What happens when a reputed marquee who has given the world its cheapest car conquer or rather take over another reputed marquee who sells cars in lower numbers but are said to have one of the best off-roading capability as also superior interior quality. The marques in question are Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover. Recently, we happened to meet an acquaintance of ours and this person happened to own a Range Rover Sport TDV6. Yes, the newer of the lot things. There were many changes to this vehicle and it was but natural that we get this car for a roadtest or as we call it in Indiandrives parlance, test drive. While this car may not have won the hearts of the Indian customers who prefer the much chic Audi or the newly launched Volvo SUV, those who appreciate the off-roading abilities in their SUVs would definitely go in for the 2011 Range Rover Sport TDV6 in India. A review or even test drive doesn’t do justice to this car and unfortunately one has to see it in flesh to believe its road presence.
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New bumpers, new grille and also a new head lamp cluster define the Sport. It also has LED daytime running lamps which are arranged in a circular fashion around the main head lamp cluster. So no more of the wild “your lights are on” kind of actions by fellow motorists or road users. The side profile doesn’t get anything significant and this shows in the way the same old split alloy wheel design is used. At the rear, clear lens make their presence felt while the tail pipe is kept away from view. Overall, the vehicle may not inspire a certain stance in the pics, but in real, it is a imposing vehicle. Much to the same tunes of the Mercedes GL and Toyota Land Cruiser. All these changes have been done to extend the overall life cycle of this product and at the same time, enhance its appeal in the wake of newer competition.
An entirely new instrument cluster makes its presence felt inside the cabin and as of now, this was the most significant change that we noticed over the older model. The entire infotainment system has undergone a change and there are now many more features added to the touch screen system. However, its small screen size is a disappointment for many including us and moreover it is tilted in a truck cabin style. Thankfully enough, there aren’t too many buttons around the cabin and this helped us in understanding the vehicle better in a short span of time than what the owner would have explained. While the earlier one missed out on the navigation system, the new one does rectify this. Moreover, use of cheerful materials (read beige) has enhanced the cabin look. Another novelty as also safety feature is the use of 5 cameras which have their own outputs in 5 different split screens and when the vehicle is not busy reversing, these outputs can be used to connect with any device that can happily store music. Though the new seats in the front really enhance the comfort quotient, the rear ones fall a bit short of the under thigh support factor. Boot space is good for a 5 seater vehicle and the added benefit of split seats ensure that it is all the more enhanced.
As discussed earlier, people who appreciate a Land Rover for its off-roading capabilities would definitely buy it and here is where the Landy shines over its competitors. The 2011 Range Rover Sport TDV6 in India comes with a new Adaptive Dynamics package. This system uses dampers which are of different sets and ratings and keep on adjusting pressure of the damping based on the road conditions. Moreover, the steering also has been given a long overdue lookover. It has now become a bit more linear in its operation. But we were disappointed with its size as it is a tad too big for our tastes just like the LC’s. Ride quality which was a bit compromised on the earlier variant has now been sorted out with the new SUV feeling like it can actually deliver a good ride quality over all the road conditions. Moreover, the handling is par excellence and it would definitely give the BMW X3 some real competition here. Infact, one of our staffers went so far ahead to tell that this car has got some of the best ride and handling packages in its class now. As far as NVH is concerned, we were hard pressed to tell whether this car was petrol or diesel from inside. Its that silent. However, we couldn’t test the NVH thing at high speeds since the owner of the vehicle was in real hurry to reach some destination and we managed to snuggle in 20 mins of his time.
The best change has happened under the hood and the new TD V6 boasts of a 2993 cc engine which pushes out 242 horses and a huge 610 Nm of torque. It is mated with a slick shifting 6 speed automatic transmission. Never once did we feel that the acceleration was lacking or even that the engine was laboring. It was a sheer delight whizzing through the traffic scenarios here and there. The light steering wheel also contributed a lot to making the car nimble footed. We couldn’t list out any timings, however, the owner says that the car completes the 0-100 kmph dash in under 10 seconds. Also top speed that he once achieved on the Eastern Express highway was 182 kmph. Moreover, there was enough power at reserve to cross 200 kmph but some traffic conditions forced him to slow down. Braking was a bit reassuring thing for such a big car and it showed even in the heavy traffic conditions with the ABS kicking in silently when we had to suddenly brake for a kid crossing the road haphazardly. Safety is also top notch with some 6 airbags inside the cabin. Fuel efficiency which the owner usually sees in the digital indicator is 9.4 kmpl with mixed driving conditions.
The pricing is what usually makes or breaks a product and this can be seen here. The 2011 Range Rover Sport TDV6 price in India is Rs 75.53, ex-show room, Mumbai. Now, at this price, there are many more worthy competitors and some which offer more space and also pace. However for the sheer novelty factor as also for off-roading jaunts, the Landy is the best in the industry. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and ask some Discovery Tiger Shooting Mission crew.