When I first learned that the LR3 would be gaining a direct-injection engine and changing its name to LR4, I thought the minor changes didn’t warrant a new name. I still don’t think the new name makes any sense (Does this mean that the LR2 will turn into an LR3 if it’s ever refreshed? How confusing will used-vehicle shopping be then?), but I no longer feel the changes are so minor.
Land Rover has given us a heavily upgraded interior, enough power to make the LR4 fast, and even a slightly better ride than the LR3 delivered. I was always a fan of the LR3 despite its tippy ride, prodigious curb weight, and lackadaisical acceleration. With the LR4, you no longer need to apologize for an outdated navigation interface or interior materials that would look out of place in a $35,000 vehicle. Land Rover really addressed the shortcomings of the LR3 and delivered a very solid SUV with the LR4. I even prefer this Land Rover over the more expensive and stylish Range Rover Sport and even the exclusive Range Rover.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
The LR3 is much closer to Range Rover status with this new interior. WOW! Very luxurious and, as Phil notes, no longer out of date and lackadaisically put together. Being someone who goes back a lonnnng way with Land Rover, I am especially impressed with its superb over-the-road comfort. The Land Rovers of my youth could ford a stream, climb a mountain, and navigate the jungles of Borneo, but they were top heavy, shook from side to side, and jounced you sick going down the highway. The new LR4 can do it all, that is, go cross-country, off-road or on, in superb style and complete comfort.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
Like Phil, I was a bit perplexed when Land Rover put a new name on its updated LR3. But after spending a busy winter weekend in the LR4, it became quite clear to me, too, that Land Rover made some very worthwhile nips and tucks in its work on the LR3+1. The driver-interface areas and materials have been improved by a few notches (are these the most legible gauges ever put into an automobile?); the LED running lights and taillamps look very cool; and the extra horsepower and engine displacement are more than welcome.
But many of the reasons that I found the LR4 so useful were also strong points of the LR3 (and our Four Seasons 2005 LR3 HSE). I hauled all kinds of items in the LR4’s spacious cargo area, with the third row folded flat. The zigzaggy luggage cover worked great for the odd tall item, while the staggered tailgate/liftgate combination was very helpful for loading things like spillable food items and making sure that they fit well and were packed properly. Of course, there was still plenty of room for passengers in the middle row. And thanks to the three large sunroofs, those passengers felt almost as if they were seated in the world’s tallest convertible.
December in Michigan isn’t a good time for convertibles, though, but this LR4 was one of the best winter vehicles I’ve ever driven. The windshield has tiny defroster lines (almost invisible versions of what you find in most cars’ rear windows) that mean you don’t have to scrape the glass. The steering wheel and front seats have excellent heaters. And the Terrain Response control can be used to quickly dial in a snow/gravel/grass mode that worked very well in the snow and ice.
I do have one major complaint, however: the LR4 could really use grab handles on the A-pillars. Like those in just about every other super-tall truck, the handles on the LR4’s outboard headliner can be quite hard to reach for people shorter than five-foot-six or so.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
Base price (with destination): $48,100
Price as tested: $61,715
5.0L V-8 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
Two-speed electronic transfer gearbox with variable locking center differential
Four-corner electronic air suspension with auto leveling and multiple modes.
240-Watt 9-speaker Harman/kardon audio
Dual climate control
Power tilt and slide front sunroof
Options on this vehicle:
Rear seat entertainment — $2500
-Six-disc DVD system with dual headrest display
7-Seat luxury plus package — $11,115
-Heavy duty package
-Climate comfort package
-Premium leather seats
-Park distance control
-Hard disc navigation
-Auto adaptive Bi-Xenon headlamps with high beam assist
-Passive keyless entry
-480-Watt Harman/kardon Logic7
-Digital radio, Sirius Satellite
-Single CD with 14-speakers
Key options not on vehicle:
20-inch 10 split-spoke wheels — $2500
12 / 17 / 14 mpg
Size: 5.0L aluminum-alloy V-8
Horsepower: 375 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 375 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Weight: 5617 lb
19 x 8-inch aluminum wheels
255/55HR19 all-season tires