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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
no shortage of V-8 power
the hefty Land Rover LR3 is no rocket
The [Land Rover] LR3 has ready power in highway passing
The 2008 Land Rover LR3 has good power and brainy controls for its suspension, but it’s still a big SUV by definition, and performance is not its prime directive.
Both 2008 Land Rover LR3 models are now powered by a 300-horsepower, 4.4-liter V-8 and have gutsy acceleration with the requisite six-speed automatic transmission. The sport-themed SE and the luxury-oriented HSE also have a central-locking differential that engages when conditions warrant maximum grip.
Edmunds sums it up best: "the hefty Land Rover LR3 is no rocket, especially when carrying a full load of passengers." Nonetheless, the Land Rover LR3 takes advantage of a "Jaguar-derived 300-horsepower, 4.4-liter V-8 that's been changed to handle severe offroad conditions" with "five terrain settings for on-road to extreme offroad conditions," reports Cars.com, which says that it "has no shortage of V-8 power." According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2008 Land Rover LR3's engine "packs the power and smoothness we expect from a Land Rover," but they add that they'd "like to see a little quicker throttle response when moving from a stop."
There are few complaints about the Land Rover LR3's transmission; Cars.com reports "a beautifully refined powertrain that shifts gears smoothly." This, according to Edmunds, is a "six-speed automatic transmission [that] sends power to a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system." By using a rotary knob, "the driver can select one of five settings that optimizes everything for the conditions at hand, from throttle response to the differentials." ConsumerGuide, nonetheless, notes that the 2008 Land Rover LR3's "transmission is slow to downshift on hills," adding that "throttle response changes with the transfer-case setting," and that it is "less sensitive in low range for better off-road control."
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 highway. ConsumerGuide reports that fuel economy is indeed "dismal, even for the class. In Consumer Guide testing, we averaged 12.8-14.1 mpg in city/highway driving and 15.5 mpg in exclusively freeway travel." Adding insult to pocketbook injury, they issue a reminder that "Land Rover recommends premium-grade gas." Mother Proof simply calls the Land Rover LR3 what it is: "a gas guzzler."
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. "The taut suspension yields a firm ride; it's pleasant on the highway and acceptable on urban pavement," says Cars.com, which adds that it "maneuvers adeptly with satisfying steering feel...little correction is needed to stay on course, but the [Land Rover] LR3 does demand close attention."
Edmunds notes that the "advanced suspension is well-suited for both on-road cruising and off-road treks, and a tight turning radius makes it fairly maneuverable in parking lots. However, the vehicle's high center of gravity gives it a somewhat tippy feel when negotiating corners." ConsumerGuide notes that "overall the 2008 [Land Rover] LR3 is comfortably absorbent over bumps big and small," but that "dips and wavy surfaces induce some residual bobbing." Kelley Blue Book sums it up simply: "well-mannered day-to-day driving experience."
The 2008 Land Rover LR3 has gutsy power and good handling, thanks to myriad electronic helpers.