With ample power from a single V-8 engine, rugged off-road ability, and comfortable, if not nimble, on-road performance, the Land Rover LR4 is unchanged in terms of performance for 2013--but it doesn't really need much improvement.
The LR4's sole engine is a 5.0-liter V-8, shared with Jaguar and impressively responsive as a result. The 375-horsepower V-8 relieves some of the hefty driving feel of the LR4--it's almost quick now, with LR estimates putting a 0-60 mph run at about 7.5 seconds. It's a smooth shifter, too, with a six-speed automatic fused to its four-wheel-drive system, but ultimately, performance is instantly recognizable as SUV--mostly, because the LR4 sits high and weighs almost 6,000 pounds.
While it's certainly no crossover--no one will car the LR4's handling "carlike"--the LR4 is very capable off-road. If you're still on the road, however, the LR4's high driving position and tall sides can yield a tipsy sensation, but cornering ability is surprisingly good, owing to the LR4's fully independent suspension and height-adjustable air springs. Body roll is noticeable, however, and the steering is vague and numb enough to discourage any spirited on-road driving. All in, the LR4 is capable and comfortable on the road, but it makes its size and weight, as well as its off-road intent, known.
Once the pavement ends, however, the LR4 hits its stride. In addition to the capable suspension, the LR4 packs Land Rover's brilliant off-road electronics, including Terrain Response, which lets the driver set the traction control and other drivetrain parameters to suit the grip conditions--with handily labeled modes like "mud and ruts" or "sand and dunes." A central-locking differential engages when conditions warrant maximum grip. Terrain Response has seen regular improvements over the years, and in 2011 it added Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control modes, which help tackle steep slopes that are either loose or slippery.
Land Rover also upgraded the LR4's brakes in the 2010 model year, for shorter stopping distances as well as better pedal feel. They do feel improved, but there's still a lot of nosedive and excess body motion when you stomp on the brakes firmly.