By on August 30, 2013

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My friends and neighbors have gotten used to the sight of a variety of brand new and nicely equipped cars that periodically show up on my driveway. They know that many (most? all?) of them are beyond my own means to own or lease so a frequent question I’m asked is, “who would buy that car?” Who would buy a 2013 Land Rover LR4? A snarky answer would be nobody, since it’s a safe bet that most of the 600 or so new LR4s that get delivered every month in North America are leased, but my guess is that the typical buyers are affluent suburban families with children and maybe a vacation home on an unpaved road. Who else would drive a 7 passenger luxury SUV?

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With permanent seating for five adults and two flip up seats in the back, which could be used to transport grown ups if needed but are really more suited to car pooling kids to school, the LR4 will likely be used mostly as a mommymobile. Once mom does flip up those far back seats, she’s probably going to want to leave them up unless she needs the cargo space because they’re a bit of a PITA to put up or down. Speaking of things that are awkward, the clamshell rear end, with both a short lift gate and an actual tail gate may be a bit of a Land Rover styling signature, but the tail gate, with its asymmetrical cutout that lets you get closer to the cargo hold, still makes for a long reach when getting things in and out of the back.

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How most LR4s will be used most of the time will be nowhere near their capabilities. The LR4 has got the equipment and features to be a very competent off-road vehicle, but the simple fact is that most LR4s will likely never leave pavement. If they do it will be down a gravel driveway or two-track to a summer home.

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The LR4 comes with what Land Rover calls “permanent four wheel drive with traction control”, a two-speed transfer case, a locking center differential, LR’s five position “Terrain Response System” that lets you select an appropriate mode for a variety of unpaved surfaces, hill descent control, and fully independent suspension with electronically controlled air springs that automatically levels the car in response to load conditions and has an off-road setting that increases ground clearance by about 2.5 inches from the normal 7.3″ ride height. Should you take it off-road, the undercarriage is protected by skid plates. My suspicion, though, is that if a typical LR4 driver uses any of those features, it will be about 1% of the time. In addition to the off-road and normal ride heights, there is also an “access level” setting, that drops the truck’s body a couple of inches, to make ingress and egress easier. It can also be locked in that position (low speeds only, if you go too fast with the body raised or lowered, the LR4 will automatically return to normal ride height) for dealing with parking structures that have low clearance. It seems to me that in regular use, the three position switch will rarely, if ever, go into the raised position. It also seems to me that the typical driver will appreciate the fact that the driver’s seat automatically lowers itself and the power adjusted steering wheel is lifted out of the way as you prepare to exit the vehicle.

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That capable air suspension may not end up getting a workout in the boonies but it is wonderful for driving around the frost heaved and financially distressed Detroit area roads where I live. I even started looking for low curbs and potholes to run over, to marvel at how the Land Rover just soaks up road irregularities. There’s a road not far from my home where the asphalt has been beaten into an oscillating mess. The road surface discombobulates most cars at any speed. The LR4 handled the bumps with aplomb.

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Mom and kids will have a comfortable ride on the way to school. It also handles pretty well on pavement for a truck, and it is a truck. Land Rover calls the architecture “integrated body frame”. What that means is essentially a unibody structure welded to a traditional ladder frame. The LR4 is sturdy, but even with some aluminum body panels, it weighs more than 2 1/2 tons, 5,623 lbs to be exact. That’s about 400 pounds more than a Duesenberg Model J. Even when carpooling with little kids, a fully loaded LR4 will tip the scales at over 3 tons.

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Steering is precise and quick, if a bit lacking in feel. The LR4 has a remarkably tight turning radius for a vehicle of its size, 18.8 feet. By comparison, a Chrysler 300 sedan has a 19.4′ turning radius. At the steering wheel it’s just a bit over three turns lock to lock. Also, the LR4 is not as large as it seems. The LR4 is tall, wide and heavy, but it’s not that long, 191 inches, only about 2″ longer than a Toyota Camry, and since it’s designed to be able to climb over things like a Camry there’s not much overhang, particularly at the front of the truck. Add in the four wheel drive and various sophisticated drivetrain components and stability controls and the result is a fairly maneuverable SUV. It’s also not slow.  Zero to sixty times are stated as 7.5 seconds, which would have been considered quick in any other time than our horsepower addled age. The six speed automatic made by ZF worked flawlessly. You can shift it yourself if you want to, but it’s one of those bassakwards automanual gear selectors that have you push forward to go up a gear.

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I like the brakes. They are probably the best modulated brakes of cars I’ve driven recently. Considering the mass involved their performance was impressive, though I’d prefer a bit more initial bite. The one time I had to make an unexpected stop there was no drama.

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Again, this is a truck, not a crossover. You sit up high, with a commanding seating position. I could look F-150 and Silverado drivers pretty much in the eye. With a very square front end and the front wheels at the corners, you can easily see the front corners. It was very easy to place the LR4 on the road. Though the rear side windows that extend into the roof, a Land Rover styling cue, are a bit of an illusion since the view from the inside is masked, visibility to the rear is very good.

