Full 2013 Land Rover LR4 Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Land Rover LR4 has a new blackout exterior-trim package, new interior colors and trim finishes and an optional Extended Leather package.
It's a formidable challenge to design and build a vehicle robust enough for serious off-road use, yet still luxurious enough to mix it up with the Mercedes-Benzes and Lexuses of the world. But the 2013 Land Rover LR4 maintains this British company's standing as one of the foremost specialists in this narrow market segment. The LR4 is even more impressive when you realize it's just the middle child in Land Rover's lineup -- it's possible to spend more, a lot more, for Rover's flagship Range Rover, not to mention a number of rivals that don't have anything near the LR4's off-road capability.
The 2013 LR4 manages its impressive on- and off-road performance by blending muscle and magic. There's power in abundance from the 5.0-liter V8 and traction galore from an extensively developed four-wheel-drive system. Then high-tech electronic features like Land Rover's Terrain Response System and Hill Descent Control manage it all so effectively that the LR4's owner needs to do little more than twirl a console knob to conquer ridiculously difficult conditions.
That's all before you get to the impeccably turned-out cabin, which can accommodate five or seven in the kind of comfort that's usually the province of luxury cars, not SUVs. But do you really, really need all that off-road prowess? If not, there are genuine trade-offs: The big engine and rugged underpinnings ravage efficiency and curtail responsiveness on pavement. And as much as this brand is steeped in off-road lore, it's similarly hip-deep in a longstanding reputation for subpar reliability.
The fact is, if you aren't smitten just by the history behind the Land Rover badge and you truly don't have that much use for the LR4's admittedly indisputable off-road proficiency, there are plenty of utility vehicles packed with the same kind of luxury treatment -- they just lean more toward the "crossover" portion of the luxury-SUV spectrum. There's no going wrong with the 2013 BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. The 2013 Lexus GX 460 will peg the reliability meter and still is pretty tough underneath.
But if you appreciate the Land Rover name for what it represents and the LR4's execution for what it can do both as a luxury car and an off-road tool, the 2013 Land Rover LR4 has no equal.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 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.
Any grade of 2013 Land Rover LR4 can be fitted with the Black Design package, comprising 19- or 20-inch black alloy wheels and gloss-black exterior trim and satin-black color for the extended roof rails.
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. Optional only for the Lux package is the Extended Leather package, which swaddles more of the dashboard and doors ? as well as the armrest, grab handles and instrument-cluster surround ? with soft, double-stitched leather.
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 2013 LR4 is a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered and it distributes power to the LR4's full-time four-wheel drive.
The Terrain Response system's workings are governed by a knob mounted in the center console with which the driver can toggle among five settings (general, grass/gravel/snow, sand, mud and ruts, and rock crawl) that optimize engine, transmission and suspension calibrations for the conditions at hand. The LR4's suspension also uses electronically controlled air springs to help adapt to different driving conditions. Properly equipped, the LR4 can tow 7,700 pounds.
In Edmunds testing, an LR4 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a quick 7.5 seconds. Fuel economy, however, is pretty poor, with EPA fuel economy ratings of just 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
Standard safety features on the 2013 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 that also encompass 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
One of the most overwhelming initial impressions of piloting the 2013 Land Rover LR4 comes from the high and upright seating. This, combined with lots of glass, provides some of the most unencumbered sight lines you'll find in any type of vehicle. Rear-seat passengers don't get cheated either: Stadium-type seating and the tall roof mean superb comfort and the same expansive feel front-seaters enjoy.
Even the base LR4 surrounds you with high-quality, dense materials nearly everywhere you touch, while the metal and wood accents nicely bring together touches of old-world and new-tech. Given the sheer bulk of the LR4, the primary gauge cluster and the LCD screen in the center of the dash seem undersized, about the only drawback to this SUV's interior architecture.
The cabin also is filled with plenty of high-tech features, including a five-camera, 360-degree park-assist system that also can zero in on the rear to assist with towing hookups. Most buying the LR4 more as a family vehicle than a jungle tool will find convenience in fold-flat functionality for the second row of seats and the optional third row, too. The seats are heavy and sometimes reluctant, though, but in the end there's a maximum of 90 cubic feet of cargo capacity that will handle some extra-large loads.
The 2013 Land Rover LR4's 5.0-liter V8 is plenty lusty and works up a refined howl if you demand its utmost -- and 375 hp is good enough to conquer just about anything you find on- or off-pavement. The six-speed automatic transmission is a transparent, well-matched companion for the V8, and its fairly wide range does what it can to help fuel economy. But the fact is that you'll pay to keep the LR4 in fuel. And with just six gears, the LR4's automatic is falling behind much of the competition that now features seven- and eight-speed transmissions.
As most LR4s will spend the bulk of their time on the pavement, we're less enamored of the effect this SUV's off-road-oriented high center of gravity has on handling; most competing luxury crossovers feel more secure going around corners. Still, a surprisingly compact turning circle and quick steering let the LR4 deal well with everyday errands and parking, while the ride is always supple and calm. When and if you do take to the trails, there's not much better than a Land Rover.