Used 2016 Land Rover LR4 Review

Edmunds expert review

Though not without faults, the 2016 Land Rover LR4 offers expected off-road chops along with a top-notch interior and a standard supercharged V6.




What's new for 2016

The 2016 Land Rover LR4 gets minor paint and interior color changes and a new home screen for the infotainment system.

Vehicle overview

Authenticity is sought out these days, and few luxury SUVs are more authentic than the Land Rover LR4. Land Rover created its first SUV in 1948, the jungle-bashing Series I, and just a year later it created a leather-lined version. While it may not have been up to the modern-day LR4's standards (the heater was considered a luxury add-on), the die was cast. To this day, Land Rovers give their occupants the ability to traverse third-world terrain in first-world comfort.

The LR4 (known as the Discovery in other markets) continues to be a key player for the brand, with seating for up to seven adults and a powerful supercharged V6 engine. And while Land Rover's Range Rover line may occupy a higher price bracket, the LR4 gives away nothing in terms of amenities, with a high-end interior swathed in rich materials.

While we find the LR4 incredibly appealing, potential buyers should ask themselves if they really need the back-country capability. The LR4's off-road ability comes courtesy of hard-core hardware, and all that equipment adds up to some serious heft. The LR4 weighs nearly 3 tons, a good thousand pounds more than a seven-seat Ford Explorer, and despite the valiant efforts of the supercharged V6 engine (which is more fuel-efficient than the V8 formerly found under the LR4's hood), that heft takes a toll on gas mileage, acceleration  and on-pavement maneuverability.

There are plenty of three-row SUVs that are just as posh and less ponderous. The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is the first to spring to mind, though it is more expensive. One should also consider the Acura MDX and the Infiniti QX60. They have less interior room but boast a significantly lower price. If off-road chops are what you really need, the Lexus GX 460 and Land Rover's own Range Rover Sport are good alternatives, though they are more cramped inside. But if what you really need is a spacious high-lux SUV that can crawl through terrain that it would be difficult to walk over — and really, who isn't looking for that? — then the Land Rover LR4 is the real deal.




Trim levels & features

The 2016 Land Rover LR4 is a midsize luxury SUV offered in three trims: base, HSE and HSE Lux. Five-passenger seating is standard, and third-row seats are available.

Standard equipment on the base model includes 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive air suspension, front and rear foglights, automatic rain-sensing wipers, side steps, heated exterior mirrors, a power front sunroof, fixed rear "Alpine" sunroof and rear parking sensors. 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, a Homelink universal remote, and an 11-speaker Meridian audio system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 7 Seat Comfort package adds rear climate controls and a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat that includes extra map lights and an extension of the side curtain airbags. The Climate Comfort package bundles a heated windshield, heated windshield washer jets, heated front- and second-row seats and a heated steering wheel. Other stand-alone options (offered on all LR4 trims) include a towing package, satellite radio, a Heavy Duty package (includes a two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential and full-size alloy spare wheel), metallic paint and upgraded wheels.

Going to the LR4 HSE brings different 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED running lights, headlight washers, front parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a navigation system, voice controls and the 7 Seat Comfort package. The Climate Comfort package from the base model is offered on the HSE, as is a Vision Assist package (adaptive headlights with automatic high-beams, a 360-degree-view camera system and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert), a premium 17-speaker Meridian surround-sound stereo, adaptive cruise control, connected in-car apps and a rear-seat entertainment system.

At the top of the LR4 lineup is HSE Lux, which incorporates all of the HSE's standard features plus the Climate Comfort package and adds unique 19-inch alloy wheels, upgraded leather upholstery and trim, power-adjustable side bolsters and memory settings for the driver seat, a power-adjustable steering wheel, interior ambient lighting, a center console cooler box and an upgraded 17-speaker surround-sound stereo (the same one offered as an option on the HSE). The HSE Lux can be ordered with the Vision Assistance package, rear-seat entertainment system, adaptive cruise control and infotainment apps.



Performance & mpg

Every 2016 Land Rover LR4 is powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that produces 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels. Also standard is an auto stop-start function that shuts down the engine to conserve fuel when you're stopped in traffic. In Edmunds testing, the LR4 accelerated to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is an average time for its class.

The EPA estimates fuel economy for the 2015 LR4 at just 16 mpg combined (15 city/19 highway). This figure is a little lower than average for this class, although it's comparable to competitors' V8 models with similar horsepower. (Bear in mind that the LR4 uses premium fuel.) Properly equipped, the LR4 can tow a healthy 7,700 pounds.

Full-time four-wheel drive with a single-speed transfer case is standard for all LR4s. For those who plan to partake in particularly challenging off-road driving, the LR4's 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.

Both AWD systems are governed by Land Rover's Terrain Response system that helps optimize performance via a center-console-mounted knob that allows you to toggle among 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.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2016 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, as is adaptive cruise control that will not fully brake the LR4 to a stop but will initiate braking if the system determines closing speeds are unsafe.

In Edmunds brake testing, the LR4 consistently came to a stop in 123 feet from 60 mph, which is a good result for an SUV of this size. Though there was significant nosedive, it remained controllable and composed.

Driving

This is a heavy vehicle and it drives that way. All that heft makes the LR4 feel very planted and secure, but it also makes the supercharged V6 work hard to get it going. The engine has fine responses, and the superb shifting from the eight-speed automatic transmission means the LR4 driver always has power at the ready, which is just what we expect from a premium vehicle.

The adjustable air suspension rounds off the corners of even the nastiest potholes and does its best to keep the body fairly level during cornering. The stability control steps in long before drivers come close to finding the LR4's handling limits, but it's a gentle intervention that keeps the vehicle on its intended path.

Thanks to its sophisticated four-wheel-drive system, the Land Rover LR4 shines brightest after you've left the pavement. The LR4 makes off-roading easy, and when equipped with the optional low-range transfer case and locking rear differential, this luxury SUV will handle off-road trails as well as any Jeep. If you take your SUV off the beaten path often, this is one of the best you can buy.

Interior

Cool and austere, the 2016 LR4's interior is almost Scandinavian in the way it melds a simple design with high-quality materials. This isn't the interior you want if you like to wow the neighbors with buttons and gadgets. Everything in the LR4's cabin is subdued in an effort to avoid distraction while maximizing functionality.

Not that there's a complete lack of gadgets. The interior's signature feature is the polished rotary-knob transmission shifter that automatically rises from the center console as you enter the LR4. It's the highlight of a center console dominated by simple round knobs to manage the infotainment and climate control, all of which support the overall minimalist cabin motif.

The LR4's touchscreen and optional navigation system work well enough, but compared with the newer interfaces found in various competitors, the setup still seems dated, with slower response times and less streamlined menu structures. Nor will you find the touchscreen's total surface area on par with the almost shockingly large screens found in many of the latest-and-greatest luxury vehicles.

One of the LR4's most noticeable interior traits is the exceptionally upright position of the front seats. You sit regally upright without the need to extend your legs forward, and it highlights the outstanding headroom provided by the LR4's tall roof line. There are also good sight lines through the upright windshield and large side windows, including novel rear "Alpine roof" skylights that bring in more daylight for those in the backseats.

Folding the adult-friendly third-row seat takes a little practice, but once it's down, there's a spacious 42 cubic feet left behind. Folding both rear rows down yields a generous 90 cubic feet. With all rows in place, storage space is a small 10 cubic feet, which is typical for a seven-seater of this size. The air suspension provides an "Access" mode that drops the ride height, making for easier loading and ingress/egress.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.