The Test: The rest of the world has been driving diesel Land Rover SUVs since the mid-eighties, and with good reason. First, diesel delivers extraordinary torque at very low RPMs. Off-road, that translates to easier crawling at slow speeds, which afforded us sure footing while using the Brit barge to climb 40-degree rock-strewn track in southern Spain and wade through two feet of standing water.
A feature called All-Terrain Progress Control brakes for you and applies just the right amount of throttle to each wheel, never exceeding the available traction. All the driver has to do is steer. On-road confidence shouldn’t be discounted, either. While it’s generous to label this a sport SUV, the driver gets enough feedback so that zipping around town is downright enjoyable.
The other bonus of diesel is that the three-liter Td6 nets 32 percent better fuel economy than the V-6 gas version. One gripe: the mighty 11 inches of ground clearance pinches cargo space down to only 62 cubic feet—though it’s still enough to fit skis and bikes for two.
The Verdict: Incredible off-road talents, minus the gas-guzzler stigma.
$66,450; 22 mpg city/29 hw