2010 Land Rover LR4 Review

2010 Land Rover LR4 - Traditional SUV with a twist.

By:

Vehicle Tested
2010 Land Rover LR4
Base Price: $47,250
At-Tested Price: $54,760
Built in United Kingdom.

Options
Heavy-Duty Package
7-Passenger HSE Plus Package

Engine: 5.0-Liter V8
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Drive Wheels: Four-Wheel Drive

Though similar in dimension and styling to its predecessor, Land Rover claims the LR4 is all new for 2010. It replaces the LR3 and, with seven-passenger capacity, plays the roll of "family vehicle" in the luxury SUV-maker's lineup. The LR4 plies its trade against vehicles like the Audi A7, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX56, Lexus LX 570, Lincoln Navigator, and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

Big changes for 2010 include an all-new interior and a more powerful engine. LR4 still comes only as a four-door wagon with a split-opening rear hatch. Like all Land Rover models, the LR4 packs a true off-road-ready four-wheel drive system that includes a low range and Land Rover's Terrain-Response system.

Standard passenger capacity is five on front buckets and a three-place middle bench. Optional is a two-passenger third-row seat, which boosts passenger capacity to seven.

A single model is offered. It comes with a 375-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. This engine replaces a 300-hosrepower 4.4-liter V8. Sole transmission offering is a six-speed automatic. When properly equipped, the LR4's maximum towing capacity for a braked trailer is 7,716 pounds.

Standard safety equipment includes antilock four-wheel disc brakes with brake assist, stability control with rollover sensors, hill-descent control, tire-pressure monitor, rear-obstacle-detection system and dual-front, front-side, and curtain side airbags. A Front-obstacle-detection system and rear-view camera are optional.

LR4 lists for $47,250 and includes air conditioning with dual-zone automatic climate controls, power tilt-telescope leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats with driver-seat lumbar adjustment, center console, wood interior trim, heated power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, sunroof with rear glass roof panels, harman/kardon AM/FM radio with in-dash 6-disc CD changer and digital-media player connection, trip computer, outside-temperature indicator, rain-sensing variable-intermittent wipers, automatic day/night rearview mirror, universal garage door opener, illuminated visor mirrors, rear defogger, rear wiper/washer, floormats, theft-deterrent system, rear privacy glass, front and rear fog lights, height-adjustable and load-leveling air suspension, 255/55HR19 tires and alloy wheels.

Two major packages are offered as options. The $3650 HSE package includes front-obstacle-detection, navigation system with voice recognition, heated front and second-row seats, heated windshield with heated washer jets, satellite radio, Bluetooth cell-phone link and unique alloy wheels. The Lux package lists for $9565 and adds front-obstacle-detection system, navigation system with voice recognition, rearview camera, upgraded leather upholstery, heated front with adjustable bolsters, memory system (driver seat, mirrors, steering wheel), heated second-row seats, center console cooler box, keyless access and starting, heated windshield with heated washer jets, high-definition radio, upgraded harman/kardon sound system, satellite radio, Bluetooth cell-phone link, ambient interior lighting, self-dimming and steering-linked adaptive HID headlights and unique alloy wheels.

There are a few stand-alone options, including the seven-passenger seating package, rear-seat entertainment system, and 20-inch alloy wheels. The LR4 is built in the United Kingdom and has a destination charge of $850.

Get Up and Go  Land Rover claims that the new engine will push the large SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. In theory, that's about class average. Sadly, the reality is that the engine doesn't feel that energetic around town. That's probably due to a 5800-pound curb weight and fuel-minded throttle mapping that forces drivers to stomp on the gas pedal to get the engine to react. Mid-speed passing response is good and the transmission willingly downshifts when more power is needed.

EPA fuel-economy ratings of 12 mpg city and 17 mpg highway are at the bottom of the class, and Land Rover says that the new engine requires premium-grade gasoline.

Real-world driving proves out the dismal economy ratings. Driven with a light throttle foot and lots of open-road cruising, the LR4 will return about 17 mpg per gallon. Throw in some stop-and-go driving and a little suburban crawl and the numbers drop quickly.

Unlike most competitors in the class, the LR4 offers true go-anywhere off-road ability. It's not as nimble as a Jeep Wrangler, but with plenty of ground clearance, an abundance of electronic aids and a low range, the LR4 is as capable an off-road vehicle as any suburban owner will ever need. The beauty of Land Rover's Terrain Response system is that it takes the guess work out of off-road driving. Just set the dial appropriately, drop the LR4 into low range and modulate the throttle. The LR4 will do the rest.

