We have tested dozens of pickup trucks and SUVs on the extreme Ike Gauntlet towing test. This is a very challenging test. Going down an up 8 miles of the steepest allowed grade (7% grade) on the US Interstate highway system to the highest elevation point for an Interstate in the country (reaching 11,158 feet above sea level). Both the braking ability and power of each truck are tested at the limits.
The 2016 Range Rover Sport Td6 turbo-diesel is towing the same 5,600 lbs trailer that we used for the 2016 Gold Hitch award testing for SUVs and midsize pickup trucks. It has the new 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel that is good for 254 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Can this engine and the 8-speed automatic transmission in this Range Rover Sport be the most efficient towing machine on the Ike Gauntlet mountain?
The short answer is – yes!
This luxurious off-roader is not the ultimate towing vehicle as it lacks specialized down-hill grade shifting logic, an exhaust brake, and a trailer brake controller. We counted 14 brake applications on the way down the mountain, which is not a great result. However, the descent was safe and brakes were not overheated.
On the way up, the 3.0L V6 performed is a stellar fashion. The trip computer registered 7.1 MPG on the way up with the trailer and wide-open-throttle. This is indeed the best fuel economy that we recorded on any truck or SUV, big or small. It was also relatively quick, at 8:16 minutes up the mountain. The benchmark time is 8:00 minutes, and a 16 second margin is a very good result indeed.
Get all the details in the video below.