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I alluded to the affluence of the target audience of the LR4. The one I had, in Fuji white with a Black Design Package that replaces all chrome brightwork with very sharp looking glossy black trim, stickered out at $64,145, with about $15K worth of options. The 7 Seat LUX package is $9,225 and gets you nice power leather seats, power steering column, special black 19″ wheels, a fridge in the console, and a 17 speaker, 825 watt harman/kardon Logic 7 branded sound system. That package include both the HSE and Classic Comfort packages, which gives you multiple zone automatic climate control. The black on white color scheme looks fabulous, and people remarked about what a nice looking vehicle it is, but that glossy black trim will also set you back $3,500. If you want a rugged looking white vehicle with black trim but you don’t want to spend an additional $3,500, I believe that look is standard on the Ford E-150.

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Not only isn’t the LR4 cheap to buy, it’s not going to be cheap to drive. I had originally hoped to take the LR4 to The Mounds, a county owned off-road driving park north of Flint, Michigan. Press cars only come with one tank of gas, the 375 HP, 375 ft lbs, Jaguar V8 under the hood runs on premium gasoline.

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The LR4 comes with two glove boxes and a little storage cubby.

Still, it’s only about a 120 mile round trip and I did talk to the park director thinking that it’d be nice to try out the Land Rover in it’s intended habitat and maybe even do a story about The Mounds, which is unique enough that they get off-road enthusiasts from as far away as Texas. However, after the first quarter tank of gas returned 9.5 MPG, a figure I haven’t personally seen since I could buy gas for two-bits a gallon, I changed my plans. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever driven another car that got less than 10 over that kind of distance. My late father’s 1966 Olds 88 with a 425 big block and a 4 barrel carb got 11 MPG.

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Suspension pieces are the definition of beefy.

So I scotched that trip and instead used the LR4 the way it is likely to be used, driving around the suburbs, with an occasional highway trip or excursion into the city. I barely got over 200 miles range on the full tank, with an overall average of 12.9 MPG – compared to a combined EPA rating of 14. I’ll have to check my Jaguar reviews, but offhand I think the mileage that I got was even a bit worse than with the two XF Supercharged models I tested, and those have 470 HP.

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Skid plates standard

The LR4 is slated for a mid-cycle refreshment and spy pics have already been spotted of the car with revised headlamps. The current car is perfectly comfortable, even somewhat luxurious, certainly in its features, but while the utilitarian, mostly black plastic interior trim fits with the LR4′s off-road capabilities and credentials, and while the fit and finish is appropriate for a vehicle that expensive, it seems a bit spartan for $64,000 and, according to reports, the interior on the next Discovery/LR5 will also be upgraded as well. It’s not surprising that also being replaced is the thirsty Jaguar V8 . Instead the base engine will be the supercharged V6 introduced in the new Jaguar F Type. No word from Jaguar on whether or not a diesel will be available in North America.

Will it Zayde?

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Unlike the new fathers in the autoblogosphere, like our own Brendan Macaleer, or Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky, this is my second time around with small children. Once a week I babysit my 14 month old grandson, Aryeh Leib. When Jason does car reviews, he includes a “Will it baby?” assessment of how well that vehicle suits the needs of parents of small children, so with his gracious permission I’d like to introduce “Will it Zayde?” The access level setting on the air suspension (must remember to activate it before shutting everything down) does make it easier to get a baby laden car seat in and out of the back seat. I wouldn’t even try putting one in the way back. Putting a car seat in the car does have one hangup. The seat belt latches for the regular rear seats are mounted on hinged arms that retract into a recess to allow the seats to lie fully flat when folded. That makes buckling a child car seat into those seats a two hand task, one for lifting up the latch and the other to insert the buckle. Since you have to reach over the car seat to do that, it’s rather awkward.

In summary, other than the poor fuel economy, I liked the LR4. It’s comfortable, handles well for a truck and it is likely to get you there no matter the road conditions. It won’t be cheap to buy or own, but then that’s not likely to be a concern for someone willing to spend $64K on a station wagon to get the kids to school and mom to her yoga classes.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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88 Comments on “Review: 2013 Land Rover LR4...”


  • avatar
    crtfour

    Although obviously not the norm these days, I like body truck-based SUV’s that don’t have a sloping rear end and that you can actually haul stuff in and see out of. I’m glad to see that there are a few still being made.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Put a stout diesel motor in this car (even at the expense of taking a second longer to reach 60 mph) and this really would be good to go . . . for those folks who plan on driving off pavement on something rougher than gravel.

    For everyone else, it seems like a waste of money. I wonder how long Land Rover will continue to make an off-road vehicle this capable?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      A waste of money? For +95% of the population for at least 95% of the time, anything north of a Versa is a waste of money. Personally, I think its great that vehicles exist that are designed for more than the practical bare minimum.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Having driven a Versa, I have to disagree. Many of the improvements more expensive cars have over the Versa are used and usable.

        But serious off-road capability offered by the LR4 is just not used. I mean you could have any one of a number of nicely turned out “cross-overs” otherwise just as nice that lack the LR4′s capabilities, which would never be missed. Say, for example, the X5.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          And an X5 will get MUCH better fuel economy.

          If ever there was a vehicle CRYING for a diesel, this is it. My friends with the even bigger and heavier Mercedes GL diesel are getting low 20′s around town. BUT, the fuel economy is not really any worse than a V8 Grand Cherokee when driven by a lead footed yummy-mummy, she was getting *15* in one of those prior to the Benz.

