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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
performance gains are huge
better body control" and "ride quality
Car and Driver
easy off-roading "without doing much more than turning a dial
The LR4 sheds all its old Ford and BMW heritage (both companies owned the brand in the past) by adopting a new 5.0-liter V-8 engine.
With 375 horsepower-75 hp more than last year's model-the LR4 feels almost fleet and nimble, with plenty of power to move it to 60 mph in under 7.5 seconds. It's a "brand-new engine," Jalopnik says, one that can "propel the 5,800 lb-plus SUV from 0-to-60 in a manufacturer-claimed 7.5 seconds." The engine "helps the once-only-capable-off-road SUV feel like it's got the power necessary to get back home from a to-late-for prep school night date faster than your over-Xanaxed parents can ground you," they add. Edmunds agrees the "performance gains are huge," and reports their "test LR4 accelerated like a much lighter vehicle." Motor Trend calls it a "carriage-to-chariot level improvement in acceleration feel, with way more midrange punch and a more pleasing engine note," while Car and Driver observes, "this isn't acceleration that will lead anyone to confuse the LR4 with a sports car, but we'd say that the power has made the transition from insufficient to sufficient." Automobile reports the LR4 is "nearly as fast as the outgoing Range Rover Sport Supercharged."
A six-speed automatic transmission teams with four-wheel drive in a body that weighs nearly 6,000 pounds-which explains the LR4's dismal 12/17 mpg fuel economy. Rover fans know real-world driving will run toward the lower end of that scale. The six-speed is a "new, upgraded 6-speed ZF auto tranny with a select-a-gear manumatic system called ‘Commandshift,'" Jalopnik explains. As Edmunds sees it, the six-speed doesn't improve fuel economy, though performance is better: "12 mpg city and 17 mpg highway on premium fuel aren't going to write any headlines." MotherProof simply calls the Land Rover LR4 "a gas guzzler."
The LR4 isn't as responsive on the road as carlike crossovers; the driving position is very tall, and it feels at first as if the LR4 is going to be tipsy in corners, but it maintains impressive composure in on-road cornering and on rough road surfaces better than most truck-based SUVs. That's thanks to an independent double-wishbone suspension with height-adjustable rear air springs and the LR4's range of electronic aids-and a series of revisions to its suspension and steering. "Of course, adding this much power without a commensurate chassis upgrade would have been like hitching Seabiscuit and Citation to that 19th century carriage," Motor Trend says. Edmunds explains the new steering has a different feel at lower and higher speeds, for "steady and predictable behavior when driving straight down the road" and "improved steering response" during cornering. Where the LR3 was "clumsy and slow-witted," according to Car and Driver, the LR4 has "better body control, reduced body roll, and improved compliance and ride quality." The "LR4 imparts considerable driver confidence," declares Popular Mechanics. However, Automobile thinks "although the LR4 corners flatter than an LR3, there is still a considerable amount of body roll present in a turn." The upgrades may "make the overall on-road driving experience shockingly significantly better," as Jalopnik reports, but as Automobile points out, they "are almost moot when it comes to the nearly-6000 pound SUV's road manners."
"The real joy of owning a Land Rover is the ability to head off in practically any direction a horseback rider could," Motor Trend proclaims. That's why Land Rover fits a four-corner, independent, height-adjustable air suspension and a Terrain Response system (with separate modes for several different driving conditions, such as "mud and ruts" or "sand and dunes") to bring impressive off-road ability to the 2010 Land Rover LR4. A central-locking differential engages when conditions warrant maximum grip. "Whether slipping through two-foot-deep muddy ruts in the hills of Vermont, or scrambling over foots and tree stumps that managed to fell even a mighty Land Rover Defender, the LR4 took on anything in front of it," Jalopnik remarks. Motor Trend explains the LR4's off-road talents come from gradual throttle and good brakes, which "permit rolling a tire off a boulder and tiptoeing it down onto the ground, all of which makes ‘treading lightly' easier in a Rover than in most factory original rock-hoppers." As Car and Driver puts it, "the LR4 basically takes care of lifting the vehicle and tailors the throttle response and shift patterns to suit the conditions." Automobile says "purists may cringe at the thought" of electronic goodies replacing old-fashioned mechanicals and driver skill, but the LR4's systems "allow virtually anyone to go from driving 125 mph on the paved roads to inching along a difficult trail without doing much more than turning a dial."
To keep the LR4 at an even pace, Land Rover improves the brakes for 2010 as well. Its 19-inch wheels cloak "larger 14.2-inch brake rotors with twin-piston sliding calipers," according to Edmunds. "The last LR3 we tested recorded relatively short stops, but no one is going to argue with bigger brakes when 75 more horsepower is on tap," they note. Car and Driver feels the brakes give "the LR4 a more agile feel," though Automobile states mildly, "we found the revised brakes to be adequate for the LR4's 5833 lb curb weight."
The 2010 Land Rover LR4 has better road feel and far better acceleration than the LR3-and amazing off-road prowess.