Motor Mouth

Range Rover's new TDV8 Vogue SE diesel is quiet, efficient - and blinged out with luxury gadgets. Sathnam Sanghera reports.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Range Rover drivers don't have the best eco reputation. For most, 'climate change' is something you achieve by twisting a knob on the dashboard, and 'the environment' the annoying thing that flashes past between the house in Battersea and Billy's prep school in Kensington.

But the company that manufactures the ultimate luxury 4x4 is determined to change things. Ads now come with the exhortation to 'Go Responsibly'. New cars come with stickers boasting that they are carbon-offset. And the newest version of the car has, of all things, a diesel engine.

And the first item of good news about this new diesel version of Chelsea's favourite tractor is that it does not sound like... a tractor. Standing next to the bonnet with your eyes shut and with the car idling, you'd never confuse the engine note with that of a London cab, while, inside, on the move, you hear either nothing or a sporty grunt.

It doesn't move like a tractor either. Even though the new 3.6 litre twin-turbo V8 diesel has the same fuel consumption as the model's preceding diesel engine - the BMW-sourced 3 litre TD6 - it's 54% more powerful, delivers 64% more torque and is 75% quieter. I drove it for a week - 1,500 miles in total between London and Scotland - and refilled just three times. Thirsty, but not much more so than many saloon cars.

Apparently, the car achieves this with the aid of 'variable-nozzle turbochargers' and 'electronically controlled, switchable-rate hydraulic engine mounts' - which brings me to the third bit of good news about this car. It is blinged out with gadgets: heated and cooled front seats; a stunning sound system; rear DVD screens. It is more comfortable than my house.

But the 'terrain response system', which at the twist of a dial configures the car for four off-road modes - snow or wet grass; mud and ruts; sand or rock crawl - is an even more impressive toy. It makes the car virtually unstoppable off-road.

Unfortunately, though, there's no 'London' option. For the bad news about this masterpiece of a car is that, at 2710kg, 16 feet long, 6.1 feet tall and 6.5 feet wide, it is just too tubby for cities. The TDV8 Vogue SE will have to stay in my fantasy garage until I can afford the two parking spaces it would need in the real world.

I'll take one...
Handsome.
Supremely kitted out.
Relatively green.
Fantastic off-road and on the open road.
Thanks but no thanks...
Impossible in the city.
Impossible in car parks.
Still not that green.
Pricey.

SPECIFICATION
Range Rover TDV8 Vogue SE £70,600
Engine 3.6 litre, twin-turbo V8 diesel
Power 272 bhp
Torque 472 lb ft
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Fuel 25.1 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 299 g/km
0-60 mph 8.5 sec
Top speed 124 mph

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