It's interesting to note that size has plusses and minuses in an off road vehicle. Obviously, a smaller vehicle will be able to get in and out of tight trails easier, but a vehicle with a longer wheelbase, like the LR4, is better suited for rocky slope climbs.

On the Road  The LR4 retains the LR3's big SUV "comfy" ride. The absorbent suspension and tall-sidewall tires do an excellent job of smothering even the roughest roads. Occasionally, a large bump, taken at highway speed, will send a jolt to passengers, but overall the ride is quite controlled and comfortable.

Just based on its sheer size and tall build, you'd think the LR4 would be unwieldy. That would only be partly true. The steering is nearly perfectly weighted and the brakes are responsive. Body lean is kept in check by the electronic suspension and the tires have good on-road grip. Combined, everything comes together to make the LR4 drive like a much smaller SUV. I would never call the LR4 sporty, but at least it isn't a handful like some other large SUVs.

Interior noise levels are low--so low you forget that the LR4 is a boxy and tall SUV. The engine is only noticeable in hard acceleration and wind noise only comes into play at extra-legal speeds.

Behind the Wheel  Apart from the name change and new engine, the biggest change for 2010 is an all-new interior. Featuring high-quality materials and a pleasing design, the LR4's interior is much more in keeping with the vehicle's upscale nature. The overall effect is still very European but softened by lots of round shapes and smooth contours.

Gauges are easy to read, if somewhat unorthodox. Audio and climate controls are nicely integrated into the center stack. Ancillary controls are positioned within easy reach of the driver. Setting the Terrain Response system is still somewhat puzzling, but those going off-road should really take a trip through the owner's manual first anyway.

Like the LR3 before it, the LR4 places the driver in an upright and commanding seating position. It's still a bit more outboard than other SUVs, but not to the point where you feel pressed to the door panel. The seats are very comfortable and there's plenty of leg and head room. Outward visibility is generally good and the myriad of electronic aids make backing and parking this large vehicle easier than expected. Step in is higher than typical, but the LR4 does "squat" a bit when parked to make ingress a little easier.

With nicely trimmed seats and plenty of head and leg room, second-row passengers are treated like first-class citizens. The optional third row isn't as roomy or comfortable as in some competitors, but it's OK for part-time use. Getting back there is a challenge as well.

Though the cargo hold isn't very deep, it is quite tall. Folding the third-row seats adds a lot of room and makes LR4 class competitive. The two-piece tailgate takes some getting used to but has advantages when loading and unloading. Inside there are lots of open and covered bins, giving the LR4 above average interior storage. Included in the Lux package is a cooled compartment in the center console. It won't really chill a drink, but it will keep it cold for a long time.

Bottom Line  I've said it before and I'll say it again, "No one needs a Land Rover." That said, the LR4 is the luxury SUV-maker's best attempt at creating a credible family hauler for the American market. Off road it is everything a Land Rover should be and on road it is a very capable and useful vehicle. Demerits are obvious. The LR4 is thirsty, expensive, and a long-step-up for kids. On the plus side, the new interior is fabulous and quite family friendly.

In a world that's quickly embracing crossovers, the LR4 stands resolutely as one of the last traditional SUVs. It is much more car-like than you'd expect and presents its owners with an interesting blend of personality and ability that could only be offered by a Land Rover.


Specifications, 2010 Land Rover LR4
Dimensions
4-door wagon
Engine
DOHC V8
Wheelbase, in.
113.6
Size, liters/cu. in.
5.0 / 305
Length, in.
190.1
Horsepower @ rpm
375 @ 6500
Width, in.
75.4
Torque (lb.-ft.) @ rpm
375 @ 3500
Height, in.
74.1
Transmission
6-Speed Automatic
Weight, lbs.
5833
EPA Estimates, mpg
12 city / 17 highway
Cargo Capacity, cu. ft.
90.3

 
Fuel Capacity, gals.
22.8
Manufacturer's Warranty
Seating Capacity
7
Bumper-to-Bumper
4 years / 50,000 miles
Front Head Room, in.
40.2
Powertrain
None
Front Leg Room, in.
42.4
Corrosion
6 years / Unlimited miles
Second-Row Head Room, in.
42.4Free Roadside Assistance
4 years / 50,000 miles
Second-Row Leg Room, in.
37.6
Free Scheduled Maintenance
None




Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.