          • 0 avatar
            wei

            this car really needs to be with a diesel engine (at which point it makes a lot more sense). in my country, this is sold as a “Discovery 4″, and it’s *only* available with the diesel engine, no petrol option.

  • avatar
    tooloud10

    I’m currently in the market for an LR3 or LR4. They’re really fabulous vehicles that don’t get a lot of credit. I was sold on one the minute I saw how all five rear seats fold completely flat when you want to haul large items. Also, that split rear door that many people complain about works very well on my current X5–yes, you have to reach over the lower portion to get things in and out, but it keeps the groceries from rolling out when you open the tailgate, too.

    I was considering a Tahoe/Suburban, but after seeing the ridiculousness of the rear seats (they fold down but you have to manually remove them like an ’80s minivan), I’m not sure it’s the right vehicle for me.

    I know the Land Rover reliability isn’t great, but I’m hoping that maybe the LR4 is better than the LR3. It’s not a dealbreaker for me, though.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      I was in a similar situation. Had a Mercedes ML, but wanted something more useful and a 7-seater. Was also considering a Tahoe. I ended up getting an LR3 a year ago and couldn’t be happier. We’ve had it loaded to the gills on multiple occasions with mountain bikes, camping gear, dogs….we’ve even camped in the back of it. Plenty of room for everything! Plus, if you’re into trail riding it’s a blast. Mine has been very reliable as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        Wow – those are two of the cars with the lowest reliability scores on the market. You might be bored by the Tahoe reliability, or miss your free coffee at the dealer’s service bay.

        • 0 avatar

          Or he just might have gotten a good one. Even the least reliable cars built today are quite reliable compared to those from a few years back.

          According to JD Power’s web site, Land Rover LR4 reliability is three out of five stars, or about average.

          D

        • 0 avatar
          crtfour

          I didn’t have a single problem with the ML either. Luckily I’ve never tried the coffee at either dealership!

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          Two things, one, you don’t buy a Land Rover for it’s reliability, for that you buy a Toyota. Two, Tata’s ownership of LR has brought about vast improvements in reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      I think the 07-10 Explorer V8 is perfect in this regard.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      I was stalking Disco’s & LR3’s last year. Ended up with a 4runner, go figure. Do some homework before buying, I think the general rule is the LR4 is much improved over the LR3 in reliability, etc. I’m still waiting for that dirt cheap Disco to turn into a camp truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendon from Canada

      Reliability is hit and miss. I’m on year 5 over LR3 ownership (bought an ’06 in 2008), and so far nothing major on the reliability front. We have a diff replacement coming for which I’m just waiting on cheaper parts (rebuilt diffs are currently en-route from SA), however the diff has been making noise for almost 1.5 years, so I’m not too worried. Total replacement cost is about $1k for the diff – only a few hundred worse then brakes (which are enormous!).

      Otherwise, it’s been a remarkably reliable vehicle. Fuel efficiency isn’t great, but no where near 9.5MPG average…. closer to 17.5MPG avg for us ~13.5l/100k here in Canada ;-) …

      PS – I’m suspecting the diff may be related to my wife being hit 2 years ago while crossing an intersection – she was t-boned by an F150 doing roughly 45 MPH who blew a red light. She was hit squarely in the A pillar, and while the F150 was a write off, she was able to limp the LR3 off the road at the request of the cops when they showed up. I arrived 15 minutes later in a 3 series coupe and the cop informed my wife that she’d likely be dead if she’d taken my car that morning (she wound up in physiotherapy for a painful hip, so didn’t survive completely unscathed).

      All in all, will only trade this one in for an LR4 at some point….

      • 0 avatar
        dartman

        Your cop doesn’t know what he’s talking about…2 months ago , my wife was t-boned by an E350 (1 ton Ford Van) that looked exactly like the E150 pictured in the article, same situation, guy blew thru a red light and hit her 2009 328i dead center driver’s door. Airbags all deployed, BMW Assist (like Onstar) immediately called 911 and stayed on line with the wife until help arrived. My wife walked away, but has been having some physiotherapy for shoulder pain, lots of bruises on left side. My cop said in his experience most newer BMW’s hold up well in bad accidents protecting the occupants. Car was totaled, and we were so impressed I bought a replacement CPO 2011 335i…

    • 0 avatar

      Have you considered a previous-gen Pathfinder? I bought one 9 months ago when they were blowing out the last of the 2012′s. Truck based, seat folds flat, and the glass opens separately if you don’t want to open the tailgate.

      I love Land Rovers/Range Rovers, and I could probably afford one if I stretched, but I couldn’t justify spending a bunch of extra money for British heritage, especially when coupled with British reliability. I paid less for my Pathfinder new than a clean used LR/RR would sell for, and I bet it’s got 95% of the features. OK, maybe 90% – the wood interior trim is fake, and not even a very good fake.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I’m torn because so much of this car is the stout running gear and actual off-road prowess, for which I applaud Land Rover for not diluting their brand too much.

    OTOH, similar money gets a Mercedes GL with an available diesel, also body-on-frame*, and decent towing and offroad prowess. I guess that’s the main competition here.

