Thursday 27 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Land Rover Range Rover HSE Review

Test Drive: 2016 Land Rover Range Rover HSE Review

This week, I bring you the 2016 Range Rover HSE, the flagship of the Land Rover lineup of SUVs.  Before we look closely at the vehicle, let’s go through the name game, since these tend to confuse people. 

First and foremost, it is a Land Rover.  That is the name of the brand, like Ford, Chevy, Toyota and so on.  From the bottom to the top, the lineup of Land Rovers includes the Discovery, the LR4, the Range Rover Evoque, the Range Rover Sport, and finally this one…the Range Rover HSE. 

So my tester’s official, legal name is the Land Rover Range Rover HSE.

Just to refresh your memory, The Range Rover HSE and Sport went through a big transformation in 2013. It shed almost 800-pounds by going to an all-aluminum body. A 6-cylinder supercharged engine replaced the naturally aspirated V8, and an 8-speed transmission replaced the 6-speed. The body and interior underwent big changes as well.

The end result of the changes produced the most refined and best Range Rover ever, and even 3 years later, the HSE and Sport are always in short supply and have incredible resale value.

My review vehicle has the 3.0-liter V6 supercharged engine that is putting out 380-horses. There is a 510-horse supercharged 5-liter V8 available, but honestly, even for my heavy foot, this 3-liter has plenty of power. 

The 8-speed and the supercharger together provide amazing acceleration, especially considering it weighs over 4700 pounds.

When you ask Range Rover owners why they love their vehicles, they will generally answer because of an exceptional interior, an incredible 4-wheel drive system, and safety.  Also some people just like the overall functionality and incredible view of the road the Rover with its huge windshield affords drivers.

Moving to the interior, like all Range Rovers, the interior of the HSE is exquisite. There is leather, wood, and aluminum everywhere you look or touch. The seats are extremely comfortable and the leather trim is soft to the touch. You will not detect any plastic anywhere.

The dash is simplistic and not overly complicated.  There is a Driver Information Center in the middle of the gauge cluster, and that is where you personalize your Range Rover. 

Most everything else operates from an 8” color touch screen. It has all your audio controls, navigation system-which is also voice activated, more settings for the vehicle, climate controls, and much more. The screen is easily reachable by the driver and passenger. The re-do of the HSE in 2013 yielded more back seat room, and now you can get a third row seat in it, but I assure you, it is only for children.

My Fuji White sampler comes nicely equipped with many standard features including power front heated and cooled seats, power tailgate, pushbutton start, rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, power tilt and heated steering wheel, and much more. 

Like all Range Rovers, it has full-time four-wheel drive, and features Rover’s famous Terrain Response System.  This is the heart of the suspension system.  To use the Terrain Response System, you turn a knob on the center console between the seats to choose among five usage or surface settings: (1) general mode, for everyday driving, (2) grass/gravel/snow, (3) mud and ruts, (4) sand, (5) rock crawl. For each setting, Terrain Response adjusts the aforementioned components to perform best for each driving condition. It is awesome.

Other standard features includes a hands-free tailgate, 20” wheels, panoramic glass roof with power sliding cover, heated rear seat, a 380-watt Meridian sound system with Sirius/XM and HD radio, keyless passive entry, Xenon headlights, and rain-sensitive wipers.  Oh, and it has my favorite feature (NOT!), the stop/start system, but luckily it can be turned off.

Options on this particular HSE include the Vision Assist package, which I highly recommend.  For $2110 you get interior mood lighting, blindspot monitoring, automatic high beam headlights, reverse traffic detection, and a 360-degree rear camera.  It also has the $900 trailer-towing package, which comes with a full-sized spare, an $1850 stereo upgrade that takes you to an incredible sounding 825-watts, and the ebony headliner runs an additional $350.

If you want to get sold on the off-road capability of the Range Rover, you have to experience the four-wheel drive system at a Land Rover dealership to understand what the system will do. You can move the vehicle 11” with the push of a button and it will rise even higher if the vehicle senses you need more clearance, but you cannot make this happen, the vehicle does it itself. It is my opinion that this is the best four-wheel drive system in the auto industry.  This contributes greatly to the overall cost of the Range Rover, but it is well worth it.

Gas mileage isn’t great at 17 in town and 23 on the highway, but it’s an extremely large and heavy SUV.  Total MSRP is $98,700, which is a lot, but the Range Rover HSE also offers a lot.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t make it a secret that I love Rovers, and in fact own one this exact color, only with the 510-horse engine and 22” wheels.  It is approximately the 10th Land Rover I have owned in a row.

If you are in a position to spend a hundred grand or so on an SUV, for me, this is the Crown Jewel of them all.

  • What I liked most:  The interior, the ride, handling, and capability. 
  • What I would change:  Truly nothing.     
  • MSRP: Base price $91,950, as equipped $98,711.
  • Fuel Economy:  17 in town, 23 on the highway, 19 combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 27.7 gallons.
  • Dimensions:  196.8” long/87.4” wide/72.2” high.
  • Weight:  4680 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing: 7716 pounds.
  • Miles When Tested:  2800 miles.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Solihull, United Kingdom
  • 2016 Range Rover in a few words:  Unbelievable capability meets pure luxury.
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance.   
  • Manufacturers website:  Land Rover
Photo Credit: Land Rover