New “mild hybrids” are enabling SUVs and the heaviest of sedans to improve their gas mileage slightly, but in the world of heavy-vehicle fuel economy, diesel still reigns supreme.
And while the 2011 Range Rover may not change the status quo, it does raise the standard to a whole new level. The Ford 4.4-liter turbodiesel V-8 engine powering the top Land Rover puts out 309 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, yielding a horsepower increase of 15.1 percent and torque increase of 9.1 percent.
Those numbers are nearly identical to the old HUMMER H1 Alpha, but considering that the Range Rover weighs over 1,000 pounds less that the H1 beast, it’s no wonder that the British cruiser zooms from 0-60 mph in a relatively quick 7.5 seconds, according to Land Rover estimates.
The real news surrounding the Range Rover’s new powerplant is its incredible fuel economy. With an 18.5 percent improvement in efficiency over the outgoing 3.6-liter diesel, the luxury ute now gets a combined 25.1 miles per U.S. gallon (according to the EU combined cycle). Plus, with carbon emissions reduced by 14 percent on the turbodiesel, the latest Range Rover is bound to be a serious contender on the “green scene.”
Land Rover has no plans to bring the turbocharged diesel Range Rover to the U.S. However, the 4.4-liter V-8 is produced by Ford and rumors abound that the engine might find its way into a U.S. version of Ford’s F-150 pickup. Stay tuned for updates.