Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan
Land Rovers; they look good, drive brilliantly, and can master any terrain whether it snow, grass, or sand. But how many customers are realistically taking these utilitarians off-road? The unfortunate aspect of the LR4 is that the buyers never exploit its full potential.
Furthermore, the main reason we refrain from buying an LR4 is because we would spend more time at the gas pump than actually driving the damned thing, and yes, it needs premium fuel. Luckily, Land Rover has acknowledged this fuel obstacle and are finding ways to urbanize these thirsty monsters. And following in the footsteps of Jaguar and BMW, the first step was to downsize the engine.
The 5.0-liter V-8 that powered the 2013 LR4 is now scraps and is being replaced by a smaller and lighter 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that is also found in the Jaguar XF and XJ AWD models. Step two; the LR4 now comes standard with a single-speed transfer case - what city driver needs low gear ratios? The two-speed transfer case is still an option. Step three; the LR4 comes equipped with the ubiquitous ECO Start/Stop function that disconnects the engine at a full-stop in an attempt to save fuel.
We decided put the new 2014 Land Rover LR4 HSE to the test and ultimately see how much the LR4 has truly been urbanized. Is it a civil everyday vehicle that claims to keep that wallet (relatively) full, or is it a boxy re-branded Discovery with a drinking problem?
Keeping its heritage looks and anti-aerodynamic boxy styling, the LR4/Discovery (and the Mercedes G-wagon) is a prime example of "if it works, why change it"? A new front bumper, grille, LED headlights and side mirrors set this 2014 LR4 apart from its outgoing 2013 counterpart. Lodged next to the fender grille is an "SCV6" badge, a small reminder of the shrunken engine perched underneath the hood.
Contrary to what you might think, the LR4 is incredibly easy to park, even with its size. Look out the side mirrors and you will see no curves - just a straight, linear frame that fits into any parking spot like a game of Operation.
Just a side note, the LR2 is to Freelander as the LR4 is to Discovery. It is marketed in North America as the LR4. Cross the ocean and it is branded as the Discovery, hence why you will see different badges on the front hood depending on your location.
Fitted with an aluminum-alloy 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that delivers 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, it propels the gargantuan from 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds (the old 2013 LR4 did it in 6.6 seconds) - slight tradeoffs for better fuel economy. Think of the trees.
In spite of the downsize, the V-6 delivers power instantaneously, and the sound of the supercharger never gets old. The soulful roar of the V-8 will be missed, but we start to forget about it once we see how much heavier our wallet has gotten.
The old 6-speed automatic is now replaced by the widespread 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF. Paddle shifters are equipped on the wheel, but only function when switched to Sport mode.
When we tested the old Land Rover Discovery back in 2000, they left warning labels on the armrests that reminded us not to turn too fast around corners. They were afraid the boxy thing might tip over. Fortunately, the LR4 is equipped with a four-corner electronic air suspension that keeps the vehicle balanced in cornering. Oh, and no need to avoid those potholes anymore - your buttocks will not feel a thing.
Down to the real question, how is the fuel economy? Land Rover claims it nets 14.5 L/100km city and 9.9 L/100km highway (the 2013 model gets 17.1 city and 11.6 highway). After a week of conservative driving on both city roads and highways, we averaged an impressive 15.5 L/100km. Relatively not bad, but heavy-footed drivers will easily ramp the numbers up to 18-20. While it is still an improvement, it is hardly practical when compared to a Mercedes GL-class or Lexus GX-series. Fortunately, the LR4 is fitted with a huge fuel tank, 86.3 liters to be exact. Expect a premium fill-up to cost you north of $110.
Climb up into the LR4 interior (and I literally mean climb - watch those arthritic knees) and indulge in the automotive cologne we like to call, leather. The seats are top-notch and the steering wheel feels great - both are heated too.
What Land Rover would it be without an optional fridge in the center console as well? Be wary, it only fits small soda cans.
One of the first things you will notice, especially if you have never been in a Land Rover before, is the high sitting position. Similar to a pick-up truck, this commanding view allows for a panoramic range of vision and instills the pride of being King of the Hill. Those Touraregs in front of me started to look like Beetles, punch buggy no punch-backs.
The LR4 houses three rows of seats, each progressively sitting higher than the row in front - makes for better views and less claustrophobia. Each row also has its own sunroof and storage compartments, giving each row a sense of comfort rather than chore. Being six feet, I was surprised with the copious amounts of leftover headroom and legroom when sitting in the third row.
The tetris L-shaped tailgates are split and can be opened independently, but do not expect a lot of trunk space if the third row is up, but hey at least it is more than the 2014 Range Rover Sport.
The LR4 is equipped with a myriad of technology, from Blindspot Detection to Park Assist sensors. The LR4 comes standard with a 380w 8-speaker Meridian sound system, with an optional 825w 17-speaker Meridian system for those audiophiles out there.
The outdated Jaguar/Land Rover infotainment interface has made its way into the LR4. Unlike the 2013 Range Rover, we still have manual button controls for heated seats and audio selection.
Catch sight of the five cameras embedded into the LR4, two on each side mirror, two in the front and one in the rear. They can all be viewed and zoomed-in on the touch-screen display, and unlike the BMW 7-series where the camera displays disappear at a certain speed, these ones stay on at any speed. Too bad there is no video recording option, or we would have many submissions to Youtube Car Fails and R̶u̶s̶s̶i̶a̶n̶ Canadian Dashcams.
While slightly rehabilitated from a V-8 drinking habit, the improved fuel economy is still miles away from the competition. However, for those appetites that crave a high-riding off-road machine, why spend an extra $50,000 for a Range Rover when the LR4 gives you the whole package? Well, unless you want the street-cred.
型号 Model: 2014 Land Rover LR4 HSE
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $63,590
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2885
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4829 / 2176 / 1882
引擎 Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V-6
最大馬力 Horsepower-HP: 340 / 6500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque-LB-FT: 332 / 3500-5000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed ZF automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Independent, pneumatic, double wishbone
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Independent, pneumatic, double wishbone
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Disc
循跡操控系统 ABS/Traction Control: Standard
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway)- L/100 km: 14.5 / 9.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P255/55R19