2016 Land Rover LR4

Consumer Reviews
1 Review
2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
June 28, 2016

Buying tip

The LR4 has yet to get an aluminum structure and the weight savings that come with it. If fuel economy, on-road dynamics, and off-road prowess

One of the few true SUVs left on the market, the 2016 Land Rover LR4 offers uncompromised off-road ability at the cost of on-road handling and fuel economy.

Without a doubt the most traditional looking of the luxury ute brand's current range, the 2016 Land Rover LR4 stands tall, with upright sides, sharp corners, and an uber-boxy look. It could be seen as a relic, with unabashedly squared-off design, uncompromised off-road ability, and quintessentially British character throughout. Yet with a relatively more fuel-efficient powertrain, reasonably coordinated on-the-road handling, and a comfortable ride and interior, it's definitely not as far out of step of the luxury mainstream as some might assume. 

The LR4's look is best described as "safari-chic." It features an iteration of the Land Rover look that's carried forward from the Discovery in the 1990s and the LR3 of the last decade. While the cabin is upright to match, you'll find the LR4's interior to have a good balance of form and function, with rich wood veneers and soft-touch materials and a clean control layout.

The LR4 really hits its stride once the pavement ends. It comes standard with a height-adjustable air suspension that offers four settings: Access (lower for loading/unloading), Standard, Off-Road, and Extended. In addition to the capable suspension, the 2016 Land Rover 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, while hill climbing and hill descent modes help tackle steep slopes that are either loose or slippery.

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Two off-road setups are offered. The base system has a single-speed Torsen transfer case, while with the Heavy Duty Package you get a two-speed transfer case with active-locking rear differential and full-size spare. And towing capability is strong at up to 7,716 pounds when properly equipped with a braked trailer.

We wouldn't call the 2016 Land Rover LR4 particularly nimble or capable on the road. It's graceful in its own way and better than expected given the tall, boxy proportions. The steering remains quite numb, but the LR4 doesn't at all feel as tipsy as the seating position initially suggests.

Only one powertrain is offered, teaming a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V-6 delivers good real-world punch but is rather thirsty in this nearly 6,000-pound vehicle. The V-6 is a modern engine, with direct injection, dual-independent variable cam timing, and a high (10.5:1) compression ratio. It makes 340 horsepower and a peak 332 pound-feet of torque, and it will pull 0-60 mph times of around 7.5 seconds—almost as quick as that V-8. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly and is prompt to downshift whenever needed.

With either five- or seven-passenger seating, the LR4's cabin is refined, with excellent comfort for the first and second rows, even for taller occupants. The ride is rather plush as well, and the cabin keeps both road noise and wind noise at bay—to a degree that you wouldn't expect in a vehicle with this sort of truck-like profile.

There are three trim levels of the 2016 Land Rover LR4: base, HSE, and HSE LUX. With a price tag that starts around $51,000, it's not surprising that there are quite a few luxury and convenience features, even without checking a lot of option boxes. Whether or not to go with the seven-passenger layout (a $1,250 option) is probably one of the first decisions you should make. Then consider that opting for the HSE or HSE LUX models enables useful extras like the surround-view camera system and trailer hitch assist, as well as more lavish interior trims. 

For 2016, the infotainment system gets a new homescreen with easier access to the navigation, phone, and audio command trees. Last year, Land Rover also added its  suite of InControl Apps, with internet radio, location services, media streaming, and satellite navigation all available through special smartphone-based apps.

The 2016 Land Rover LR4 is EPA rated at 15 mpg city, 19 highway, 16 combined. Those numbers aren't great, but they are aided by a standard start-stop system that conserves fuel in heavy traffic and at stoplights.

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2016 Land Rover LR4

Styling

Boxy and upright, the LR4 has a "safari-chic" SUV look in a world of softer crossovers. Inside, it gets modern finishes in a utilitarian layout.