    But for that kind of money, are any of these drivers going offroad? Think of the scratches and voided warranties!

    Plus it doesn’t help that it looks just like an overgrown LR3.

    *EDIT: I believe the GL was body on frame until a few years ago, probably unibody now since it comes off the same line as the ML (which also used to be BOF?)

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They just renamed it LR4, it’s not a totally new car.

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        So they’re following the standard auto industry trend of “confusion for confusion’s sake”

        I still miss the Freelander and Discovery names…

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The quality–or lack thereof–seen on the Discovery 2 and the original Freelander 2 supposedly ruined those names for American consumers, hence LR2 for the Freelander 2 and LR3 for the Discovery 3. The decision to move to model numbers (and I’m just speculating here) may have come from the same person who spearheaded the MK-Whatever movement for Lincoln, since Ford owned Land Rover at the time. Still, the LR3 nameplate has been taken, so what will the LR2/Freelander 2 successor be named?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The GL-Class has only been around since MY2007, and it has always been a unibody CUV. It is related to the M-Class and R-Class (and therefore, the Grand Cherokee, Durango and that upcoming Maserati SUV). However, this does not detract from the fact that the GL will do almost everything the LR4/Discovery 4 can, while being better-looking and more-economical.

      The LR4/Discovery LR4′s closest competitor, in terms of construction, fuel-economy and price, is probably the Lexus GX 460.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        The Mercedes GL cannot do everything a LR can do, it doesn’t have the same off road capabilities and it cannot tow nearly as much. Looks are subjective, but I think the LR4 is much better looking than the GL, the GL looks like a crossover. The Blutec version is more economical so kudos to Mercedes for offering it (and on the least expensive model even!) but it is also $10k more than the LR. The gas GL is just as thirsty as the LR, but faster too. And the Lexus GX is just as heavy, thirsty, and expensive as the LR while also not being as capable either. I know everyone wants to bash LR but they do offer a pretty nice product with a lot of capabilities. Whether buyers actually need those capabilities or not isn’t really the point. Most people could get by just fine with a $30k Jeep GC.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “However, after the first quarter tank of gas returned 9.5 MPG”

    Only sub-10mpg JLR? Why not go for the gold and shoot for 5?

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    A while back I had to laugh at a LR transporting kids to the end of the driveway to await the school bus.

    Only in ‘Merica

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I have so many thoughts, I shall have to enumerate them.

    1) The lease on this as advertised (and probably not as loaded as this one) was $749/month. I’m sorry – what? I have a hard time comprehending that figure for something you’re not going to own at the end of the day. I think it’s very overpriced. At this price I expect MOST niceties to be standard – 7 seats, top-quality leather, nav.

    2) Before I knew the price and read the review, I scanned the pictures. I thought this was some sort of down-market cheaper trim model, where the chrome and metal had been replaced with black plastic. Combined with the ghetto rims and the flat white paint, it just isn’t a good look. I’d never want this black trim package, I think it cheapens it and indeed makes it look like the Econoline van you put up there. The design is old now, and has just been fiddled with too much. Since the original LR3 (clean, dignified, simple) it’s been massaged into a frenzy of little crap stick-on detailing, which don’t make for an elegant exterior.

    3) The interior, IMO, is not anywhere near as nice as it should be for this price. Where’s the wood, leather, aluminum? You can get a brand new sport starting at the same price, which will no doubt be better overall (yes I know, smaller) and hold it’s value better, because it’s title starts with RANGE instead of LAND.

    4) This dash was obviously designed in a previous generation, and has now had many things/buttons/gizmos added to it. It put me in mind of the last part of the first-gen XK, where the dash had extra features crammed here and there which weren’t a part of the original design. There’s no flow to the center stack, and I really didn’t find it fitting in this level of vehicle.

    5) Even if I wanted one of these, I’d be angry at LR for not letting me at the diesel version so I could actually attain some decent mileage. Under ten_per_gallon. Unacceptable. An Escalade is 14/18 with the 6.2L, and it’s larger and heavier. I don’t know anybody with an Escalade/Tahoe, but I bet they get more than 10mpg out of it.

    • 0 avatar
      TorontoSkeptic

      Agreed… this is like a summation of almost everything I hate about current automotive trends:

      - horrible, indefensibly bad gas mileage
      - preposterously expensive
      - half-assed interior and I say this as someone driving a mid-2000s GM car, such things are excusable for budget manufacturers but for $64k?!
      - insanely heavy (5600+ lb?!)
      - high “true cost to own”/sketchy reliability
      - incredibly high seating position

      I just don’t get the market for this, I know it’s a niche product but it doesn’t seem remotely competitive with the luxury SUV offerings…

      • 0 avatar
        tooloud10

        - The gas mileage isn’t actually much different than the other vehicles in its class–that 9.5 number shouldn’t even have been mentioned, because any vehicle that’s driven on short trips around town with lots of “idling with the A/C on” would get the same.

        - I think some are comparing the price to three-row crossovers. This is a 3-row truck-based SUV with all the goodies. The others cost the same–check out the price of an X5 and it can’t even leave the pavement.

        - I don’t get the interior comments. The interior is actually quite nice, especially the quality of the leather. It’s worlds above the LR3.

        - Look around, they all weigh this much–at least the cars with the same capabilities.

