At long last, Range Rover brings luxurious but efficient diesels Stateside

More V6 torque and better fuel efficiency are among Land Rover’s promises for its diesel-powered luxury SUVs. Debuting at the Detroit Auto Show, the 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 and Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 represent the first of the automaker’s recent models to offer diesel power in the U.S.

The pair will reach showrooms by fall of 2015, and Land Rover says other models in its lineup will add diesel engine choices “in coming years.”

For the models at the top of the lineup – the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport – the new diesel engines improve efficiency significantly. Estimated at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, the fuel economy of the Td6 beats that of the base gasoline V6 by 5 mpg in each driving cycle.

Better efficiency translates to greater range, too, with the Td6 stretching a tank of diesel fuel to 658 miles. A combination of efficiency and range make the diesel-powered SUV a wise choice for longer highway trips.

Off-roaders and the rare Range Rover driver that pulls a trailer may prefer the Td6 as well. Compared with the base gasoline V6, the 3.0-liter turbo diesel Td6 churns out considerably more torque, although it cannot match the horsepower of the supercharged gas engine.

The Td6 is rated at 440 pound-feet and 254 horsepower. That’s an advantage of more than 100 lb-ft compared to the gas V6 and comes close to the supercharged V8’s torque rating of 461 lb-ft.

Related: Land Rover’s 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR: fastest, most powerful Land Rover … ever

Despite its horsepower deficit, the diesel versions accelerate nearly as quickly as those with the gas V6. Land Rover lists 0 to 60 mph times for the Range Rover Td6 and Range Rover Sport Td6 at 7.4 seconds and 7.1 seconds, respectively. Both figures are less than a half-second slower than Land Rover’s figures for the gas V6 equivalents.

Pricing for the Td6-powered Range Rover models has not yet been announced, but a premium over equivalent models with the gas V6 is likely. For 2015, the Range Rover Sport HSE is priced at just under $70,000 while the Range Rover HSE comes at $90,000.

Fuel economy may not be a primary concern of drivers with the better part of 100 grand to spend on an SUV. If that efficiency advantage comes with real improvements in drivability, though – whether off-road, on the highway, or while hauling a trailer – the Td6 may prove the sweet spot in the three-engine lineup for the 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

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