Land Rover’s good-looking LR4 keeps its Jaguar 5-litre, direct injection V8 engine for 2012. At 375-horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque, the LR4 has 25 per cent more power and 19 per cent more torque than the previous LR3 model year, which makes it more nimble both on- and off road.
Other improvements include new suspension upgrades, revised steering, larger brakes, improved traction control and a more advanced Terrain Response system, which helps in adapting to Land Rover’s legendary off-road driving capabilities. Simply turn the dial on the centre console to select the terrain—grass, gravel, snow, sand, mud, ruts, or rock crawl—and the 4×4 display pops up on the instrument panel and LCD screen to indicate the wheel position and keep the vehicle on track.
Useful for smooth, controlled descent down difficult terrain, the new gradient release control system has an on-the-hill-descent feature that limits speeds on steep inclines by automatically holding the brake pressure after the pedal is released.
Additionally, the self-levelling air suspension can raise the ride height to almost 12.7 centimetres for extreme off-road use, and to as low as 5.08 centimetres for easy exit/entry and loading.
On the road
For everyday driving, the ride and on-road handling is better than previous models, because of the aforementioned upgrades, and something called CommandShift found in the vehicle’s new six-speed ZF automatic transmission.
CommandShift adapts to an individual’s driving style as well as road surface conditions to ensure silky smooth gear changes.
Considering the LR4’s 2,646-kilogram weight, acceleration is acceptable at zero to 100 kilometres in 7.6 seconds. Cornering is impressive, thanks to a fully independent suspension coupled with height adjustable air springs.
Updated interior features include a wider, heated leather-bound steering wheel, which incorporates audio, telephone, cruise control, new seats and a revised dashboard. There is room for up to seven passengers in the well-designed cabin, and up to 90 cubic feet of cargo space when the second and third row seats are flat. The front seats have extended seat cushions with height adjustable head-rests.
Push button starter is handy as is the keyless entry system.
The HSE Luxury package available for the LR4 includes mood lighting, a 480-watt Harman Kardon AM/FM CD changer with 14 speakers, a seven-seat comfort package and a surround five-camera system to cover every exterior angle. The interior is bright and airy thanks to three sun roofs with power tilt and slide option on the front only.
The 2012 Land Rover LR4 starts at $59,990.