        - No, they’re not as reliable as many other cars.

        - High seating position is usually considered a huge plus by most SUV buyers.

        The market is middle-upper income families that want 3 rows of seating and a truck frame that don’t want to buy American. There aren’t many vehicles this capable off-road that also let you fold the seats flat. It’s the perfect family vehicle for us, and we’ve looked at them all.

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          It’s not 100% the same but Jeremy Clarkson said that the petrol V8 Land Rovers were really not designed for the majority of people, he went as far as to say they were Arab Sheikh transport.

          In fact I’m made aware of this because the Queen and Rupert Murdoch famously were transported in these things where sub 10mpg isnt a problem.

          I knew a self made billionaire who had the diesel version which pretty much says it all.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Not that gas mileage is anything I’m concerned of, but out of all of my Hummers my all time low MPG (onroad) is 10.8, that’s with more weight, 35 in mud tires, bigger engine, less aerodynamics, 4 speed, 4:10 gears.

      Just for comparison..

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      1) It’s a $65k vehicle, which is remarkably common these days. What are you expecting to pay to lease one?

      2) Different strokes for different folks, I guess. My wife insists on a white one, and I really like the looks of the black wheels (she currently runs a black-on-black-on black E70), so the one in the pics is basically the exact car we would choose.

      3) There’s leather all over, and it’s quite nice. The interior is at least as nice as what I have in my BMW, and way better than the old LR3. I have no qualms in this area.

      4) Sure, there’s a lot of buttons on a busy dash. It IS still a Land Rover. :)

      5) I’m not sure I buy that 9.5mpg is very representative of what the average owner would get. My similar size and weighted BMW averages 15mpg no matter how I drive it.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I disagree completely. First off, I love the black trim and wheels and I thought the LR3 looked way too boring, so I like this new look. But looks are subjective and the trim and wheels are an option, and a pretty cheap option too, so I am glad its there. The leather and wood is standard too. The 7-seats do not cost $9k, this one is loaded up quite a bit. When I checked the web site you can get 7-seater LR4 with the trim for $54k, less for those who don’t like the blacked out look. I think the interior looks great, many luxury cars these days are cheapening the interior and I don’t think Land Rover has done that here. It is a bit busy, agreed, but part of the appeal of this brand is specifically the go-anywhere capability and the tough “truck” look inside and out. They aren’t trying to build a BMW or Lexus here, and I hope the continue the individuality. I did gasp a bit at the price, but after checking the website and seeing where they actually start, then realizing the pricing in my mind is from 15 years ago when I owned a Disco, I have to admit it’s right about where it should be for the brand and the capabilities. And a $750 lease isn’t really all that high these days. Unless there is a manufacturers subsidy, any number of lesser and less expensive cars will lease for that much, IIRC the Boss Mustang I recently looked at was leasing for around $650. And I am not sure why/how he got 9mpg but I bet that’s very low. I can make my GTI deliver 9mpg too, but that’s not the average. It is a very solid, capable off road body on frame vehicle with excellent towing capacity and a big V8, it isn’t going to be great on gas. Agreed though that the diesel engine would be perfect for it.

    • 0 avatar
      JJ

      The lease price obviously takes into account the expected value of the thing when the contract is up…In other words they know the thing is going to depreciate a ton.

      I’d always go for the RRS or the big Range now this model is so old in comparison. I don’t even think the RRS is much smaller anymore, at least not in terms of interior space. Ok maybe the boxy shape of the LR4 makes it a bit more able to schlepp large object but when are you really going to do that…

      Personally I always thought the X5 was the best choice in this segment but with what I’ve seen from the new RRS and the new X5 (pictures in case of the latter, but still) I now think the RRS is the one to go for in this market.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Lexus GX 460 is the Disco 4/LR4′s closest competitor, and while its exterior styling is quite objectionable, I will say that it has an interior that is far nicer in terms of materials and fit-and-finish than this car. I also don’t like the fact that Land Rover gives you a tacky and pixelated black-and-white LCD screen between the gauges, which just looks plain cheap (and which is also featured in the outgoing Range Rover Sport). WTH? Seriously? You can get a (nice) color instrument-panel LCD on the Ford Focus, for pete sake! Land Rover’s matte wood veneer, which would be in place of the black interior trim on most other Disco 4/LR4 configurations, looks like plastic and may well *be* plastic. Also, a power-adjustable steering column should be standard at this price-range.

      You’re right in that Jaguar/Land Rover is good for letting designs rot on the vine. The previous-gen (L322) Range Rover sold for over ten years, and by the time it was discontinued, it was an odd medley of BMW, Ford and Jaguar components. And the current XK doesn’t look particularly flattering anymore, especially the interior. I like Jaguar/Land Rover a lot, but the charm of old English vehicles on old platforms wore off once the last 2009 XJ rolled out of the factory (Morgan notwithstanding).

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Before I knew the price and read the review, I scanned the pictures. I thought this was some sort of down-market cheaper trim model”

      Thank-you! I do not find this vehicle at all luxurious inside or out compared to other LRs… but, then when Ronnie compared it to the basic work horse Ford van I got what Ronnie was doing. This is how you diss a car without getting black-listed. You don’t say it’s cheap-looking you just compare it to a cheap van.

