Full 2012 Land Rover LR4 Review
What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Land Rover LR4 lineup receives upgrades and improvements to its audio and navigation systems.
Rugged off-road prowess mixed with impeccable English luxury is a hallmark of the Land Rover brand. As the company's mid-pack model, the 2012 Land Rover LR4 is a fine example of this "go anywhere in style" aspect. For the rare individual who requires these attributes, the LR4 is one of only a few choices.
When it comes to off-road credentials, the LR4 is certainly a stout performer. Power from its 5.0-liter V8 is plentiful, while features like its Terrain Response System, Hill Descent Control and available locking rear differential ensure that even novice trail hounds can navigate with confidence. The LR4 is also well suited to duties closer to civilization, with a roomy cabin that makes liberal use of top-notch materials.
The real decision when considering a 2012 Land Rover LR4 is whether or not you really need all of the aforementioned off-road capabilities, because these attributes do come with some drawbacks. Fuel economy suffers, as does its road-holding confidence when the street curves. We'd also be remiss to leave out Land Rover's historical reputation for spotty reliability.
Buyers who don't need the LR4's formidable off-road chops or eight cylinders might consider the BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Alternately, you could look at the smaller and less expensive Jeep Grand Cherokee or more reliable Lexus GX 460. But for those seeking a powerful and well-appointed SUV capable of inciting a measure of boulevard envy and handling occasional -- or even regular -- backwoods adventures, the Land Rover LR4 won't disappoint.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Land Rover LR4 is offered in a single trim level. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a power tilt-and-slide front sunroof, a fixed rear sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio and an 11-speaker stereo with touchscreen control, an in-dash CD changer, two USB ports, an iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The optional HSE package adds different 19-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, power-folding mirrors, front parking sensors, third-row seats (for two additional passengers), rear-seat climate control, a rearview camera, a music server and a hard-drive-based navigation system with voice control and real-time traffic.
The HSE LUX package tacks on the Climate Comfort package (front and rear heated seats, a heated windshield, heated washer jets and a heated steering wheel), adaptive bi-xenon headlights, premium leather upholstery, power steering wheel adjustments, interior ambient lighting, additional seat adjustments, a center console cooler box, driver seat memory settings and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
Some of the features offered in the above packages are offered as stand-alone options. Other optional features include 20-inch wheels, a locking rear differential, a rear-seat entertainment system with six-DVD changer, satellite and HD radio and a 360-degree parking camera system.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2012 LR4 is a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to a full-time four-wheel-drive system.
Using a knob mounted in the center console, the driver can select one of five settings (general, grass/gravel/snow, sand, mud and ruts, and rock crawl) that optimizes engine, transmission and suspension settings for the conditions at hand. The LR4's fully independent suspension also uses electronically controlled air springs to automatically adapt to virtually any terrain or off-road challenge.
In Edmunds testing, an LR4 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds -- a commendable time, considering that it weighs about 5,700 pounds. No surprise, then, that it rates just 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined. Properly equipped, the LR4 can tow up to 7,700 pounds.
Standard safety features on the 2012 Land Rover LR4 include antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control (with rollover mitigation technology), hill descent control, hill start assist, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (including the third-row seat when selecting the HSE Lux package or stand-alone third-row seat option).
In Edmunds brake testing, an LR4 came to rest from 60 mph in 126 feet, an average distance for a luxury SUV.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2012 Land Rover LR4 features a stately cabin that closely rivals that of the range-topping Range Rover. The seats, steering wheel, dash and console use high-quality materials that feel rich to the touch. Stadium-style rear seating (with ample leg- and headroom) along with large side windows and a fixed rear sunroof contribute to the cabin's expansive feel.
The assorted switchgear, dials and gauges -- even the analog clock -- look and feel modern, as do the high-tech features, which range from a five-camera 360-degree parking-assist system to a touchscreen navigation unit that can track your course off-road. The LR4 shines in its more customary role as urban/suburban mover with fold-flat second-row seating; a third row of seating is optional, and it also folds flat. Raising and lowering these seats can be a struggle, but 90 cubic feet of cargo space is the worthwhile result.
The 2012 Land Rover LR4's powerful V8 is a stout performer both on pavement and in the wilderness, while the six-speed transmission provides quick and smooth shifts. Tight steering helps the LR4 feel crisp and maneuverable in parking lots and campgrounds, but the vehicle's tall profile and high center of gravity limit its handling abilities in corners and curves. Still, on the highway -- where we envision the LR4 will serve much of its duty -- the ride is quite comfortable. The minority of owners who press the LR4 into regular off-road service, however, will be rewarded with one of the most capable four-wheel-drive systems on the market.