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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
six-speed automatic transmission [that] sends power to a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system
no shortage of V-8 power
the [Land Rover] LR3 has ready power in highway passing
Experts at TheCarConnection.com find that the 2009 Land Rover LR3 performs well off-road and decently overall—but others in its class may outshine it.
The 2009 Land Rover LR3 is powered by a 300-horsepower, 4.4-liter V-8. The LR3 has gutsy acceleration with the requisite six-speed automatic transmission. Higher-end trims designed for sport also have a central-locking differential that engages when conditions warrant maximum grip.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2009 Land Rover LR3's engine "packs the power and smoothness we expect from a Land Rover," but they'd "like to see a little quicker throttle response when moving from a stop." Edmunds warns that "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 it "has no shortage of V-8 power."
There are few complaints about the Land Rover LR3's transmission. ConsumerGuide notes that the 2009 Land Rover LR3's "transmission is slow to downshift on hills," adding that "throttle response changes with the transfer-case setting," and it is "less sensitive in low range for better off-road control." Cars.com, however, 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 reports fuel economy is "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." MotherProof simply calls the Land Rover LR3 what it is: "a gas guzzler."
"The taut suspension yields a firm ride; it's pleasant on the highway and acceptable on urban pavement," says Cars.com of the 2009 LR3. The reviewer also adds that it "maneuvers adeptly with satisfying steering feel...little correction is needed to stay on course." Overall, however, 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.
A four-corner, independent, height-adjustable air suspension and Land Rover's exclusive Terrain Response system help bring impressive off-road ability to the 2009 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."
Kelley Blue Book calls it a "well-mannered day-to-day driving experience." ConsumerGuide notes that "overall the 2009 [Land Rover] LR3 is comfortably absorbent over bumps big and small," but "dips and wavy surfaces induce some residual bobbing." Edmunds attests 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."
The 2009 Land Rover LR3 has plenty of electronic and computerized wizardry to make this tall SUV capable off-road and keep it under control on-road.