The LR4 is the most traditional-looking and conservative of Land Rover's current lineup. Continuing to distinguish itself with its boxy, upright heritage in the face of more car-like crossovers and their sleeker, sexier styles, the LR4 is to our eyes "safari-chic, well executed." The tall box-on-box body is well proportioned. In fact, it may be the most instantly recognizable Land Rover, as the brand has been taking off in a more rakish design direction with the latest Range Rover, Land Rover Discovery Sport, and Range Rover Evoque.

While it could be argued that this model's fundamental design and silhouette haven't changed that much since the 1990s, the LR4 received an all-encompassing redesign for 2011. Both the LR4 and its predecessor, the LR3, are takeoffs on the upright design that Land Rover seemed to perfect in the 1990s with the Discovery. While mechanically the LR3 and LR4 were mammoth leaps ahead, they tended to be quite evolutionary in a design sense.

Visually and aesthetically, the 2016 LR4 remains a relative outsider to the rest of the SUV class. That's something you won't escape from inside, with its very upright interior layout that you'll either love or find off-putting. With the suave leather-trimmed dash, rich wood trim, and soft-touch materials introduced in recent years, plus the relatively good control layout, the LR4 feels traditional in mission, yet plush and contemporary in the details.

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2016 Land Rover LR4

Performance

Off-road performance is off the charts, but the LR4 is heavy and truck-like on the road.

Altogether there's a lot of inherent goodness in the LR4, provided you're willing to live with some of its on-the-road compromises. It offers ample power, rugged off-road ability, and a comfortable ride. That's all tempered a bit by on-the-road handling that's close to clumsy and far truckier than today's crossovers.

The 2016 LR4 is definitely not a crossover, and at around 6,000 pounds and one of the taller, most upright SUVs on the market, it won't be mistaken for one. First impressions are that the LR4 is a little tipsy, but as with more driving, it's more an adjustment in mindset due to the high driving position and tall sides.

Past that, cornering is competent, 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 overly 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.

As another by-product of all that height, and the tall tires and off-road kit, you'll find quite a bit of nosedive when braking hard, though pedal feel is quite good.

Ride quality is great, though, and the height-adjustable air suspension offers four settings: Access (lower for loading/unloading), Standard, Off-Road, and Extended.

The LR4 really hits its stride once the pavement ends. In addition to that capable suspension, the 2016 Land Rover 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, while hill start assist and hill descent control modes help tackle steep slopes that are either loose or slippery.

Two off-road setups are offered. The base system has a single-speed Torsen transfer case, while with the Heavy Duty Package you get a two-speed transfer case with active-locking rear differential and full-size spare.

The sole engine is a 3.0-liter V-6. With direct injection, supercharging, dual-independent variable cam timing, and a high (10.5:1) compression ratio, it's quite the modern engine, and it makes 340 horsepower and a peak 332 pound-feet of torque. It'll pull 0-60 mph times of around 7.5 seconds, which is almost as quick as the V-8 model that preceded it, while the automatic transmission shifts smoothly and is prompt to downshift whenever needed.

The transmission is shifted via a dial on the center console, while steering-wheel paddles can command individual shifts. It's a clever, almost jewel-like setup, with a shift dial that disappears into the center console when you turn off the ignition.

Towing capability is strong, too. The LR4 can pull up to 7,716 pounds when properly equipped with a braked trailer.

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8

2016 Land Rover LR4

Comfort & Quality

The cabin offers upright, comfortable seating in the first and second rows, but the third row is strictly for small kids.

The LR4 will never be mistaken for a crossover, though the comfortable first- and second-row seats are worthy of a vehicle with a luxury badge. In front, they include well-shaped buckets, with good support and infinitely adjustable armrests. The driver sits upright, with a great view of the road ahead and a hood that has very visible, pronounced corners—a Land Rover mainstay and an asset when you're off-roading. The cabin keeps both road noise and wind noise at bay—to a degree that you wouldn't expect in a vehicle with this sort of truck-like profile.

Technically the second row is positioned a little higher than the first row, in a "stadium" setup, though they might feel a little low to the floor to some. Overall, the second-row seats might not have an excess of knee room or leg room, but passengers will enjoy relatively smooth ride comfort and a good view outward. 