  • avatar
    LordDetroitofLondon

    Holy Moly! A sub 10mpg vehicle! I certainly didn’t (at the beginning) expect that, not in this day and age.

    Just did a quick search on the Euro Discovery and the 3.0V6 Diesel does 8.8s to 60mph and about 32mpg-uk (combined) which converted to our units is about 27mpg. Even if you go even more conservative it should do at least 20-22mpg which is not (too) bad ‘spose….

    I could live with the ~1.0s accel drop and generally diesels do usually feel (seat of the pants) quicker anyways for most speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      If that’s true, 27 MPG combined would make the Discovery better than vehicles that are considerably smaller, and far less boxy, including the X5 xDrive35d, ML350 BlueTEC and Cayenne Diesel. Really, I think that diesels would take off more if manufacturers would (a) offer more of them and (b) offer them at more-reasonable prices. I wouldn’t mind having to drive six extra miles to the nearest diesel-equipped pump if it meant that I could get 200-300 more miles between fill-ups…

  • avatar

    I have heard from reliable British Sources that the Maker of Land Rover vehicles are looking around for a “White Knight” to take them off there Company! Petrol milage is terrible, with the price of all Petrol product heading for the “Stars” They are not a good buy as far as I am concerned, only the Royals in the UK can afford them, as they use Taxpayer Money to purchase there “Toys”

    • 0 avatar
      Blue-S

      Those sources may not be so reliable. Jaguar Land Rover’s sales volumes are increasing globally (North America too) and the company is WILDLY profitable. The Land Rover/Range Rover side of the business is doing particularly well. I neither see nor hear any indication that Tata is seeking to divest itself of JLR.

      • 0 avatar
        wei

        the only thing on Tata’s balance sheet making them money now is JLR. Their steel production arm is now doing terribly. Also, you’ve been trolled, Blue-S :-)

        (then again I’m sure you knew and were just setting the record straight)

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    When something like this gets mpg’s that appalling, it just says to me that the engine, or transmission, or both are terribly unrefined. There have been many cars that are just as heavy, and far cruder that have done better. Horsepower is not an excuse.

    Is the same drivetrain in the 6000SUX?

  • avatar
    MK

    Wow that’s surprisingly crap mileage!
    To put it in perpective i get 12.8mpg out of my 2009 f150 supercrew 4×4 auto……wait for it………WHEN IM TOWING my 18′ dovetail car hauler loaded with an offroad modified jeep Cherokee with oversized tires, aftermarket skid plates, solid steel bumpers plus tools spares coolers and the family.

    That being said you certainly can’t drive trucks this size like cars and expect to escape at the pump.

    I know I’m much more leisurely in accelerating from a stop than in any other vehicle I’ve owned because of that damned Sir Isaac and his crazy laws.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    I just purchased one of these (a ’12 HSE Lux, same color, ~20k miles) from an Infiniti store for $44,5k and flipped it to another dealer for $45,6k after the owner’s wife put 2800 miles on it, so the cost of entry is actually not so painful if you take even just one year’s depreciation.

    And, honestly for $45-46k, its a helluva ride.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    I’m sad your cheap ass didn’t take it to the mounds.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think maybe Ronnie was hinting for a better expense account

    • 0 avatar

      So am I.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      The mounds is mostly just a mud pit, at least it was the last time I was there. There are lots of ruts made by some huge vehicle with 44″ or larger tires, and when those ruts get filled up with water or mud, they appear deceptively shallow, trapping unsuspecting wheelers.

      A buddy of mine got stuck up there a few years back in some of those huge monster-truck ruts. The guy in the booth at the entrance offered to call his buddy who could tow him out for $40. The buddy showed up in…wait for it…a lifted Ford super-duty truck with 44″ tires on it. Gee…I wonder who made those ruts?

      Rocks and valleys is a better park with better obstacles that aren’t so mud-focused. Of course since the LR4 has IFS and IRS, it would probably get hung up in one of the rock gardens even with the suspension at max lift. Better to have solid axles to play on the real stuff.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX (formerly gslippy)

    Ronnie – excellent photography.

    I like the interior, at least as presented in the photos.

    I wouldn’t dismiss the operational costs because these vehicles are bought by ‘the rich’. $64k is in loaded pickup/SUV territory, and lots of people buy them.

    The fuel economy is completely unacceptable, but that could be nothing compared to the certain unreliability of all those cool features.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks, but just a point ‘n shoot guy. I have a lot of respect for real photographers. The location of most of the photos, btw, is the clubhouse at Rackham Golf Course. The golf course was donated to the City of Detroit by Horace Rackham, Henry Ford’s lawyer and partner, who also endowed the University of Michigan’s graduate school and largest library. The clubhouse was designed by Albert Kahn, famous for his car factories and other buildings.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I used to have a Discovery and I still like these a lot too. But they made them too expensive now. The Disco/LR3/4 was supposed to be the affordable model, aspirational but reachable for many buyers. Even without the 10k option package, $54k is too much for what it is.

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      Pricing starts at $50k, which sounds about right to me in an era where you can option a Jeep Grand Cherokee up to $75k. I mean, what is everyone expecting to pay for a V8-powered 7-passenger European SUV that includes low range and can probably go further off-road than anything else in its class?

