Oakville Drives: 2016 Range Rover HSE diesel: A Professional Driver’s Perspective

2016 Range Rover HSE diesel
Oakville Drives: 2016 Range Rover HSE diesel: A Professional Driver’s Perspective

About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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If you’re looking to make a statement, or just in the mood to climb mountains, forge rivers and travel through deserts or climb sand dunes, this is the vehicle for you. I have to admit though, that none of those “off-road” experiences have been or are likely to become commonplace for me. As a result, I confess that I had significant challenges doing a proper “review” of the Range Rover HSE – with only regular highway and in-city street-driving that many regular folks do every day. So with that proviso, I offer you my impressions and comments on this vehicle.

Handling characteristics

This 2016 Range Rover Vogue (Standard Wheelbase) HSE is equipped with a 258 horsepower (over 400 lb-ft of torque) 3.0-liter turbo V6 engine with 8-speed transmission. Maximum speed is rated at a respectable 210 kph. It has more than adequate power to handle every day driving needs. On the highway and country roads, the Range Rover provides a controlled, comfortable and smooth ride. Steering is very positive and turning radius surprisingly tight. Due to its size and height, you can feel some sway at highway cruising speeds especially in more windy conditions. Passengers susceptible to motion sickness may find that a bit unsettling. Acceleration is more than adequate and braking is superb. This vehicle is surprisingly easy and comfortable to drive despite its imposing size. I can only imagine how well it performs on true off-road conditions.

Comfort

2016 Range Rover HSE diesel Interior

2016 Range Rover HSE diesel Interior; Photo: Range Rover

This is a very comfortable vehicle to drive despite its size and weight! Multi position and temperature adjustable driver’s seat matched with excellent steering wheel and console based controls, vehicle cameras and displays all combine to give the driver all the tools and information to enjoy and control the vehicle. The front passenger also enjoys excellent seating and comfort. If your passenger has difficulty getting into higher vehicles, this Range Rover will be a challenge. Not only is it high off the ground (even with the low suspension setting), there is no comfortable “grab bar” to help ease you in. Of course you can always add a couple of different types of side steps to make entry a bit easier. Rear passengers have great headroom but longer legs will feel a bit cramped. Note: – There is always the option (at considerably more cost) of the long wheel base model where rear passengers can literally stretch out. I especially liked the trunk space and split rear lid for ease of parcel loading and unloading. The interior of this model is very well finished with high-end materials. If you like understated elegance, this will appeal to you. However, if you are looking for an interior that really stands out, you might be disappointed. In the end, it’s all about personal preference.

Safety

The 4WD Range Rover HSE comes equipped with many safety focused handling features including cornering brake control; electronic brake force distribution; roll stability control; dynamic stability control; emergency brake assist; electronic traction control; hill descent control; and, tire pressure monitoring. Driver and passengers are provided a multitude of airbags as standard equipment.
You can also add many options to provide yet more safety and comfort features. For example, the “driver’s tech package” will provide you with traffic sign recognition, lane assist, closing vehicle sensors and the heads up display. The “convenience package” gives you an excellent surround camera system with trailer hitch-guidance; both parallel and perpendicular park assist; and soft door close. Adaptive cruise control includes queue assist and intelligent emergency braking. Finally, you can opt of a “premium package” that gives you adaptive headlights with power-wash, fog lights, all terrain control and of course, mood lighting.
Despite all of the excellent driving, style, safety and comfort features, LandRover has some work to do on their voice command as well as navigation systems. I found the voice command structured menu to be cumbersome and slow, compared to the industry norm. The navigation system is barely adequate as a result of a poor interface and insufficient map detail. I quickly opted to use my iPhone to find my way around.

Things to consider

The Range Rover HSE diesel is a refined vehicle designed to handle just about every type of road surface and terrain – all in ultimate style and comfort. The introduction of the diesel reduces the fuel consumptioon to a very respectable 9-10 L/100km., a significant improvement from the gasoline models. I can appreciate the benefits of this Range Rover if I had the opportunity or need to drive across difficult terrain such as exploring the logging roads of the Rocky Mountains. The real question is, would you take a roughly $125,000 – $150,000 (tax included) vehicle into the swamp, up rocky mountain paths, narrow forest paths, etc., and risk damaging such a fine vehicle? Having said that, I really liked the long wheel base models (despite the higher price tag). The Supercharged or Autobiography models are the ultimate in elegance and comfort.

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