You can trace a line of direct descent from the original world-conquering Land Rover to today’s Land Rover LR4, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t comfy. What do you need to know before you buy an LR4? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.
The Land Rover LR4 might be getting on in years–it was never hugely changed from the previous LR3, which debuted in 2004–but old doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Between its height-adjustable suspension, locking differentials, and all sorts of computer wizardry, it’s still more than capable in the muddy bits than almost anything else out there.
Of course, all the gadgetry in the world won’t save you if you don’t have the proper tires for the terrain, as the Internet and we personally can attest to. And much of that may not matter anyway, as the average LR4 driver is probably making the school run a hell of a lot more often than the desert run.
But even if you aren’t driving the Darien Gap, it’s nice to imagine that you can.
What It’s Like To Drive
Here are a sampling of words that definitely don’t come to mind when driving the LR4:
- Not Heavy At All
And that’s because the thing weighs over 5,600 pounds on a slim day. Throw in some people and some groceries, and you’ll be pushing three tons. For comparison, the Ford Explorer crossover weighs over 1,000 pounds less. And that’s because when you’re comparing how the crossover is built versus how the Land Rover is built, you’re comparing apples to oranges.
Or rather, one apple to two oranges, because the nearest way we can get to describing how the LR4 is structured is that it has two chassis. Land Rover calls it the “Integrated Body Frame,” and essentially, the passenger compartment and engine all sit in a monocoque, like in a normal car, and the suspension and drivetrain sit on top of a ladder frame, like a traditional truck.
Land Rover says that they did that for extra sturdiness when driving off-road, and make no mistake, the LR4 is still capable of plenty of that, if you really do want it.
But the result is a comfortable ride, without too much in the way of relative body roll, and the 340-horsepower supercharged V6 makes it sound a lot faster than it actually is.
Not that it’s disconcertingly slow, it’s just not that fast.
For driving around town it’s much like any standard family hauler. Quiet, comfortable, with plenty of room and lovely heated seats. The screen for the navigation and infotainment is a bit small, owing to the thing’s age, but that’s about it.
Offroad, however, the LR4 shines. It’s got specific settings for everything from rock crawling to mud ruts to sand to grass and snow, and suspension that can kneel itself like it’s getting knighted or can perch right upon its tippy-toes. The screen shows you which differentials are locked at any one time, which you can adjust automatically or manually, and that is just fine.
Even if you’re just pretending you’re Roald Amundsen driving through the world’s deepest layer of light flurries.
What’s New About The 2016 Land Rover LR4
The all-new 2010 Land Rover LR4, called the Discovery 4 outside of the U.S., was Tata Motor’s update to the then-aging “Ford parts bin” LR3. The new LR4 was built on the same platform as its predecessor (a platform that dates back to 2004), but brought with it new exterior styling, a completely new interior, an updated front suspension, a tweaked Terrain Response system and a new 5.0-liter V8 to replace the downright anemic 4.4-liter.
The next three years brought small changes, including small revisions to the Terrain Response system and new optional content for 2011, a tweaked audio system for 2012, and a few additional aesthetic interior and exterior options for 2013.
But 2014 saw significant changes to Land Rover’s giant seven-passenger luxury SUV. The 375 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 was replaced by a 340 horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with start/stop technology. Land Rover also made a new single-speed transfer case standard, and new driver’s assist tech became available, including Blind Spot Monitoring, Closing Vehicle Sensing and Rear Traffic Detection. The exterior got some design changes as well, with revised bumpers, headlights and fog lights. Additionally, a new Meridian sound system replaced the Harman Kardon unit, and a rear parking camera became standard content.
The following years saw few changes, with 2015 bring smartphone apps integration, standard side-steps and new wheels, and 2016 bringing a few updates to the infotainment system.
Land Rover offers one powertrain setup in the LR4: a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. That transmission sends power through either a single-speed electronic transfer case with Torsen mechanical center differential or an optional two-speed transfer box.
The two-speed transfer case gets an “infinitely variable locking center differential,” a rear locking differential and 2.93 low range gearing. That low range gearing helps the LR4’s off-road crawling capability.
The 340 horsepower from the V6 works against a tremendous base curb weight of 5,655 pounds to send the large SUV to 60 MPH in 7.7 seconds and to a top speed of 121 MPH.
