By Nitish Rele

About six years ago, we test drove the Range Rover Sport with a 5.0-liter (510 horsepower) supercharged V-8. That was impressive. Equally notable was the 2016 HSE version the Range Rover folks dispatched to us recently. But this one with an all-new 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 engine belted out an ample 254 hp @ 4,000 rpm and 443 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 1,750 rpm. The midsize luxury SUV is mated to a responsive 8-speed auto gearbox.

A full-time, permanent all-wheel drive delivers necessary torque to the rear wheels. Using the exclusive Terrain Response system, you can pick one of the following as per road/weather conditions: general (for daily driving), grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, sand, rock crawl and dynamic. Credit an independent front and rear electronic air suspension for a remarkably supple ride on the 20-inch wheel SUV. Leading passengers securely to their destination is a speed proportional electric-power assist steering system. Tow capacity is a remarkable 7,716 lbs.

The clamshell hood of the Range Rover meets up with a massive but striking horizontal mesh grille surrounded by auto xenon headlights with LED signatures and power side vents. The cabin is decked in typical Land Rover fashion with clear and rounded instrument gauges, straightforward climate, navigation and entertainment controls, and supportive seats. Power adjustable, Oxford-perforated leather front seats, along with a tilt and telescopic steering column, can accommodate the largest of drivers. Splashes of dark brushed aluminum trim and wood on the center console, dash and instrument cluster enhance its classiness. Space abounds inside with a gigantic glove box, huge center console and a decently-sized trunk area. Other standard amenities include dual zone auto climate control, panoramic roof, 250-watt sound system, open/close power tailgate and an 8-inch LCD touchscreen.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution, hill descent control, Dynamic and Electronic Stability and Traction control, anti-rollover system, single-speed electronic transfer case with torsion differential, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.

To test drive, visit Land Rover Tampa at 11301 N Florida Ave. or call 930-2505.

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