The third-row seating, however, is a different story. It essentially flips up from the cargo floor. There's not much head room in that rearmost row, so it's definitely best left to small kids.

When it's time to haul gear and not people, the second and third row seats can be folded completely flat, exposing up to 90 cubic feet of space. With two large glove boxes, large upholders, and abundant cubbies, there's also plenty of room for stuff even when you have the LR4 full of passengers.

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2016 Land Rover LR4

Safety

Big and packed with safety features, the 2016 Land Rover LR4 should be quite safe, but there are no crash test ratings to confirm that assertion.

Safety equipment in the 2016 Land Rover LR4 covers all of the expected bases, with side airbags and curtain airbags that protect side occupants. Order a seven-seat model and the LR4 also gets separate side curtain bags to protect those rearmost occupants. Anti-lock brakes and stability control are also included, and they both have an integral off-road mode.

Land Rover also offers a Vision Assist package that bundles adaptive front lighting, automatic high-beam assist, a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring with reverse traffic detection, trailer tow assist, and trailer hitch assist.

If you want the reassurance of crash-test results from either of two major agencies that conduct U.S. tests, be forewarned: they don't exist. You'll need to take a leap of faith. That's fairly easy given that a large vehicle is generally safer than a small vehicle.

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2016 Land Rover LR4

Features

The 2016 Land Rover LR4 is well equipped, offering a quality stereo and a modern infotainment system.

The 2016 Land Rover LR4 is available in base, HSE, and HSE LUX trim levels, all with the 340-horsepower supercharged V-6, 8-speed automatic transmission, air suspension, and full-time four-wheel drive. 

The base model starts at around $51,000, so it's not surprising that you get quite a few luxury and convenience features, even if you don't check a lot of option boxes. Standard equipment in the base model includes leather upholstery; power locks, windows, and mirrors; dual-zone climate control; front and rear parking sensors; Bluetooth; iPod connectivity; and an awesome 11-speaker Meridian audio system.

Move up to the HSE and you get an 825-watt audio upgrade, navigation with traffic alerts, a heated steering wheel, and heated side mirrors. The HSE LUX has even more luxury, with interior mood lighting, a center console cooler box, and access to an optional uprated leather package, which features premium soft Windsor leather with twin-stitch detailing on the dashboard, armrests, instrument cluster, doors, and grab handles.

Buyers also have access to a suite of apps, with internet radio, location services, media streaming, and satellite navigation all available through special smartphone-based apps. These apps are offered either through the Apple App Store or via Google Play (Android marketplace); it's simply a matter of having them installed and connecting via USB. Examples include iHeartRadio for Auto, Stitcher, Glympse, Sygic, Parkopedia, Hotelseeker, Cityseeker, and Eventseeker.

Whether or not to go with the seven-passenger layout ($1,250 option) is probably one of the first decisions you should make. Other options for the 2016 Land Rover LR4 include the cooler box, satellite radio, and adaptive headlights. There's also a "Vision Assist" package that bundles adaptive front lighting, automatic high-beam assist, a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring with reverse traffic detection, trailer tow assist, and trailer hitch assist. It's offered only on the HSE and LUX models, though.

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5

2016 Land Rover LR4

Fuel Economy

The supercharged V-6 is more efficient than previous V-8s, but it still gulps fuel.

The LR4 is powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine that is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain replaced a V-8 and 6-speed combo in 2014, and while it's more efficient, the LR4 still drinks fuel.

The 2016 Land Rover LR4 is EPA rated at 15 mpg city, 19 highway, 16 combined. It gets those numbers despite a standard stop-start feature that uses a twin-solenoid starter to shut the engine off at stoplights (to avoid prolonged idling when it's not needed) then starts it back up the instant you let up off the brake. This feature helps the LR4 get relatively better mileage in real-world stop-and-go commuting conditions.

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January 26, 2016
2016 Land Rover LR4 4WD 4-Door HSE Silver Edition

A quality car that is tough!

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Changing to the Discovery 4 from a sport car was a difficult choice, but the Discovery has exceeded my expectations. It is of high quality with the cabin being a nice place to spend time. It is comfortable and... + More »
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