Written by: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography by: Stephen Spyropoulos
As an automotive journalist, I get to test the latest and greatest cars on the market. While most of the time I am matched with mainstream consumer cars, on the rare occasion I’m given the opportunity to test a distinguished automotive icon. The Land Rover LR4 is one such icon that can trace its lineage over 25 years of safari-ready and purpose-built SUVs that have the ability to wade through rivers, tackle immensely tough terrain, and still maintain a sense of luxury. Sure, you can probably get a similar experience with a Jeep Wrangler and most are fine to do so, but with a Land Rover, you know you can tackle anything and still look presentable at your dinner party.
I like to think of the LR4, called the Discovery in Europe, as the little brother of the famed Land Rover Defender’s. But don’t be fooled by my choice of words. Weighing in at over 2,500 kg this LR4 is not little by any means. When I picked up the keys to the 2016 Montalcino Red LR4, my editor had warned me to adjust my normal driving habits with this car. With the LR4, you feel the overflow of weight with every move: braking, accelerating and cornering. In fact, the greatest piece of advice I heard during my test week was “slow in and slow out”. Driving like you are piloting an 18-wheeler and giving plenty of room between you and other vehicles will ensure that you won’t have to be calling CAA and telling them you have accidentally parked your LR4 on its side.
Outside, the Land Rover LR4 retains the updated styling cues from its fellow Land Rover cousins, retaining a slick and contemporary design language. The daytime LED running lights are a wonder to look at, and actually does wonders to enhance the front end a step further.
Keeners will note that this generation of LR4 is different than the last few model years. Gone is the old V-8 engine and 6-speed gearbox in favour of the tried and true 3.0-litre supercharged V-6 and a very smooth shifting ZF 8-speed automatic. This is Jaguar Land Rover’s latest attempt at following the automotive trend of downsizing the vehicle’s engine displacement and cylinder count and adding in a form of forced induction, thus saving weight and increasing fuel economy.
The old V-8 engine brought 375 horsepower out of the 5.0-litre mill while this V-6 only manages to pump out 340 horsepower. Torque is also down from 375 lb-ft to 332 lb-ft, but not all is lost.
In town, the LR4 maintains a very quiet cabin atmosphere and the throttle response of the car just makes you wonder if all of that premium fuel is being turned into silky smooth whipped cream right before it is fed to the engine. This LR4 also retains a sense of superiority on any road. The height at which you sit makes you feel like the big guy on campus. The LR4 is not a track beast or corner carver by any means but once you leave the pavement, you can take the Land Rover experience to the next level.
Simply by pressing a switch to alter the adjustable air suspension, you can raise the vehicle an additional 100mm in order to clear impending obstacles. It can also be lowered to allow easy access for passengers or loading luggage. You are still able to drive around at these altered heights but only up until 30 km/h, where the systems will take over and raise it back to the normal ride height.
Interior wise, the LR4 retains the outstanding quality found in its Range Rover model brethren. Leather and soft materials are abundant and the top of the steering wheel is fitted with a gloss wood finish – a highly recommended option at $500. There’s adequate space for even the tallest passengers—even in the third row. Most automakers seem to ignore the comfort of these third row passengers, but not Land Rover. Even for someone like me who is over 6 feet tall, I was completely shocked that I was able to fit comfortably in this neglected row. The driver and front passenger seats are also worth noting - they are extremely comfortable and I could imagine myself taking a very long trip without fatiguing.
Updated for 2016 is the Technology Package for the LR4, with an updated media infotainment screen and new buttons. This is where my only real gripe with the LR4 stems from. Compared to others in this segment, the response time between my input and the computers response was laggy. I also found that the Satellite radio system had difficulties with keeping its signal. But when you feed Bluetooth or a USB connected iPod to the sound system, you’re in for a treat. The Meridian sound system delivers crisp highs, powerful bass and a very delicious mid range to give any audiophile a very pleasurable listening experience. For such a large cabin, I never found the sound system to sound echoey or overpowering. In the words of Goldilocks herself, it was just right.
On this test car, I also had the Vision Assist Package, which is an additional $2,100. Included in this package is the addition of four cameras as well as the already standard rear view camera. All five cameras can be viewed at the same time to give you a virtual 360-degree view of the LR4’s surroundings, which is great to assist with lane position and for clearance around obstacles. With a large vehicle such as this one, this option is a must if you want to save the sweet paint job or the fantastic 20-inch wheels from a workshop nightmare. My only wish was that the camera resolution was a bit higher.
Here in North America, it is unfortunate that the only terrain that Land Rover owners actually tackle is the mall parking lot. For the proud select few that venture on the beaten path, the Land Rover is a fantastic choice if you can swing the premium price tag. As tested, my LR4 tops out at just over $81,000.
I usually like to get someone who is not really into cars to have a guess at the car’s price tag. Usually my friends and colleagues are good at estimating, but everyone seemed to ballpark this LR4 at $100,000. Some even thought it was a Range Rover. If that is not a testament to the look and feel of the interior and the overall bang-for-your buck, I do not know what is.
While $81,000 is enough to put a kid through med school with a Honda Civic on the side, if you consider that you are getting a proven off-road machine that just so happens to be an automotive icon, I’d say the LR4 is definitely worth looking at. Browse leasing options if you are worried about long-term reliability or depreciation. The base model LR4 can be had starting at $59,990, but I would not take the LR4 in anything other than this HSE Luxury trim. It is everything you could ever want from an off-roader, and then some.
型号 Model: 2016 Land Rover LR4 HSE Luxury
顏色 Paint Type: Montalcino Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $72,990
試車售價 Price as Tested: $79,515
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,885
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,829 / 2,053 / 1,887
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,565
引擎 Engine: 3.0L Supercharged V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 340 hp @ 6,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 332 lb-ft @ 3,500 - 5,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Air sprung independent wishbone
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Air sprung independent wishbone
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: 360mm vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: 350mm vented disc
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined )- L/100 km: 16.2 / 12.1 / 14.3
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Zero; 255/50R20
Build & Price: 2016 Land Rover LR4