Land Rover Range Rover Diesel 2007 Review
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These days, owning a big four-wheel drive with a V8 badge is about as socially acceptable as spitting. Indeed, owners may occasionally find themselves the recipient of a wet ball of outrage.
Follow that badge with the word diesel, however, and the bile is usually kept behind pursed lips.
But the new Land Rover-developed TDV8 doesn't wear a badge of immunity. It doesn't even sound like a diesel. The only indication is the Range Rover badge itself, which ironically swaps the supercharged V8's black badge for the colour green.
And green it is — at least for a twin-turbo V8.
Although the exterior of the Sport and Vogue TDV8s remains unchanged, what lies beneath is brand new and spanking.
The V8 diesel engine essentially takes the place of the antiquated TD6 which, while frugal, was never the best beast to pull a fully kitted Vogue with family in tow.
This block, though comparatively small at 3.6 litres, was designed in-house specifically for the Range Rover, and does its job darn well.
It claims to sip the same 11.6 litres per 100km as the outgoing Vogue six (11.1/100km in the Sport), but puts out 54 per cent more power and 64 per cent more torque. And so it should.
The common-rail V8 makes use of variable turbine geometry, which allows its twin turbochargers to efficiently and effectively pull the most from the low and high range.
Though still evident when flattening the throttle from a standstill, lag is minimised and an enormous 640Nm of torque is accessible — and fierce — from 2000rpm, particularly in the “lighter” 2675kg Sport version. (The Vogue weighs an epic 2710kg.) It's not a rush of blood to the head like the supercharged version — more a deep, throbbing heartbeat that quickens with the encouragement of the right foot. On part throttle, the heavy cabin soundproofing allows only the slightest engine hum and wind noise from the massive mirrors.
At full noise, the sensation is more V8 than diesel, begging for full exploration of the torque mountain.
The biggest blunting of this force is the sheer weight and size of the Range Rover. A diet would only make it faster, but that's a terrifying thought.
The torquey engine is well paired with a six-speed ZF automatic box, which commands the gears like a smooth politician. Automatic shifts are near-imperceptible, and the first three gears don't pump out the short, sharp changes associated with a diesel (or, indeed, a 4WD).
Engage manual mode, and the ZF's gearing reins in that eager engine with gusto. Corners can also be taken sharper and deeper, thanks to bigger brakes and reworked suspension on the Vogue.
Brembo four-pot front stoppers from the Sport Supercharged are now standard, and when they bite, it's hard.
Pitch under braking is minimal, and the boaty suspension of the Vogue has been reworked in the Sport's vein for more composure — though it's still very soft compared with the latter.
Lower-profile tyres, 20-inch rims and a stiffer set-up make the Sport a little more fussy, particularly over potholes and corrugations.
A throttle-on vibration through the steering wheel over 100km/h serves as a small reminder that a diesel's knocking on the firewall, but the steering is amazingly sharp and makes for a far more involving drive than the Rangie's size suggests.
Despite giving the impression of a sunk-down city SUV, both the Sport and the Vogue are capable of mounting much more than the kerb outside a private school.
The Terrain Response system from Discovery3 is standard on the TDV8s, accessed by a fat, funky dial mounted below the shifter. Four excellent off-road modes are on tap — snow or wet grass; mud and ruts; sand; or rock crawl — allowing for idiot-proof, dirty fun.
The standard air suspension may hoik the car up and over the sharp stuff, but can also be lowered quite substantially so you don't have to scale half a mountain to get shopping out of the boot.
For skirt-wearers, an optional set of hydraulic side steps, activated by the doors opening and closing, is a welcome lift (though at $2349, it would be more cost-effective to simply wear pants).
Other civilised additions include an electronic parking brake on the Vogue, revised airbags, an electronic rear diff and a shut-off system that prevents a petrol nozzle accessing to the fuel tank.
Range Rover claims its new diesel is so quiet, new owners may just pull up at the petrol pump by mistake. Perhaps a badge somewhere may have prevented that?
Range Rover TDV8
On sale: Now
Price: Sport $107,900, Vogue Luxury $165,900
Engine: Eight-cylinder twin-turbo diesel, 200kW, 640Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Fuel: 11.6 litres per 100km (combined claim)
Safety: Includes Brembo brakes, front side and curtain airbags, fuel shut-off system
Range and Specs
|VOGUE LUXURY TdV8||3.6L, Diesel, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$24,860 – 30,690||2007 Land Rover Range Rover 2007 VOGUE LUXURY TdV8 Pricing and Specs|
|VOGUE Td6||2.9L, Diesel, 5 SP SEQ AUTO||$19,250 – 24,420||2007 Land Rover Range Rover 2007 VOGUE Td6 Pricing and Specs|
|VOGUE TdV8||3.6L, Diesel, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$20,570 – 26,070||2007 Land Rover Range Rover 2007 VOGUE TdV8 Pricing and Specs|
|Vogue V8||4.4L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$31,570 – 38,060||2007 Land Rover Range Rover 2007 Vogue V8 Pricing and Specs|