Sussex Business Times’ Motoring Correspondent tests the all-new Range Rover Vogue SE to see if the rumours about the latest TDV6 Diesel engine are true…

Here it is then, the biggest car to have graced our pages in quite some time.

This is the latest Vogue model in the Range Rover fleet and hosts the impressive and much lauded 3-litre TDV6 Diesel engine.

This is a car that has really turned a corner. The Range Rover used to be an all-consuming brute – in every sense of the phrase. Not only was the car an assault on the senses, but also on your wallet so far as fuel stops were concerned. Now though, with this new engine, Range Rover have finally managed to achieve a fuel economy that’s almost hard to believe. During my week with the beast, I was managing to get near the 40mpg that’s stated in the paperwork. A rarity in my experience, what with most manufacturers hugely overestimating such figures.

This doesn’t mean that performance suffers, however; the engine has plenty of grunt for something this size – the performance to economy ratio is certainly agreeable and the TDV6 is, of course, much more wallet-friendly than the thirstier variants higher up the Range Rover series.

While the Vogue SE may sit at the lower end of the Range Rover hierarchy, they certainly haven’t skimped on refinement by any means. Even with this ‘entry-level’ model, the interior is brimming with leather and comes armed with a list of mind-boggling tech.

RRRR13MYDynamicMorocco04I have to admit that I hadn’t driven too may Range Rovers in my time. More cars from the burgeoning small-SUV market have been parked on my drive over the last couple of years and I’ve often wondered (as many others do) what the appeal of having such a huge, lumbering tank of a car is and why do you see so many on the motorway? Surely it’s the most impractical choice for the mile-crunching brigade? Who, outside of farmers, loggers and (the few) larger families who can honestly justify the need for space and/or performance that a Range Rover offers, genuinely claim to require a car this big?

Well, there is the ego to consider is there not? There’s no avoiding the obvious points about owning a Range Rover. Aside from the drug dealer style Rovers, there are a lot of classy examples rolling around and they all too often seem to be criminally occupied by lone drivers. Sure, some will be heading home after the school run, but there are an awful lot that serve as an everyday car for individuals.

Ego or not, though, my time with the Vogue SE has swayed me from being a cynic to a fully-fledged Range Rover lover. It’s a phenomenon and I take back every word. These people are not trying to be flash or to impress others (with the exception of the drug dealer contingent), they are flash.

These are people who know quality and expect great performance, comfort and let’s face it, those tinted windows don’t just keep you out of sight from the police; they also keep you comfortably obscured from the peasants in their beaten up peasant-mobiles. Perfect.

Seriously though, getting back to the point of motorway driving in this car – I simply didn’t see how the Range Rover could offer a comfortable or dynamic experience on a straighter, faster road. I could envisage the benefits of short, country road style trips, with rough terrain and the odd bit of flooding and various sized potholes, but not the wide, open road. How wrong I was.

In fact, I had it entirely the wrong way round. This car is built for the motorway. It is quite simply the most stable, sturdy and solid car I’ve ever taken onto the motorway. Even this, slightly tame-by-comparison-to-some, model has more than its fair share of poke and goes well enough to out-perform most other cars that may have the audacity to get in your way. There’s no doubting that the new Range rover is as happy on a motorway as it is when up to its neck in dirt.

Now, with an OTR price of £82K it’s not really what you would call cheap, but then the Range Rovers have never really been aimed as a car for the masses. They have always been at the top of the luxury SUV food chain. Their up-market image, incredible interior, potent engines and unrivalled off-road ability make it the go-to option for those who want one car that can do it all. What they’ve managed to achieve with the Vogue SE though, and with that excellent TDV6 engine, is to find the car’s sweet spot.

The Range Rover is now available with the standard wheelbase (SWB) along with the long wheelbase (LWB), which is available on the higher-spec cars. As it is, I wasn’t too happy about handing back the keys, but in my job, it doesn’t do to let them stack up in the driveway. Next time eh? Next time.

ENGINE – 3.0L TVD6 Diesel

ENGINE TYPE – DOHC, turbodiesel, longitudinal V6

MAX POWER – 258hp

TRANSMISSION – Automatic 8-speed

FOUR WHEEL DRIVE (4WD)

FUEL CONSUMPTION – EU combined mpg (L/100km) 40.9 (6.9)

0-60MPH – 7.4 sec

TOP SPEED – 130mph

PRICE (OTR) – £81,850.00

PRICE AS TESTED (inc. optional extras) – £91,365.00

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