Critic’s Notebook: 2016 Range Rover Diesel

British 4x4 legend meets snowblind Gotham.

Range Rover Diesel
Brett Berk/TheDrive.com

Want to escape from the close suburb to which your close friend recently escaped? If it’s during the Weather Channel-branded SUPERSTORM JONAS™, you’re shit out of luck—even if you’re only just north of the Bronx in Sound-bound Larchmont. Though Westchester received half the twenty-six inches that fell on New York, a Mayoral travel ban precluded our venturing back into the big frozen Apple. So, parked, our grey green oil-burner spent 36 hours pressing itself into a rounded-brick ice mold, as snows blew—and were plowed—up around it.

Fortunately, when it was time to liberate it, we had the assistance of a group of suburban Liberatarians, who were working together on our friends’ street to shovel out one another’s vehicles. We helped uncover a full-size Dodge van and a Jeep Wrangler, and they helped squeegee snow off the roof of our Rover. The rest was easy: Levitate the levitating transmission selector knob, click it to snow, and plow away.

When we returned to the City, the streets were practically medieval, frosty ramparts piled six-feet-tall with the remnants of a past civilization. Trash cans. Low-rise buildings. Cars. We considered flicking the Range into low-range and attempting to reverse everyone else’s efforts and bury our vehicle in a drift. But we worried we might happen upon, say, a fire hydrant, and damage the lovely paint.

The off-road, all-weather, all-wheel-drive prowess is all part of the mythos. Most startling is that the Diesel Range really up to its name: We saw a thrifty 29 mpg on the highway (roughly 25 mpg combined), meaning this 4x4 is able to travel over 650 miles on a single tank of black gold. In one rush-hour suburban blizzard round trip, plus three round-trips to various airports—all accomplished in Sport mode, of course—we barely burned through 1/3 of our fuel. SUPERSTORM JONAS™ be damned, calling a six-figure, six-thousand-pound vehicle “thrifty” might be the best snow job yet.

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2016 Range Rover Diesel
Price as Tested: $105,000
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway/25 mpg combined
Engine: 3-liter V-6 turbodiesel; 254 hp, 440 lb-ft
Blizzard Dominance: Total