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Well I also think a Grand Cherokee is terribly overpriced, but it also starts out well under $30k, the thought of doubling the price of the car with options is crazy to me!

        But I realize you are correct, the “base” LR4 is under $50k and that is about what I would have to expect to pay given its capabilities. And even in base trim it’s very well equipped, including a white exterior and black leather interior. And you can even get the black trim on the base model. I’m just cheap and pissed at how expensive cars have gotten.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’d bet good money that the % of JGCs optioned to anywhere close to 75k is about 1/3 of one percent. That’s pure idiocy.

        When we were considering a 2012 JGC, it was the 70th Anniversary X package 4×4 with nav, leather, pretty much loaded – and it we negotiated an OTD price of 32.4k (including Michigan 6% sales tax).

        The MSRP was nearly 38k, not including TTL obviously.

        The dealership experience is always interesting & entertaining for me as salespeople always bloviate ad nauseam about how “hot,” “in short supply,” & blah blah blah any vehicle is, and as soon as they realize the buyer one’t some naive mark and will walk quickly having little patience for bullshit, the whole dynamic changes.

        For what it’s worth, I like this Land Rover, but it’s pretty much the textbook example of a vehicle that a smart buyer only buys used, with an extended manufacturer’s warranty tossed in as a necessity of the dealer really wants to make the sale. The Land Rover ownership experience is a true financial death by a thousand paper cuts in most cases.

        • 0 avatar
          tooloud10

          I know more people with Jeeps optioned out closer to a $75k MSRP than $38k MSRP–yes, they’re all SRT8s, but it doesn’t change the fact that high dollar GJCs are all over out there. The point being that in the age of $60k+ SUVs from virtually all manufacturers except the Koreans, how is anyone surprised that a loaded LR4 stickers for $64k?

          Yeah, I know they’re not the most reliable. That’s a bigger deal to some people than it is to others. I’ve long understood that the vehicles I’m interested in driving will be in the shop more than something from Toyota that I don’t want to be driving. I’m cool with that.

        • 0 avatar

          On last week’s The Smoking Tire podcast, Doug DeMuro suggests that CarMax’s offered six-year warranty on their used cars is a great way to drive a car that you’d like but has iffy repair cost issues. He said the warranty costs something like $3K, which won’t go very far on a lot of pricier cars when it comes to fixing them.

          Actually, it’s not a bad way to own nice cars. Someone else takes the depreciation hit and another party is responsible for repairs.

      • 0 avatar

        That “75k” Jeep Grand Cherokee is the SRT, which isn’t really a standard production model – it’s a limited-edition specialty vehicle with a 470HP engine. And even that “only” starts at 63k – and most of the options are things like giant rims and a rear blu-ray player.

        Using the SRT as the standard of Grand Cherokee pricing would be like using the Raptor as the standard for Ford F-150 pricing or the EVO as how high you can option a Lancer.

        • 0 avatar
          tooloud10

          Nobody is using the SRT8 Jeep as a standard to SUV pricing–I’m saying that they exist and they’re all over the place. Hell, I know three guys with SRT8s and none that own the standard model. I just don’t understand why some act so surprised to see a large European SUV with a sticker price of $64k like it’s out of line or something.

          I’ve been shopping for a truck-based 3-row SUV that can do some decent towing and can fold the seats flat inside when I want. Anything with the equipment, capabilities, and options of the LR4 is going to be in the same ballpark.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Not to beat a dead horse, but because you and your circle of friends are into that scene, you see many high performance, high priced, specialty versions of the JGC.

            In reality, this doesn’t change the fact that these versions of the JGC, as good (and as competitive to rivals) as they may be, constitute a teeny slice of overall JGCs sold.

          • 0 avatar
            tooloud10

            Yep, the SRT8 is probably the slowest-selling JGC, yet you seem them running all over, just like dozens of other $60k+ SUVs, so it’s perfectly fair to point out that you can spend $75k on a domestic SUV when someone complains about the $64k price of a Land Rover.

            Would it have been easier just to point out that an LR4 stickers for basically the same exact price as a 4WD Tahoe optioned with nothing else but leather seating?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      To be fair, the $30k or so a Discovery would’ve started for in ’95 supposedly equates to about $45k today. Factor in the extra standard equipment the LR4′s got (such as leather, auto trans, and whatnot), the $49,995 base price, while a little expensive, isn’t that bad from a relative sense (especially since the moderately capable LR2 that wasn’t available in ’95 starts at $38k).

      Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather just wait for an off-lease model that’s taken the huge depreciation hit.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here is a link to the 3 litre V6 diesel Disco. The diesel is a Ford Lion engine and returns about 27.6mpg mixed cycle driving.

    I have always liked Rangies and Landrovers. It’s a pity the US doesn’t get this engine, maybe one day.

    http://www.carsguide.com.au/news-and-reviews/car-reviews-road-tests/land_rover_discovery_tdv6_review

  • avatar

    If Tata Motors is unable to find a “White Knight” for this piece of Junk, you can see them moving the Production to there home base in India, then I hope all you people that have this vehicle will know what costs are and parts for Same. Good luck!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    But can you get it in bacon wrap?

  • avatar

    There are myriad reasons to hate the LR4.

