Jaguar Land Rover recently began selling its first diesel here in the United States, and the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover HSE Td6 luxury SUV (I give it three out of four stars) is a good start.

The Rover’s 3.0-liter V-6 showcases diesel’s strengths: fuel economy and power.

The Range Rover Td6 competes with high-end luxury SUVs. It easily surpasses the fuel economy of gasoline-powered models and beats most competing diesels. “Td6” denotes a six-cylinder turbodiesel. The Range Rover’s 3.0-liter V-6 produces 254 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque.

Prices for the Range Rover Td6 start at $86,450, a $1,500 premium over the base Range Rover, which comes with a 3.0-liter supercharged gasoline V-6 that produces 330 horsepower and 332 pound-feet. All Range Rovers come with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Td6’s EPA fuel-economy rating of 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined beats the gasoline engine by an impressive 5 mpg in the city, and 6 mpg on the highway and combined. The diesel will save an average owner $500 a year at current fuel costs, according to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency.

That means the engine pays for itself in just three years, but Range Rover owners won’t be sweating the cost. The well-equipped HSE I tested stickered at $105,680. It came with features like a leather-wrapped dash, adaptive cruise control, 20-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, 825-watt Meridian audio, navigation, 7,716-pound towing capacity, street sign recognition and more. All prices exclude destination charges.

Until VW, Audi and Porsche are allowed to sell diesels in the U.S. again, the only competing five-passenger diesel luxury SUVs are the BMW X5 xDrive 35d, Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel and Mercedes GLE 300d. The Rover has the highest torque and towing capacity. The Range Rover HSE Td6’s price is at the high end of the segment.

Only the X5 diesel beats the Range Rover Td6’s EPA rating, checking in at 1 mpg higher in city, highway and combined driving, a $50 a year savings, according to the EPA.

The Rover’s interior is comfortable and accommodating. The SUV’s boxy styling leads to plenty of head room, a feeling that was augmented in my test car by a sun
The controls for transmission and AWD are easy to use, but the touch screen and flat panel controls for audio, climate and navigation do not respond as quickly as leading systems.

The voice recognition system also trails the best competitors, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The diesel delivers plenty of power for strong acceleration around town and on the highway. Unlike the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE, the Range Rover’s chassis and AWD system were engineered for extreme off-road conditions.

Diesels have been around for 120 years. As long as they power appealing vehicles like the Range Rover Td6, they’ll be around for a few more.

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