’t fitted but it does come with DAB+, with station info on a cluttered screen. Again, the sensitivity of the tuner in the TDV6 wasn’t quite as strong as hose in the Japanese cars tested, with signal dropout and degradation far more apparent. But, when locked in, sound quality was punchy and clear.

Here’s where the geek part comes into play: not all digital stations are the same in broadcasting strength, as A Wheel Thing’s inquisitive mind found out. There’s an “i” symbol for info, on the screen, with the preferred station (Triple M Classic Rock) showing as “single channel” yet sounding like stereo.
Here’s the tech info from Adam at Triple M Classic Rock:

“It appears that because we are running classic rock at a lower bit rate to 2DayFM, we chose to use parametric stereo over discrete stereo. Essentially the stereo signal is down mixed and is encoded with some small amount of information about the stereo signal. This is called Parametric Side info. The Decoder (Car Radio/ DAB Radio) then uses the mono signal with the Parametric Side Info to faithfully regenerate the stereo signal. This technique only actually gives a “good” stereo impression and is only used at lower bitrates.
So the car in theory is showing the correct information by saying “Single Channel” but really it should show “Parametric Stereo”.”

Got that? Good. It would also account for the quicker dropout on that station when it comes to distance but doesn’t account for the weaker reception in areas other cars with DAB+ tuners have.2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport rear cargo2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport rear seatsThe interior otherwise has the split fold seats, a robotic face to the steering wheel and plenty of clear vision. There’s no sunroof fitted, though, nor is there the chillbox in the centre console. One does, however, get a power tail gate. There’s analogue dials for the driver and a small LCD screen separating the two. There’s the drive mode dial, also, offering program selections for surfaces like Gravel, Grass, Snow, and little doubt that it’s capable of doing so. There’s also the ride height adjustments, with a bit of “old man” groaning when settling down once the ignition had been turned off.2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport console

Outside it’s business as usual for the Sport range, with a strong slope to the windscreen, a stiff taper in the window line through to the rear, LED head and tail lights which provide a distinctive visual signature, more than a hint of brawn to the body style and enough bodywork to justify the Sport nomenclature. 2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport profileThe review car was in Silver metallic, suiting the bluff shape of the big car. Puddle lamps mounted on the underside of the doors show the Range Rover logo, when illuminated. What the heated wing mirrors didn’t get was Blind Spot Alert, leaving the pilot to use the organic analogue detection devices…

However, The TDV6 S does get Hill Descent Control, Gradient release and Gradient Acceleration Control, the Terrain Response Control system, plus Cornering Brake Control and the now standard electronic driver aids.

Safety isn’t an issue, with the brakes (non branded in colouring) responsive immediately, wonderfully progressive throughout the travel and, of course, airbags and most required electronic aids. Warranty wise, you’re covered by three years worth of after purchase peace of mind, including Roadside Assistance.2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport rear

2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport tail lightShould Sir decide to go offroad, Sir can feel comfortable in the knowledge of being able to wade up to a depth of 850 mm and with a variable suspension height of 213 mm to 278 mm, approach and departure angles of 19.4 to 27.2 degrees and 24.9 to 31.0 degrees are possible. Towing? Natch. 3500 kilograms, thank you kindly.2015 Range Rover TDV6 S Sport front

Using the online price calculator, the TDV6 comes out on road at just under $101K driveaway, with a list price of just over $88K.

At The End Of The Drive.
Every car is something to its driver, be it an appliance used to get from A to B to A again or an investment that rarely sees the road and is washed once a week, regardless. To A Wheel Thing, the appeal of the TDV6 was the torque, the sledgehammer response when the slipper was sunk and the surprisingly alluring noises as a result. As a road package, it felt better attracted to the tarmac, less liable to be unsettled and skittish.

It was a surprise to not find certain safety options not fitted in a car circling the $100K mark, but conversely it IS the entry level in its range, therefore needs the same differentiation from bottom to top as other ranges of vehicles costing far less.

The TDV6 Sport fitted A Wheel Thing nicely, leaving no doubt that the same engine in a higher range model will offer the ideal balance of “Work” and “Play.”

2015 & 2016 Range Rover and Land Rover range is where you need to go for more detailed info, book a test drive and check out the options list.

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