New & Used Land Rover LR4: In Depth
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The Land Rover LR4 is a luxury sport-utility vehicle with seating for 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 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
MORE: Read our 2015 Land Rover LR4 review
Land Rover introduced the LR4 in 2010 as a replacement for, and really a heavy update to, the previous LR3. These models stem from the Discovery, a nameplate that is still used on the LR4 in markets outside our own. The LR4 took the LR3's basic design and added finer detailing on the interior and exterior. The top model in the Land Rover line, it is very pleasant on the road but perhaps the most capable utility the company makes when it comes to trail driving. That said, its on-road comfort and poise make it easy to ignore those rock-crawling tendencies, as most owners likely will.
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 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.
Like any good Land Rover, the LR4 more than holds its own off-road. It combines tried and true mechanicals with newer electronic controls, including LR's Terrain Response system, which allows the driver to select a handful of modes through a console-mounted knob. An adaptive suspension and other high-tech aids keep the LR4 moving in almost any kind of weather or terrain, many of which would be difficult or impossible for other SUVs or crossovers to survive in.
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, a combination 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.
Infotainment offerings have been upgraded for 2015, with LR4 models gaining a new suite of InControl Apps; Internet radio, location services, media streaming, and satellite navigation are all available through special smartphone-based apps when your iPhone or Android handset of choice is connected via USB.
A new edition of the Land Rover LR4 is expected to be introduced by 2016, and like the LR2 that has morphed into the Discovery Sport, it could be rebadged as a returning member of the Discovery family of Land Rovers. The name change would certainly be a welcome alternative to LR5 or whatever Land Rover would call the model.