By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
Sitting supremely atop the luxury-
SUV pinnacle is the
2016 Land Rover Range Rover. The SUV concept was started by Land Rover and Jeep, and the British nameplate remains the standard for world-conquering capabilities and unbeatable image. From a New Guinea jungle to a Connecticut dinner party, respect for and recognition of Range Rover is universal. And it has the chops to back it up, with technology and innovation that give it reason-defying capabilities. With a choice of three strong engines (including a new turbodiesel), a superbly brilliant driveline and suspension, impressive technology and an old-world Brit luxury feel, the Range Rover stands off from the crowd. Admittedly expensive and just slightly eccentric, the Land Rover Range Rover is unmistakably and unapologetically its own identity.
The quaintly charming paradox is that the Range Rover is among the world’s most all-conqueringly capable vehicles yet, most of the time, its purpose seems to be to let others know, and to continually remind yourself, that you’ve arrived. If that’s you, then at least you can arrive in style.
It’s nearly unimaginable you’ll be going someplace that requires the Range Rover’s capabilities. Even so, there are nice choices that will do the job, cost half as much and probably be more trouble-free. They won’t be a Range Rover, but you’ll have more money for other things.
KBB Expert Ratings
There’s a new 3.0-liter turbodiesel, with 443 lb-ft of torque and 29-mpg highway; HSE models have an updated supercharged V6 with 380 horsepower; new features include All-Terrain Progress Control, Automatic Access Height, Hands-Free Gesture Power Tailgate and Land Rover InControl Remote & Protect, for emergency services and other functions.
If there are awards for thoughtful genius in vehicle behavior the Land Rover engineers ought to be first in line. Short of something operated by the military, very, very few...
... vehicles can stay with a Range Rover when it gets off the pavement. Way, way off the pavement. Then set it on a highway, cruise it around town, even hustle it up a curving mountain road and the Range Rover remains serenely, almost arrogantly in control of whatever is underneath it. To the office, to dinner, to shopping (its by-far most likely habitats), its occupants will swear they are in a luxury sedan. The supercharged V8 models will have you thinking “supercar,” ski resort weekends will have you thinking “snow plow.” Check this: Its specifications include a wading depth of nearly three feet; it doesn’t have to walk on water, it drives through it.
No matter what else there is about the Range Rover, do not doubt its extraordinary capabilities; it’s the deserved legend upon which the brand stands. The air suspension rises and settles appropriate to conditions, it clambers over rocks and wades through creeks, its capabilities make champions of us all.
Depending upon which Range Rover you choose, the engine will be a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 443 lb-ft of torque and 29 mpg on the highway, a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 of either 340 or 380 horsepower, or a 5.0-liter V8 of 510 horsepower. No slouches, these.
Step inside the 2016 Range Rover and you’ll know you spent your (considerable) money well. If there is leather better than this, good luck finding it. If there is stitching better than this, don’t ask us who does it. Some controls are odd – quick; honk the horn – and it doesn’t take much searching to find vehicles with better ergonomics. But the luxury is obvious. Front-seat passengers have ample room, and rear legroom is generous even in the regular-wheelbase versions. The Executive Class Seating means a full-length center console that divides the rear into individual seats with recline and massage functions.
Early Land Rovers were boxes with sanded-off corners and the 2016 Range Rover sleekly continues that theme. Its relative shortness enhances maneuverability; even the long-wheelbase version is about the same length as a Chevy Traverse. Structurally, the aluminum unibody saves roughly 700 pounds, and it’s wrapped elegantly, stem to stern. One thing we like: Headlights and taillights mimic each other’s shapes and are linked by a chalk-stripe of a crease that defines the hood’s lower edge and the headlights’ top edges, slices through the door handles, marks the taillights’ top edges and underlines “Range Rover” on the tailgate. Nice touch.
The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover’s trim levels are base Range Rover and HSE, with either the supercharged V6 or the turbodiesel and 8-speed automatic transmission; the Supercharged and Autobiography, both with the supercharged V8 and in either short- or long-wheelbase versions; and the SVAutobiography, with supercharged V8 and in long-wheelbase only. Standard equipment fulfills all expectations: hard-drive navigation; power assists on everything; 19-inch wheels; Rear View Camera; Front Visual Display; 380-watt, 13-speaker Meridian audio system; 8-inch infotainment touch screen; xenon automatic headlights with power washers; Hands-free Gesture Controlled powered tailgate and did we mention the terrific leather?
The HSE trim (our suggested choice) adds a Panoramic Roof, Oxford perforated leather, 14-way-power-adjustable front seats, heated rear seats, 20-inch wheels, a more powerful supercharged V6 and other features. The Supercharged level adds the 5.0-liter V8, Dynamic Response, Terrain Response 2, All-Terrain Progress Control, fog lights, 21-inch wheels and trim items. The high-end Autobiography adds a Meridian sound system with 1,700 watts (!), 29 speakers and 3D Surround Sound; 18-way driver and passenger power-adjustable front seats including massage and memory; 4-zone climate control; rear-seat entertainment; Surround camera system and numerous driving and convenience aids. There are several stand-alone options.
The base 2016 Range Rover engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 of 340 horsepower; in the HSE trim it is upgraded to 380 horsepower. Also available is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel of 254 horsepower and 443 ft-lb of torque. Moving up is a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 with 510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque; this thing cranks out truly prodigious power and will get the Range Rover moving in a hurry, and will use lots of premium gas doing it. All engines are matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The appeal of the diesel is its superior fuel economy, being rated at 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway. And, with any engine, the towing capacity is an impressive 7,716 pounds, the English equivalent of 3,500 kg.
3.0-liter supercharged V6
340 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm (380 horsepower, HSE)
332 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
3.0-liter turbodiesel V6
443 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg
5.0-liter supercharged V8
510 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
461 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg
The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $86,000, the HSE is around $93,000 and the Td6 turbodiesel roughly $1,500 extra. The V8 Supercharged version is over $104,000, the long-wheelbase models start over $109,000 and the Autobiography trim begins around $141,000. The SVAutobiography will have you figuring payments to cover over $200,000. This is a very subjective purchase; still, we would recommend the HSE version. The turbodiesel is intriguing but we’d probably opt for the supercharged V6 and its 380 horsepower. The Range Rover costs more than the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Infiniti QX80, BMW X5, Cadillac Escalade and Audi Q7, but it’s a unique piece. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Range Rover's resale value is expected to trail that of its competitors.