No appliance has been more synonymous with prosperity than the Viking range. Though you might not hear it trumpeted in hip-hop lyrics or boasted about on MTV cribs, it has long been one of the defining marks of the patrician kitchen.
With the new, streamlined D3 series, Viking is hoping to expand the appeal of their appliances. At $3,600, the dual-fuel D3 range isn't cheap, but it's still half the price of a Viking Professional (read: semi-pro; you will not find a 30" range in a restaurant) and will still make the neighbors jealous.
Design & Usability
Viking's D3 is a little more accessible.
Viking hasn't thrown out much of their old pro range designs for the D3, as it still retains much of that aggressive, boxy look the brand popularized. But this range doesn't quite look like it came straight out of a Michelin-starred kitchen. A few subtle elements make this range take the edge off Viking's traditional, industrial look.
Unlike the other higher-end ranges that adhere to the older utilitarian designs, the D3 has implemented a decorative glass surround (gasp), something that you don't see in a typical pro range with its submarine-style windows. The grates hold another touch of this new aesthetic, with softened curves. And, it should be noted, you can get the D3 in an array of custom trim colors.
Like any pro range devoid of LCDs, timers, and other gadgets, the Viking D3 is a fairly simple machine to use since it hardly has any controls. The front knobs might make this a bit more of a temptation for toddlers, but that's a danger common to every gas range. The self-cleaning oven is divided by three easily removable rolling racks.
This Viking D3 is a dual fuel model with a gas rangetop and electric oven, a configuration many people prefer since it supposably takes the best of both worlds. The gas rangetop features two power burners, two lower-power burners in the back, and a center fish burner for added coverage under the continuous grates. Below, the electric oven holds three rolling racks and has a heated convection fan to the back, and a ten-pass electric broiling element on the top. This is a lot to cram into a 4.1 cubic foot cavity, so we're not sure if it can handle a 28-pound turkey.
Remember that price equals performance, brand, and aesthetics. Not just performance.
There is a fallacy poisoning the world of appliances: that price equals performance. Clearly a line divides the mediocre products—afflicted by cost-cutting measures—from the well made and reasonably priced. And yes, many high-end appliances outperform their entry-level competitors at the margins. But unless you've got a Michelin star, the line separating the well-made from luxury isn't usually one of performance, just as no one argues that a Lamborghini will do a better job than a Honda Accord on a daily commute.
But for some owners, it's all about design. Sure Vikings are favored by serious chefs across America, but you can also find untouched and unused in many fancy houses, opposite a dinner table adorned with takeout. But that doesn't mean it's silly or irresponsible to own one. A range takes up a significant space and is visible in three dimensions, you'd be remiss if you didn't consider aesthetics and design. Just make sure your honest with yourself about why you're buying it so you make the best choice you can.