New & Used Land Rover LR4: In Depth
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The Land Rover LR4 is a luxury sport-utility vehicle that can seat up to seven passengers. While it's been tamed for on-road use and is fairly practical in its design, it's also quite capable off-road, like the other models in the Land Rover lineup.
The LR4's main rivals include the BMW X5, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volkswagen Touareg, and the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
MORE: Read our 2015 Land Rover LR4 review
Introduced in 2010, the LR4 is a thoroughly upgraded version of the LR3, which itself replaced the previous Land Rover Discovery. It's still called the Discovery in some overseas markets, in fact. Compared to the LR3 before it, the LR4 looks a little better detailed inside and outside. While it's by no means clumsy on the pavement, it truly shines on off-road trails, meaning that it's not as cushy or comfy in around-town suburban uses that will never dirty its wheels. That said, it's strong on the boulevard or the highway
The LR4's exterior look is tall and tough. You might call it conservative, as it's the most 'classic' in appearance of the current Land Rover lineup. The upright, safari-chic look harks straight back to original Land Rovers of the 1950s, but details like like the headlamps and taillamps, along with the blacked-out A-pillar, give it a contemporary edge. Inside, there's rich wood trim, a leather-trimmed dash, and details like soft premium leather with contrast stitching—all things that outdo the previous LR3. Instrument panel controls also make more sense and feel less cobbled/cluttered than those in the LR3.The LR4 has three rows of seating, but the third row is for kids only. Outward visibility is good, thanks to the high seating position, and the second row is quite comfortable, positioned slightly higher in a 'stadium' layout. Both the second and third rows can be folded flat to open up to 90 cubic feet of cargo space. Safety features—just as the layout itself—are family-friendly, with side-curtain bags that protect the rearmost occupants; parking sensors and a rear camera system aid visibility in the driveway or parking lot.
Off-roading is the LR4's forte. It draws from years of systems that blend traditional mechanical components with electronic controls—in a system called Terrain Response, which includes a rotating knob on the console for different surfaces like sand or snow. Other electronic aids, and an adaptive suspension, make the LR4 hard to fluster even in precarious situations that would rattle other utility vehicles or be impassible to some crossovers.
Though very capable, the LR4 includes plenty of luxury items. Items such as a nine-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity and a dual-zone climate-control system are standard. The higher trim levels add navigation, parking sensors, power heated mirrors, and a heated steering wheel, while things like adaptive headlights, HID lighting, further audio upgrades, and a small refrigerator are available.
For the first three model years of its life cycle, there were relatively few updates to the LR4. The LR4 gained Hill Start Assist, Gradient Acceleration Control, and an improved version of Terrain Response (all useful off-road aids) in the 2011 model year; in 2012, Land Rover updated the LR4's navigation system to include real-time traffic and voice controls. Changes for the 2013 model year were mostly cosmetic ones: a set of five new exterior colors, two new interior themes, a new Black Design package with exterior gloss black accents, and an Extended Leather package with Windsor leather and twin-stitch seams were added.
For the 2010 to 2013 model years, the LR4 was powered by a 375-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 engine. It was impressive, able to rocket the nearly 6,000-pound SUV to 60 mph in roughly 7.5 seconds. In 2014, Land Rover swapped in its new 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission, which delivers more real-world power and is more fuel-efficient than the V-8. With 340 horsepower and a peak 332 pound-feet of torque, the supercharged six can pull 0-60 mph times of around 7.5 seconds -- almost as quick as the V-8 model that preceded it -- while the ZF automatic transmission shifts smoothly and is prompt to downshift whenever needed.
For 2015, infotainment systems have been upgraded, and LR4 models gain a new suite of InControl Apps, with Internet radio, location services, media streaming, and satellite navigation all available through special smartphone-based apps -- with your iPhone or Android handset of choice connected via USB.
A new edition of the Land Rover LR4 is expected to be introduced by 2016, and like the LR2, it could be rebadged as a returning member of the Discovery family of Land Rovers.