2010 Land Rover LR4
If you haven’t paid much attention to the SUV market since the late 90s, you might better know the Land Rover LR4 – and its predecessor, the LR3
– as the Land Rover Discovery
. It has since suffered from a bit of a marketing-induced identity crisis, but don’t worry, the mission statement and, indeed, exterior styling, haven’t changed desperately in the past decade. That’s good news because the new LR4 comes armed with the tools necessary to do the job like never before – motivation comes from an all-new direct-injected 5.0-liter V-8 with 25 percent more power than the outgoing model, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a Land Rover, so the ability to casually dominate all conceivable forms of off-road terrain largely remains a foregone conclusion. That said, the LR4 is even more capable off road than the LR3, thanks to a few tweaks and additional features. What held the LR3 back from mass appeal was its fussy center console and overall level of interior refinement, so Land Rover’s engineers went in and re-thought the whole interior package, steering clear of the old industrial design, instead heading in a more premium direction. The dash layout has been simplified dramatically thanks to a touchscreen interface, and the interior is properly luxurious to the point where you feel bad getting in it with muddy shoes, nevermind stuffing a dead deer in the back. Every driver has different demands, and whether it’s mundane tasks such as chauffeuring the kids to and from soccer practice or more demanding activities like clawing your way up a rocky slope to bring supplies into base camp, the LR4 will feel equally capable.
2010 Land Rover LR4
2010 Land Rover LR4
2010 Land Rover LR4
What's to Like
One of the biggest complaints with the LR3 was the complexity of the audio controls. Land Rover has listened, cleaning up the dash thanks to the addition of a seven-inch touch screen interface and a few simple climate control buttons. The step up in interior luxury also adds some additional appeal to the previously utilitarian LR4. Seven-seat capacity will be a plus for those that need the space.
What's Not to Like
Aside from limited-edition supercars, there is very little excuse to release a 2010 model year vehicle that returns just 12 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, but unfortunately these are the fuel economy numbers for the 5,833 lb LR4. Add seven passengers or plenty of cargo and they very well could decrease even further. But trust us, the new V-8 is fantastic.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
You sit so high in the boxy LR4 that it almost feels top-heavy, but once you get moving you realize it’s all an illusion, the way you peer over the long hood and the flatness of the windows making the car feel higher than it is. Air suspension absorbs imperfections in the road without issue, and the introduction of the Range Rover Sport’s front suspension to the LR4 has led to increased road control and better steering response. Being an off-roader out of the box, steering feel is intentionally light to minimize low-speed effort on a variety of terrain types. The 5.0-liter V-8’s low-end torque and linear throttle response make slow climbing easy, yet out on the road, 0-60 mph comes up in just 7.5 seconds – impressive for a middleweight performance hatch and downright unthinkable for a 5,833 lb seven-seat SUV. If you fancy heading off-road and actually using all 9.4-inches of ground clearance, the LR4 is happy to indulge, pairing unbelievable capability with supreme comfort and luxury. With the aid of a 4x4 info screen on the nav screen, drivers have access to information such as differential lock-up and vertical wheel travel. Couple this with five exterior cameras and you can almost do away with spotters completely.
Engine and Drivetrain
The LR4 uses a 5.0-liter direct injected V-8 engine that delivers 375 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. Power is driven to all four wheels via a ZF six-speed automatic gearbox with a two-speed transfer case and variable locking center differential.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
We really like Land Rover’s implementation of a new touchscreen interface in the LR4. Unlike Jaguar models, where a similar system is employed, hard-buttons for nav, audio, phone functions and the main menu have been added to the dash so you aren’t constantly backing out to the home screen. Off-road features such as Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control and Land Rover’s famous Terrain Response system – which lets drivers tailor the chassis to various off-road conditions – all come standard.
Key Technology Evaluation
Land Rover’s new Surround Camera System is useful both off-road in the wilderness and in the concrete jungles of suburbia. By using five external cameras – one under each mirror, two in the front bumper and one in the rear – the system can help drivers parallel park, steer clear of bumpers and poles in parking lots and avoid obstacles off-road. You can even see underwater when fording a river. Not very useful, but nevertheless a cool feature.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
Obviously not a Land Rover strong suit, the close to three-ton Range Rover HSE returns just 12 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, though the powerplant is ULEV certified. Unfortunately, the more economical diesel models are not currently offered in North America.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
Gone is the chunky plastic center console and last-gen phone keypad of the LR3, tastefully replaced by a touchscreen navigation system and climate controls with digital readouts laid into the temperature dials. Leather seating surfaces feel properly luxurious despite the off-road mentality of the chassis. Two interior colors and either straight-grain walnut or grand black lacquer wood are available.
While the LR4 may look bulky and cumbersome, in reality it’s surprisingly compact (relatively speaking), measuring shorter than an Audi A6. The overall shape of the LR3 – and, indeed, the Discovery before it – remains, albeit with a more polished, rounded style and new signature LED headlight surrounds. Thirteen exterior colors are offered and 19-inch wheels come standard.
Market Segment and Pricing
With an MSRP of $48,100, the LR4 is actually priced lower than the outgoing LR3 was back in 2008. However, few buyers will be satisfied with a bare-bones model, and most can expect to pay somewhere in the $55K range. Competitors include the $53,130 GMC Yukon Denali
4WD, $60,950 Mercedes-Benz GL450
and ever capable $64,755 Toyota Land Cruiser
What We Think
We liked the outward utilitarianism of the LR3, but we understand that it wasn’t for everyone. While Land Rover has taken the LR4 in a more opulent direction, the core experience remains the same. And if it’s more comfortable, more stylish, more powerful and more entertaining than the outgoing model, we would be mildly deranged to call it anything but a fantastic SUV.