Driving to meet friends at the delightful 541 Eatery & Exchange on Barton Street, is another chance to see how the 2016 Range Rover Diesel performs. Yes, this is a big, powerful Range Rover, but it skips down Barton, nimbly skating around parked cars and potholes.
I tested the Ranger Rover HSE Td6 for a week in all sorts of driving, and discovered the thrift and thrust of its diesel engine. Goodbye gasoline, the 3.0 litre diesel engine with a fuel consumption rating of 9.4 litres per 100 km compares to what a much smaller Ford Escape would consume on average. Replacing the Ranger Rovers “regular” 5.0-litre gas powered engine with the turbocharged diesel improves fuel economy by about 65 percent.
This beast of a four-wheel drive, able to climb mountain and cross creeks starts at a brisk $108,490. My all-terrain tester topped out at a whopping $131,515. Many of the a la carte items that drive up the price up I could live without. The Driver Technology Package is overbearing, it senses possible collisions, sets off alarms and buzzers and made me feel like I was in ICU at the Hamilton General hospital. For an extra $4,200 the Ranger Rover HSE comes with 22-inch wheels with rims that are decorated in a sooty coloured paint job. In fact so much of the Range Rover is black, the windows tinted dark, the name plate washed with charcoal, that it looks like it’s been sitting at a company that makes carbon black.
On Barton Street it looks menacing and in certain areas this is probably a good thing. After snacking and fun at 541, I carry on in a prowling for plants mission. This time of year everything is on sale. So I pull in to Canadian Tire, Home Depot, and Fortino’s, scooping up half price plants. With the back seats folded, you could fill the cargo space of the Range Rover with enough plants to landscape an Ancaster mansion. As I traverse the corduroy roads of the city proper I make note of the RR most endearing quality, the ability to glide over monstrous pavement thanks to its legendry air suspension. But if you happen to take a wrong turn into a rock quarry, than the RR is ready for that too. Terrain settings located on the centre console will tame boulders, hills, sand, snow and water.
For smooth road cruising I carry on out Highway 8 for a pit stop at a place called The Watering Can in Vineland. Passing vineyards the pop of the bird bangers going off to protect the grapes is nearly inaudible, so insulated is the Ranger Rover’s interior. At cruising speed there is no indication that you are driving a diesel, it’s smooth, powerful and absent any knocking noise characteristic of older diesel engines. The turbocharged 6-cylinder produces 254 horsepower and 440 lb.-ft of torque. It will tow your toys and blast off from a stop with effortless grace. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts undetected in the background, as the RR levitates dreamily over the asphalt.
At The Watering Can I pluck a few ornamental grasses off the sale table, spin around in the parking lot in the RR’s tight turning radius and head off to the Redstone Winery in Beamsville to pose it for pictures where it blends into the modern design of the restaurant and tasting room.
After a weeks testing I put about $40 worth of diesel fuel in the RR, and managed to average 9.8 L/100 km in city and highway driving.
The Range Rover Td6 will make you feel pampered and smug even on a trip to the dump, with its ability to conquer terrain, muffle the outside world and transport occupants in cloud like luxury.
Written by: Kathy Renwald