Full 2010 Land Rover LR4 Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Land Rover LR4 debuts as the replacement for the LR3 boasting an all-new interior, improved electronics and a much-need injection of horsepower.
The new 2010 Land Rover LR4 is to its LR3 predecessor as the LR3 itself was to the old Discovery -- a small step stylistically, but a giant leap overall. Indeed, the LR4 is virtually unchanged on the outside from last year's LR3, but that barely begins to tell the story. Under the hood there's a new Jaguar-sourced 5.0-liter V8 that's considerably better than the old 4.4-liter V8, and inside there's a completely redone dashboard layout with all the technology that premium SUV buyers expect. With these focused changes, Land Rover has taken its midsize offering from also-ran to almost one-of-a-kind status.
Well, can you think of any other SUV with a cabin this luxurious, an engine this potent and off-road skills this formidable, all for a base price of under $50,000? In fact, we wonder whether Land Rover itself isn't having second thoughts about the LR4's price point. Consider that the Range Rover costs a whopping $30,000 more despite employing the same 5.0-liter V8; what's more, the LR4's new interior is arguably nice enough to be mentioned in the same breath as the Range Rover's, and it even offers a third-row seat.
The LR4's starting price puts it smack in the middle of the German premium crossover SUV battle, where we expect it will fare rather well. The Volkswagen Touareg is cheaper but less powerful, though it offers an excellent turbodiesel option. The Mercedes-Benz ML-Class has a comparably opulent interior, but it's no match for the Land Rover in the dirt. The BMW X5 is far more composed in corners, but it, too, is largely tarmac-bound. The Audi Q7 is pricier with its optional V8; the Porsche Cayenne, even more so.
Interestingly, one key competitor this year, the Lexus GX 460, is also substantially new. Formerly known as the GX 470, the 460 has both the technology and the off-road chops to compete with the LR4, though its smaller V8 puts out considerably less power. Move up the cost ladder to larger off-road-worthy SUVs like the Toyota Land Cruiser or even its Lexus LX 570 sibling and you'll find that the 2010 Land Rover LR4 is still an enticing proposition.
It's true that many people have little need for an SUV in the traditional sense. And for them, one of the previously mentioned crossovers might work better. But for those who require true SUV off-road functionality or who just want the image of such, the LR4 requires remarkably few on-road compromises beyond its predictably ponderous handling and questionable reliability. We admire Land Rover for fixing what was broken about the old LR3. The result is one of the most desirable SUVs currently on the market.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Land Rover LR4 is a midsize luxury SUV offered in a single trim level. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, front and rear foglights, heated exterior mirrors, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, a power tilt-and-slide front sunroof, a fixed rear sunroof and a nine-speaker stereo with an in-dash CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack and a 5-inch display.
Many options are grouped into the HSE series of packages. The HSE package adds different 19-inch wheels, front parking sensors, a Cold Climate group (front and rear heated seats, heated windshield-washer jets and a heated windshield), Bluetooth, an iPod/MP3 interface, satellite radio and a hard-drive-based navigation system with a 7-inch touchscreen display and mapping capability for both on- and off-road.
The HSE Plus package tacks on HD radio, interior mood lighting, keyless entry/ignition and a back-up camera; a third-row seat is optional. The HSE LUX package adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights, higher-grade leather upholstery, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, a center-console cooler box and driver seat memory settings. The HSE LUX Plus package adds a 360-degree camera parking system as well as the Heavy Duty package (with active locking rear differential and full-size spare tire).
Some of the package features, such as Bluetooth, the Heavy Duty package and the third-row seat (including third-row side curtain airbags, second-row climate controls and second- and third-row air vents), are available à la carte. Also optional is a rear-seat entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 LR4 is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 375 hp and 375 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system. Using a rotary knob, the driver can select one of five settings (general, grass/gravel/snow, sand, mud and ruts, and rock crawl) that optimize everything for the conditions at hand, from throttle response to the differentials. The LR4 also features a fully independent suspension that utilizes electronically controlled air springs to automatically adapt to virtually any terrain or off-road challenge.
Land Rover estimates that the LR4 will run from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds -- not bad for a vehicle that weighs nearly 6,000 pounds. It's not surprising, then, that the LR4 is rated at just 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined. Properly equipped, the LR4 can tow up to 7,700 pounds.
Safety features on the 2010 Land Rover LR4 include antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control (with rollover mitigation technology), hill descent control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (including the third-row seat when it is specified).
Interior Design and Special Features
Whereas the outgoing LR3 had a rugged, bare-bones look to its interior, the new LR4 boasts a cabin design that's reminiscent of the high-buck Range Rover's. High-quality materials abound, and the dashboard's flowing curves and rich colors impart an immediate sense of luxury and exclusivity. Technology is on the cutting edge as well, with all sorts of knickknacks on offer, from a five-camera surround-view parking system to a hard-drive-based navigation system that can even tell you where to go in the woods.
In terms of everyday usability, the LR4 shines, with fold-flat second- and (available) third-row seats and a usefully square cargo hold with 90 cubic feet of maximum space. A commanding driving position and elevated stadium-style seating give the driver and passengers a clear view of the road (or trail) ahead.
The LR3's power deficit is no more; the 2010 Land Rover LR4 has plenty of get-up-and-go, thanks to the same 375-hp V8 found in fleet-footed Jaguars. The six-speed automatic transmission is quick-witted yet smooth. Decent feedback from the steering gives the LR4 a crisp feel behind the wheel, and a tight turning circle makes it fairly maneuverable in parking lots and campgrounds. However, the vehicle's high center of gravity inevitably gives it a somewhat tippy feel when negotiating corners, though some tweaks have been made to the LR4's suspension to mitigate this tendency. In any case, the highway ride is quite comfortable. And of course, the sophisticated four-wheel-drive system has more off-road capability than most owners will ever exploit -- it's one of the best in the business.