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  • First Test: 2015 Land Rover Range Rover HSE V6

First Test: 2015 Land Rover Range Rover HSE V6

The Sensible Rover

G.R. Whale
Aug 12, 2015
Photographers: G.R. Whale
How do we get away with saying "sensible" in regard to an expensive sport-ute? Because it has everything you could reasonably need, the V-6 HSE's ride is cushier than the V-8 versions, and the five-digit price is half of what you can spend on a Range Rover.
Photo 2/15   |   2015 Land Rover Range Rover Hse Driver Side Front View
Every gasoline Range Rover is supercharged; however, only V-8 models get the badge. Standard power is a 3.0L V-6 with an 8 mm smaller bore and 4 mm shorter stroke than the 5.0L V-8 but with higher compression at 10.5:1. Architecture's the same with direct injection, twin-cam four-valve heads, and an Eaton blower feeding it through twin intercoolers.
Output is 340 hp at 6,500 rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque from 3500-5000 rpm, enough to reach 60 mph in 7.1 seconds—two ticks behind a V-8—and top speed is limited to 130 mph rather than 140. With a view like this and proper gearing, we find 340 hp more than adequate, while fuel economy is 3-4 mpg better than a V-8. We actually got almost 25 mpg on a highway leg, which would give a 625-mile range. It might not be silky as the V-8, but it does feel refined right up to its power peak, which revs to a higher rpm.
Photo 3/15   |   Cabin color scheme is sensibly dark at wear and touch points, light elsewhere. Big glass area all around and overhead keep it bright and spacious, though the gloss wood and metal trim can bounce that light around.
The V-6 runs shorter-ratio 3.73:1 axles than the V-8, so the crawl ratio climbs above 50:1. Other than that, the drivelines are similar. The same control options are available, though rockcrawl mode was missing (we're unsure if this is available as an option), and our only complaint about the V-6's auto start/stop was the seat ventilation going off with the engine.
The V-6 uses smaller brakes but weighs a couple hundred pounds less, and the smaller wheel/tire combos have less rotating mass and transfer less road impacts. Tow rating remains 7,716 pounds with trailer brakes and requires a couple of resets to American thinking: First, the 7,716 is for a fully loaded Range Rover, not just an SAE-weight driver, and second, the 551-pound tongue limit requires proper balancing. And the tow pack also includes a spare tire and wheel that matches all the others.
Long-travel air suspension and adaptive damping ensure a cosseting ride on virtually every surface. Like the original Rover and a displacement yacht, there is pitch and roll, so you roll it into a bend where it takes a set and just hangs on, and no competitor rides better. The V-6 doesn't have the V-8's Dynamic Response system, yet many will prefer the less artificial and lighter, gentler feel of the HSE. A Range Rover isn't designed for the 0.1 percent of the time you might need ultimate transient response or neck-spraining grip—it's made for calm, effortless, and confident travel the other 99.9 percent.
Photo 7/15   |   Suspension travel exceeds 10 inches in front and a 12-inches in back, going further before traction controls and locking diffs have to help. Even in normal ride height it never dragged anything.
And it continues off the pavement; tires just following the terrain. Of course they'll plug in mud like other luxury SUVs, but at least you don't need 21s just to clear the brake rotors. Approach, departure, and breakover in off-road mode (not the higher extended) are 34.7/29.6/28.3 degrees, and ground clearance is 11.6 inches, which you can compare them to the hardcore Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (42.2/32.5/21.2 and 10) of essentially the same wheelbase shows Rover haven't forgotten the basics.
Photo 8/15   |   2015 Land Rover Range Rover Hse Steering Wheel
You have to give up a few options for V-6 trim. For example, you'll have to make do with an 825-watt Meridian sound system as the upgrade, rather than the 1700-watt system offered on other Range Rovers. And you can't get a V-6 long-wheelbase Rangie, but we find the standard-wheelbase much better proportioned. Given we were handily able to pass or climb anything needed, the V-6's mileage benefit was welcome, and one final consideration would likely cinch our choice: a similarly-equipped V-8 starts $12,000 higher than an HSE.
Photo 9/15   |   Symmetrical intakes feed blown a V-6 that looks as big as a V-8 (see crankshaft). Dual serpentine belts ensure reliable accessory drive, and Rover uses a belt-driven fan.
Photo 10/15   |   2015 Land Rover Range Rover Hse Crank Shaft
Specifications
Make/Model: 2015 Land Rover Range Rover HSE
MSRP as tested: $96,486
Engine: 3.0-L DOHC supercharged DI V6
Horsepower: 340 @ 6500
Torque: 332 lb-ft @ 3500-5000
Transmission: ZF 8-speed automatic
Axle ratio: 3.73:1
Crawl ratio: 51.3:1
Suspension: Independent, air springs, adaptive damping, antiroll bars
Brakes (f/r): 13.8-inch vented disc / 13.8-inch vented disc
Steering: electric-assist rack & pinion
Wheelbase: 115.0 in
Track (f/r): 66.5/66.3
Length/width/height: 196.8/78.1/70.3* in
Ground clearance: 11.6** in
Fuel capacity: 27.7 gals
Weight: 4,930 pounds (est)
EPA fuel economy: 17/23/19
Max tow rating: 7,716 pounds
*in Access mode
**in Off-road mode
Photo 11/15   |   2015 Land Rover Range Rover Hse Spare Tire
Photo 15/15   |   2015 Land Rover Range Rover Hse Front Fascia

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