The Land Rover LR4 is classic. A quick glance reveals the same boxy and evocative shape the LR3 and Discovery used before it. Its all-road abilities remain steadfast, key to the LR4s appeal. Interior appointments are better than ever. Powering the LR4 is a 5.0L V8 which makes the old Discovery, with its 4.0L 182-horsepower V8, feel like it’s standing still.
There’s no doubt the LR4 is a larger luxury sport-utility vehicle, and with this size and status come a whole host of more car-like rivals which cause the Land Rover to feel a little low-tech. At first.
The LR4 comes alive when the harmon/kardon stereo launches into Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue, when the big V8 propels you gently to highway speed like a smooth wave that never breaks. When you raise the suspension to avoid the basketball in your driveway. When you lower the suspension in pursuit of aerodynamics which might assist you in your quest for 13 mpg. When you handle a traffic jam by putting two of the Land Rover’s wheels up on the sidewalk, causing every other driveway to laugh at your audacity, just a little, before realizing they want one, too.
Yes, that’s when the LR4 comes alive, when, as an inanimate object, it manages to preternaturally acquire the confidence of one which knows other vehicles crave its cunning and competence.
Engines: 375 horsepower; 375 lb-ft of torque from a 5.0L V8
Base USD/CAD Price: $49,750 / $59,990
City Fuel Economy: 12 miles per gallon
It’s Not Perfect: You know what might be worse than the LR4’s 12 city miles per gallon? The LR4’s highway rating is a barely tolerable 17 miles per gallon. Oh, by the way, the LR4 drinks premium. And it’s not much of a handler: though capable in corners, many of the LR4s more successful rivals take corners like tall sports cars.
Sales Stats: Time was when the LR4’s predecessor, Land Rover’s Discovery, had few rivals to consider and just one in-showroom competitor. Now the LR4 must fend off numerous luxury crossovers (albeit in a larger market) as well as the Range Rover Sport, LR2, and the new Evoque. Sales dropped 59% from 2002 to 2010. Monthly and yearly sales figures for the LR4 can be viewed here.