    -Obnoxious, comparable-to-an-SRT10-ram fuel economy
    -quasi-shabby interior that while it has all the gadgets, is still sort of drab black plastic and “meh” displays and switchgear and stuff
    -body on frame
    -Rides/handles like a truck
    -Air suspension is a literal nightmare
    -$9,000 oil changes (or something like that)
    -Ugly
    -Priced like a Land Cruiser

    and on and on and on.

    But who cares? You feel like the friggin’ king of the world driving one. Even an old Disco. They are just wonderfully anachronistic. If I could afford one, I would have one. I just wish they’d shove the blown Jag V8 in there like they do on the related RR Sport – make a proper G63 Competitor, like the world needed one. I’d imagine it’d get similar/better mileage since it would be so less “stressed” – i bet that 5.0L gets pretty vocal hauling around the mail, with that much weight! A definite candidate for a 6.2L Vortec/6-speed-auto swap when the Jag V8 pops.

    LOVE IT.

    Great review.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I never understood why/when the Land Cruiser changed from “bigger, more luxurious but still attainable and extremely off-road capable 4Runner” to “absurdly expensive yuppiemobile mostly seen at horse tracks and dog shows”.

      • 0 avatar

        When? Probably in the mid-90′s, when they came out with the Lexus version. That was also a few years after Jeep dropped the Grand Wagoneer, favorite vehicle of the horse and polo set.

        I think automakers figure that most mainstream buyers are going to buy CUV’s. Besides, with the 4Runner listing for $30k-40k+, anyone buying something a level up from that is going to be reluctant to let it anywhere near mud and rocks.

        Out of curiosity, I checked a local Toyota dealer’s website for the Land Cruiser. They had one in stock – for $73,000. That’s madness. I could buy a 4Runner, a BRZ, and several year’s worth of gas for that.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          So after the FJ80 went out of production? Makes sense.

          And seriously, a 4Runner is 40k? No wonder I see more people working older ones to death instead of buying new ones.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Our friends have one for 6 years. I was gentle with my questions but no complaints. What a great ride. Four adults, two kids, beach stuff, so comfortable, so stable on the road.

  • avatar

    A point about the fuel economy. A number of comments refer to 9.5 mpg. That 9.5 mpg was just for the first quarter tank of gas. That was during the hottest days of the summer, the A/C was on all the time, there was no highway driving, and the truck spent measurable time just idling with the air on.

    As mentioned in the review, overall fuel mileage was 12.9 mpg for the week.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Why not review the diesel? The petrol LR4 is a niche car(a very small niche). The diesels are more relvevant.

  • avatar
    Paddan

    We have a 2012 LR4 which we leased and it has been very reliable. Not an issue. Major improvement over the LR3 in terms of comfort and quality of interior materials. Jaguar engine far more powerful than the BMW sourced one in the LR3 and ours gets 16-17 around town and low 20s on the highway with careful driving. I might add that we were the first to take delivery of a LR3 from our dealer in Fall 2004. That baby used to suck down tires like Lifesaver candy. The flat rear storage and comfort level of third row seats once you understand how to unfold them is pretty amazing. That was a carryover from LR3. You can’t appreciate how capable these are off road – and I mean over rocks, mud, steep muddy descents and through streams – unless you attend a LR driving event. Of course, very few will do that and most of these just go to the school or mall, but for me, its nice knowing this can do that kind of thing.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    My take away from this great review is that much of the cost of this truck is in the engineering for off-road capability and quality of ride. It’s sad, but true, that only the ride will be appreciated… even then I am not sure that the average owner would really even care that much about the ride because it will fit into the “look how much money I spent” category, which is, in my opinion, undeserved.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    What I think is funny is all the comments about how most buyers never use the off road capabilities of these vehicles so why bother. Those capabilities are what makes Land Rovers special, if they take that away then we would just end up with another fake luxury crossover, Then all the comments would be about how it wasn’t a real Land Rover anymore.

  • avatar

    I was just reading in the Times of London newspaper that the new Hybrid Model Land Rover is priced at about 100,000.00 Pounds or in US Dollars its $154.985 dollars, the comment by the Paper was wondering if its worth that much?

  • avatar
    CdP

    What I didn’t get from this review was whether they had improved the navigation/infotainment system. I was very close to buying one of these last year, but the absolutely horrendous lag time between touch-screen-press and system-response was a total dealbreaker for me. Anyone know the answer?

    And anyone who suggests a Tahoe, I’ll have you know I did look at one but couldn’t get any kind of decent trim level without chrome. Chrome anything, chrome wheels, chrome accents, etc. And that was a dealbreaker for me. Death to chrome wheels and the like.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry about leaving the infotainment system out of the review, but so many people have criticized Jaguar’s slow system in the past, including myself, I thought the topic was getting cliched. How many times can you knock the same company for the same thing? However, you’re correct, it should have been in the review, people want to know if the system has been improved. To answer your question, it performed better than past Jaguars that I’ve tested but it’s not as good as Chrysler’s U-Connect, the system that most reviewers seem to like best. There are actual knobs and switches for most regular tasks so you don’t have to use the touch screen as much as on some other cars.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Land Rover: Most of the good things about a half ton crew cab without any of the stigma of working for a living.


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