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Engine Options
Engine Max Horsepower (hp) Max Torque (lb-ft) 3.0L
340 @ 6500 rpm
332 @ 3500 rpm
Fuel Economy Breakdown
As the LR4 has similar powertrain options as the Range Rover, one might expect to see similar fuel economy figures. In reality, though, the LR4 weighs about 700 pounds more than its stablemate, since it doesn’t incorporate the new aluminum-rich architecture that underpins the new Range Rover.
That additional heft comes at a major cost, as the LR4 only manages highway fuel economy in the teens and falls a full three MPG combined short of the Range Rover with the same powertrain setup.
Considering it’s 2016, 16 MPG combined is bad.
2016 Land Rover LR4 Fuel Economy Ratings (Cty/Hwy/Combined)
- 3.0L Supercharged V6 Automatic 15/19/16
Trim Level Breakdown
The Land Rover LR4 comes in three trims: base, HSE and HSE LUX. All trims come with full-time four-wheel drive (two-speed with rear locking diff is optional), a locking center differential, electric power steering, double wishbone suspension setups front and rear, and air suspension with various height settings. Brakes are 14.2 inches in the front and 13.8-inchers in the rear.
Ground clearance is 7.3-inches in standard mode and 9.5 in off-road mode. Approach angle is up to 36.2 degrees, departure angle is up to 29.6 degrees breakover angle is up to 27.3 degrees, and maximum water fording depth is 27.6 inches.
- Base: Starts at $50,400. Notable standard features: 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with start/stop, eight-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive with Terrain Response System and Hill Descent Control, 19-inch alloy wheels, rear park sensors, rearview camera, 380 watt 11-speaker audio system with Bluetooth integration, seven-inch infotainment touchscreen display, fog lamps, leather seats, sunroof, side steps, hill start assist, heated mirrors, automatic headlamps, push-button start, automatic dual-zone climate control. Notable options: Seven Seat Comfort Package: seven seats, rear climate control, front center console cooled cubby ($1,250); Heavy Duty Package: Two-speed transfer case, active rear locking differential, full-size spare ($1,350); Climate Comfort Package: heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, heated windscreen, heated windscreen washer nozzles ($1,500); Tow Package ($650); Satellite and HD radio ($750).
- HSE: Starts at $55,300. Notable standard features over Base: Xenon headlamps with LED signature lighting, unique 19-inch alloy wheels, Seven Seat Comfort Package, power folding mirrors, front Park Distance Control, navigation, passive entry. Notable options: Adaptive Cruise Control ($1,295); In-Control Smartphone integration ($425); Rear Seat Entertainment System ($2,500); Vision Assist Package: Surround Camera System, high beam assist, Blind Spot Monitoring with Closing Vehicle Sensing and Reverse Traffic Detection, Tow Hitch Assist and T-junction camera ($1,600); Heavy Duty Package ($1,350); Climate Comfort Package ($1,500); Tow Package ($650); Satellite and HD radio ($750).
- HSE LUX: Starts at $60,600. Notable standard features over HSE: Climate Comfort Package, 825-watt 17-speaker surround-sound audio system with subwoofer, memory for seat setting, power adjustable steering column with memory, memory for mirror setting, Windsor Leather seats, unique 19-inch alloy wheels, interior mood lighting, unique exterior trim. Notable options: Similar to HSE.
Which One We’d Buy
We’d recommend getting the HSE trim level with the Vision Assist package and the Climate Comfort package. The first because the bevy of cameras actually helps when getting through tight spots in traffic, and the latter because God hath wrought no greater comfort than a heated steering wheel on a cold day. With destination fee, we’d have to plunk down $59,395.
That’s really not all that bad for a well-appointed seven-passenger off-roader.
You don’t really need the HSE Lux model unless you really like interior mood lighting, for whatever reason.
Important Facts At A Glance:
MSRP: $50,400-$60,600 Top Speed: 121 MPH
Acceleration: 7.7s to 60
MPG: 15 city / 19 hwy / 16 combined
Engines: 3.0L Supercharged V6
Max Horsepower/Torque: 340 hp/332 lb-ft
Max Advertised Towing Capacity: 7,716 pounds
Curb Weight: 5,655 IIHS Safety Rating: Not Tested
Transmissions: 8-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front Engine, 4WD
Photo credit: Land Rover