Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan
Like a new Rolex wristwatch or a pair of Ray-Bans, the Land Rover LR4 bears an iconic and timeless design that never seems to fade in fashion. Being an able-bodied full-size, three-row SUV, its got the ability to comfortably haul seven passengers through any terrain you might come across. Whether it be a forest, a mountain, or a jam-packed Costco parking lot, the LR4 has got you covered. The LR4 not only looks rugged and durable, but it also gets the job done without any compromise to luxury or functionality. So much so that it exudes an overwhelming sense of adventure and wanderlust. The motto of the LR4? Take anyone, anywhere.
Okay we made up that last part, but it’s true. No other SUV in the Land Rover lineup offers this much storage and seating capability. There’s the Range Rover Sport but that’s been plagued with a cramped third row, and the kingpin Range doesn’t even offer seating for more than five!
So where exactly does it fall in the spectrum? Well, it’s easier to think of the LR4 as the skeleton of a Range Rover without the blankets of cow sewed onto every surface. Plastic panels and only a mild prescence of leather won’t get your opulent juices flowing, but the LR4 has got everything you’d expect from a grand off-roading vehicle: a height-adjustable air suspension, five driving modes, a standard 4WD system with a single speed transfer case (a two-speed is optional - $600), 3,500kg towing capacity, 310mm of ground clearance, 20-inch wheels, and a whopping 2,558L of cargo room with the second and third row seats folded down.
“How do you like driving your new box?” coworkers would ask me. The LR4 is certainly more practical than its counterparts, though those boxy looks are bound to turn some people off – the same people that think the Honda Element and Nissan Cube are atrocious. It’s easy to hate on the four-cornered quadratic design until you realize how much trunk space is freed up when there’s no sloping roofline. There’s none of that fancy bling here from the Range, and none of that cutesy Evoque-cut styling from the Discovery Sport either. The LR4 sports a serious demeanor and an archetypal Land Rover design - an honest tribute to the styling of the original 1989 Discovery.
The interior hasn’t changed much either but photographs don’t do it any justice. It’s hard to explain how quiet and comfortable the LR4 really is. First off, you sit so high up that it seems like you’ve got a bird’s eye view of the road ahead. The amount of headroom is just staggering – even tall passengers will find enough wiggle room so their meticulously styled hair doesn’t get messed up.
In fact, each of the three rows in the LR4 are extremely comfortable and spacious, yes even the dreaded third row. Graced with a three-panel sunroof, remarkably large windows, and stadium seating, the LR4 creates a sensation of roominess with its excellent natural lighting. Accessing the cargo bay is also slick thanks to the classic dual-panel split tailgate and highly configurable trunk space.
The LR4 continues to swaddle the front passengers in what I like to call, throne chairs. Due to the high-positioned seating, the armrests float at the same height as the massive door panel, allowing you to rest out your arms like a king and waft through the road ahead. Speaking of which, the LR4’s floaty suspension does an excellent job of soaking up potholes and little bumps that would normally cause your stiff Golf GTI to bounce around like a rodeo cowboy. The amount of interior insulation deserves praise as well – you barely hear a whiff of road or tire noise seeping through the panels.
For 2016, the LR4 receives only minor upgrades in the tech sector, mainly the slightly upgraded infotainment system with new buttons and menu screen. It feels a touch faster since the last time we’ve used it, but it’s still not up to par with others in the segment. The display screen is also too small and awkwardly angled upwards on the center stack, and the rear view camera resolution is poor.
The lack of a V8 engine under the hood might make you believe it’s an underpowered British crate, but the new supercharged V6 is potent enough to make you forget about the SUV’s blunt aerodynamics. Delivering 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque from as low as 3,500 rpm, the LR4 certainly is no slouch. Coupled with a smooth operating 8-speed transmission, it will quickly get up to speed even though it's a tad lethargic on downshifts. After a week behind the wheel, I certainly don’t find myself missing the V8, but hell, a diesel option would be nice here. I’d snatch up one of those in a jiffy if they finally decided to offer them in Canada.
Downsizing the engine has its merits though – the LR4 is no longer stuck in 20th century fuel economy numbers. We’ve been averaging around 15.1 L/100km with a heavier emphasis towards city driving. However, the LR4 also requires premium 91-octane fuel, but I can live with that.
The LR4 is the bulkiest child in the British family weighing in at a whopper-burger 2,500kg. That’s because mommy and daddy Land Rover haven’t enrolled it in the aluminum weight loss program, yet. Driving dynamics have been thrown out the window - take a corner too quickly and the resulting inertia will fling you to the wall. Certainly, the LR4 doesn’t have the athleticism of a BMW X5 or even a Range Rover, but we never expected it to. It’s much more of a traditional pound-for-pound SUV, where slow-in and slow-out around the bends is the best approach. Get used to the body dive and body roll. The brakes are also a bit soft, and I expected a little more bite.
Luckily, the LR4 was never designed for the track. The end of the paved road is where the Land Rover comes alive. The height-adjustable air suspension is capable of lowering the car by 50mm for loading passengers or cargo, and it can also be raised by 240mm for the most demanding off-roading conditions. You can also adjust the LR4’s suspension using the keyfob from outside the vehicle. It’s a neat little trick that comes in handy when washing the car or hooking up a trailer.
With the LR4’s splendid Terrain Response System, there are five driving modes to choose from if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation: general driving, grass/gravel/snow, sand, mud/ruts, and rock crawl (only with the $1,500 Heavy Duty Package), each tailored to your chosen topography. The LR4 also comes with a Hill Descent Control feature that automatically restricts downhill speeds and improves driver control when descending slopes.
There are three trim levels to choose from: base, HSE, and HSE Luxury. Our specific test car was equipped with the latter, and stretched up to an as-tested price just shy of $80,000 – the cost of a bare-bone Range Rover Sport. It’s hard to justify the top-end HSE Luxury trim though, there are too many options equipped that you won’t need or require, maybe except that stellar 825-watt 17-speaker Meridian Sound System.
I’d be just as happy with the mid-level HSE trim ($64,990). It’s a savvy compromise of price and creature comforts such as heated seats, navigation, and grained leather. Slap on some 20-inch wheels and the optional Black Package ($3,500) that darkens the grills, side vents, mirror caps, door handles, roof rails, badges, and wheels, and you’ve got yourself a badass stygian tank. I’d skip the Rear Seat Entertainment System ($2,000) and the Vision Assist Package ($2,800) - parking this box isn’t as hard as you might think.
The LR4 remains a compelling choice when you compare it with the better-handling yet more expensive German SUV goliaths. Something about the LR4’s ageless design just feels right with me. Coupled with a competitive starting price tag of $59,990, seating for seven, and renowned off-roading capability, it sets the standard for flexibility in everyday driving. Beaten trail or highway cruise, the LR4 will waft its way through any terrain like it has been for the past 26 years.
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