- Array of electronics makes this tipsy-looking vehicle quite agile
- Serious, rock-clambering off-road ability when you need it
- Excellent front seats
- Attractively designed instrument panel
- Well-designed interior space for seven
- Dismal fuel economy
- Cushy handling isn’t good for curvy roads
- Center-stack controls can be hard to make out
- High cargo-loading height and difficult third-row access
- Spotty reliability
The 2008 Land Rover LR3 is hard to justify for fashion alone, but if you're living an off-road lifestyle, it's one of the best.
The 2008 Land Rover LR3, the mid-price, mid-size luxury sport-utility vehicle from the British brand, borrows key styling cues from its larger showroom companion, the Range Rover. It returns in 2008 with some interior trim adjustments and a two-model lineup.
Both 2008 Land Rover LR3 models are now powered by a 300-horsepower, 4.4-liter V-8 and exhibit gutsy acceleration with the requisite six-speed automatic transmission. Both the sport-themed SE and the luxury-oriented HSE also have a central-locking differential that engages when conditions warrant maximum grip.
A four-corner independent height-adjustable air suspension and Land Rover's exclusive Terrain Response system help bring impressive off-road ability to the 2008 Land Rover LR3 without sacrificing on-road handling. The system has separate modes, commanding the behavior of an armory of electronics, for several different driving conditions, such as "mud and ruts" or "sand and dunes."
The LR3 isn't as responsive on the road as carlike crossovers, but it maintains impressive composure in tight corners and on rough road surfaces better than most truck-based SUVs, thanks to an independent double-wishbone suspension with height-adjustable rear air springs and the electronic aids. Those who plan to use the 2008 Land Rover LR3 for daily driving might be interested to know that it carries low fuel economy ratings of 12 mpg city, 17 mpg highway.
If the LR3's upright, safari-chic look isn't enough, its interior styling also ranks among the most distinctive in any SUV, and after being on sale for three years, it still looks fresh relative to much of the competition--even though there are a lot of hard, dark-hued plastics. The seating position in the 2008 Land Rover LR3 is very high and upright in front, and taller folks may find the instrument panel controls seem low in the peripheral vision and difficult to make out among many nearly identical buttons. There's plenty of space in the second row of seating, and the "pedestal" third row, which tucks away nicely when not in use, has an elevated roof for more headroom and can fit adults. But it's very difficult to access.
Standard equipment on the "base" SE model is vast, including rear parking distance control, dual-zone climate control, and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The 2008 Land Rover LR3 HSE adds bi-xenon headlamps, power heated mirrors, a navigation system with off-road features, front park-distance control, Bluetooth connectivity, and magnificent 550-watt premium surround sound. Options include Sirius Satellite Radio, adaptive front lighting, and a cooler box.
For 2008, the front passenger seat adopts eight-way power adjustments, while the 2008 Land Rover LR3 HSE also picks up a power-adjustable steering column with a memory function. The HSE also has new walnut trim on its center console, with black lacquer trim available at no charge. Lastly, the premium leather gets new stitching and an additional pocket on the driver seat.
Front side airbags are standard on the 2008 Land Rover LR3, along with side curtain bags covering first- and second-row occupants. Anti-lock brakes are also standard and include an all-terrain mode. The LR3 has not been crash-tested by either of the U.S. programs.
Another cause for concern for some is that Consumer Reports has flagged the 2008 Land Rover LR3 for poor reliability.