Full 2014 Land Rover LR4 Review
What's New for 2014
The biggest change to the 2014 Land Rover LR4 is a new powertrain featuring a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The LR4's previous V8 has been discontinued. There's also a revised four-wheel-drive system with a simpler single-speed transfer case (the traditional two-speed version is now optional). A Meridian audio system and a rearview camera are now standard as well, and a blind spot warning system has been added to the options list. You'll also notice slightly updated front-end styling.
Though not as well known as some other top-tier luxury SUVs from Germany or Japan, the Land Rover LR4 has ranked highly in our book since its debut back in 2010. With a rich-looking interior, strong V8 power, available third-row seating and advanced off-road capability, the LR4 is a more utilitarian (and less expensive) companion to the flagship Range Rover. Now for 2014, this luxury SUV gets a number of significant revisions that bring it up to date without diminishing any of its desirable attributes.
The most noteworthy of those changes is underneath the LR4's hood. With an eye toward fuel economy, Land Rover has replaced the LR4's previous 5.0-liter V8 with a new 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine. The V6 isn't as powerful as the V8, but it still generates a respectable 340 horsepower and is paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission (the V8 only had a six-speed). These changes boost the Land Rover LR4's fuel economy numbers, and they're now more comparable to similarly powered, four-wheel-drive luxury SUV competitors.
Given the reality that most LR4 owners rarely leave the pavement, the four-wheel-drive system now comes standard with a less elaborate single-speed transfer case and Land Rover's useful Terrain Response system. Thankfully, an off-road-friendly two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing remains optional for those buyers interested in putting the LR4's reputation as a go-anywhere expedition vehicle to the test. Other new features include an available blind spot monitoring system, a standard rearview camera and updated audio systems. As before, buyers can stick with the standard five-seat interior or add an optional third-row seat that bumps passenger capacity to seven.
While it's hard to find serious flaws with this updated LR4, shoppers who don't plan on leaving the pavement may want to have a look at competitors like the well-rounded Acura MDX, the sporty BMW X5 or the larger Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. The Lexus GX 460, meanwhile, comes closest to the LR4's off-road capability. All of these SUVs are solid candidates, but the 2014 Land Rover LR4 stacks up nicely in most respects. It's a smart, if often overlooked choice for a luxurious and capable seven-passenger SUV.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Land Rover LR4 is a midsize luxury SUV offered in a single trim level. Five-passenger seating is standard, but an optional third-row seat increases capacity to seven.
The list of standard features starts with 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive air suspension, foglights, rain-sensing wipers, heated exterior mirrors, a power front sunroof, rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors and keyless ignition and entry. Moving inside, you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an 11-speaker Meridian audio system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio input jack.
The optional HSE package adds distinctive 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, front parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, a two-person third-row seat, rear-seat climate control and a navigation system with voice controls.
A stand-alone Climate Comfort option package bundles a heated windshield, heated windshield washer jets, heated front and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel.
The HSE Lux option package includes all the above plus upgraded leather upholstery and trim, a driver seat with power-adjustable side bolsters, driver memory settings, a power-adjustable steering wheel, interior ambient lighting, a center console cooler box and an upgraded 17-speaker Meridian surround-sound audio system.
Other stand-alone options include a Heavy-Duty package that includes the two-speed transfer case, a locking rear differential and a full-size spare tire. A Vision Assist package adds adaptive xenon headlights, automatic high-beam control, a 360-degree-view camera system and a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert. A Black Design package consists of blacked-out exterior trim and black 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels.
Finally, 20-inch alloy wheels, unique interior trim, the third-row seat package, the 17-speaker premium Meridian surround-sound audio system, satellite radio and a rear-seat entertainment system can all be had separately.
Powertrains and Performance
Power for the 2014 Land Rover LR4 comes from a new 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that produces 340 hp and 332 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Also standard is an auto stop-start function that shuts down the engine when you're stopped in traffic to save fuel. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 16 mpg combined (14 city/19 highway) -- not great numbers, but a definite improvement over last year's V8-powered LR4. Properly equipped, the LR4 can tow a healthy 7,700 pounds.
Full-time four-wheel drive is standard, but this year's revamped system features a simpler single-speed transfer case that's more efficient in everyday driving. If you plan to drive off-road, the traditional two-speed transfer case, which offers low-range gearing and a locking rear differential, is still available as part of the Heavy Duty option package.
With either setup, you get Land Rover's innovative Terrain Response system, which has a center-console-mounted knob that allows the driver to select from four standard settings (general, grass/gravel/snow, sand, and mud/ruts). Models equipped with the two-speed transfer case also get a fifth "rock crawl" setting. Each of these modes alters engine, transmission and suspension calibrations to allow the LR4 to tackle a wide variety of terrain. The LR4's electronically controlled air suspension also helps in this regard, with settings ranging from a lowered height that enables easy entry and exit to a fully raised position that maximizes ground clearance on particularly gnarly stretches of trail.
Standard safety features on the 2014 Land Rover LR4 include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control (with rollover mitigation technology and trailer stability assist), hill-descent control, hill start assist, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Passive safety measures include front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags that extend to cover the third-row seat on models so equipped. A blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert system and a 360-degree parking camera are optional.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Land Rover LR4 offers a classy yet functional cabin with high-quality materials, including soft leather and genuine walnut wood trim. Large windows and a front sunroof with rear skylights combine to give the interior a spacious feel.
Those large expanses of glass also provide the driver with excellent outward visibility. Passengers get to enjoy the view as well, thanks to raised stadium-style rear seats. There's generous legroom up front and a decent supply in back, plus headroom galore thanks to the tall roof. Five-passenger models also offer plenty of room for cargo, with 42 cubic feet available behind the second-row seats and a generous 90 cubic feet with those seatbacks folded down. When the optional third-row seat is in use, however, you'll have just 10 cubic feet behind it to load up groceries.
The LR4's touchscreen and optional navigation system work adequately, but compared with the newer electronic interfaces found in various competitors, the setup is a little dated, with slower response times and less streamlined menu structures.
While those with a heavy right foot may lament the passing of last year's gutsy 5.0-liter V8, most 2014 Land Rover LR4 buyers won't miss it. That's because the combination of the new 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission delivers more than enough grunt to handle most situations on or off the pavement.
On the road, the adjustable air suspension offers a smooth ride and decent composure around turns despite the vehicle's considerable curb weight and relatively high center of gravity. As you might expect, the Land Rover LR4 really shines brightest after you've left the civilized world far behind, thanks to its sophisticated four-wheel-drive system. Equipped with the optional low-range transfer case and locking rear differential, this luxury SUV will handle the wilds of Namibia as easily as it does the parking lot at Nordstrom.