The word 'diesel' doesn't have the same connotation that it used to, thanks in large part to Volkswagen's seven-year deception regarding the emissions of its TDI models. Into this maelstrom steps Land Rover, a company seeking to gain a turbodiesel foothold in North America with an all-new series of drivetrains that will eventually make their way into every product it sells in Canada.
Land Rover's opening salvo is the TD6, an engine that's been outfitted to both the 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models – full and mid-size SUVs destined to introduce greater efficiency to the luxury market. While diesel technology as a whole might be operating under a cloud, Land Rover's TD6 aims to clear the air with a robust (and fully compliant) emissions package and a significant torque boost aimed at attracting that surprisingly common SUV shopper: frugal-minded premium buyers.
Let's take a look at the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover TD6 and Range Rover Sport TD6 by the numbers.
The centrepiece of Land Rover's TD6 initiative is the 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 that finds its way under the hoods of both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The unit features a compacted graphite iron block that is intended to reduce both noise and vibration, which it does exceptionally well – the TD6 is unidentifiable as a diesel from inside the cabin of either vehicle – and it also features high-pressure 2000-bar fuel injectors, a two-stage oil pump design, and low-friction designs for its radial shaft seals, cam-to-cam chain, and pistons and rings.
254 Horsepower, 440 lb-ft of Torque
As a reward for all of its engineering efforts, Land Rover has managed to squeeze a respectable amount of grunt out of its 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6. The TD6 motor is pegged to produce 254 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, and when you compare the latter number to the 332 lb-ft on tap from the 3.0-litre supercharged gasoline V6 offered by the base Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, it's easy to understand the appeal of the diesel mill. The TD6's output even comes close to the 461 lb-ft of twist delivered by the optional supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that can be had with either SUV.
9.4 L/100 km
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Big torque isn't the only advantage of a turbodiesel design: the Land Rover TD6 drivetrain also returns impressive fuel economy. In combined driving, both the Range Rover TD6 and Range Rover Sport TD6 consume diesel at the leisurely rate of 9.4 L/100 km – a sparkling efficiency for such large sport-utility vehicles. Around town the number jumps to 10.5 L/100 km, but highway cruising checks in at 8.0 L/100 km, giving the turbodiesel drivetrain a total of 1,052 kilometres of range on a single tank.
How does the fuel efficiency of the Land Rover TD6 compare against the gas models in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport lineup? It's not even close. The TD6 turbodiesel is 32 percent more fuel efficient than the base gasoline V6 found in the Range Rover Sport, which sucks back fuel at the rate of 12.4 L/100 km in combined driving. Don't even think to bring the V8 model into the equation, as its supercharged 5.0-litre motor skyrockets to 14.7 L/100 km in a mix of highway and city driving.
That 440 lb-ft of torque we mentioned earlier? It's accessible as low as 1,750 rpm, which is an important factor to consider if you ever end up using either of these Land Rover TD6 SUVs in their natural off-road habitat. Access to low-end torque is a boon on the trail, as it allows you to achieve forward progress while minimizing wheel spin, and it also means using less fuel in the process. Compare this to the supercharged V6, which requires 3,500 rpm to generate its 332 lb-ft, and the contrast is startling.
The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport TD6 takes a mere 7.1 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standing start – which is only 0.2 seconds slower than the base gasoline model (with a few more tenths tacked on for the slightly-heavier Range Rover). It's important to note that right-foot response isn't as quick in the turbodiesel SUV as it is in the gas model – especially when setting forth from a full stop – but the numbers don't lie. Of course, if outright performance is what you are after, the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 beckons, or perhaps the Range Rover Sport SVR.
All versions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport – regardless of whether they are TD6-equipped or not – come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This unit, sourced by Land Rover from ZF, pairs with the full-time four-wheel drive that is also standard with the brand's SUVs. The turbodiesel models have seen the transmission's tuning skewed in favour of fuel economy over outright acceleration, but drivability remains respectable through all eight forward speeds.
LEV 3 Status
Land Rover has been adamant that its TD6 turbodiesel technology meets all existing emissions standards in both Canada and the United States, and in fact the 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 is classified as a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV 3) south of the border. This has been accomplished by way of a selective catalytic reductive system that injects diesel exhaust fluid into a special catalytic converter in order to reduce NOx emissions, as well as a low pressure exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system that lowers the temperature of gases reintroduced into the engine, further cleaning up each SUV's tailpipe.
3,500 kg (7,716 lb)
The introduction of a turbodiesel engine for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport hasn't had any impact on the towing capacity for either one of these Land Rover vehicles. As with their respective base models, the TD6 editions feature a maximum tow rating of 3,500 kg (7,716 lb). This puts it in good standing with most other SUVs of their size, especially the mid-size Range Rover Sport. The low-end torque might not add anything to the max tow for Land Rover, but it's certainly a welcome benefit when struggling to get a heavy load moving off the line and up steep inclines.
90 Percent of European Sales
In Europe, 90 percent of all Land Rovers are sold with a diesel engine of some description under the hood. Zoom out, and you'll find that number still at a strong 50 percent when examining global sales. It's unlikely that the TD6 models will see the same level of success in North America, given diesel's currently tarnished reputation, but the brand is hopeful to at least crack the 40 percent mark within a couple of years time for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, a reasonable target considering almost 80 percent of Mercedes-Benz large and mid-size SUVs leave their showrooms with diesel power.