2014 Land Rover LR4 Introduction

Known as Discovery 4 in the rest of the world, the Land Rover LR4 is a midsize luxury sport-utility, a class that includes the Lexus RX 350, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, Acura MDX, and BMW X5. The LR4 seats five, or can carry seven when equipped with a third row.

Until 2014, the Land Rover LR4 held a 5.0-liter, 32-valve V8 with direct injection, making 375 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. For 2014, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 has replaced the V8, issuing 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet. Intelligent Stop/Start helps boost fuel economy from the previous 12/17 mpg to 14/19 mpg City/Highway. A new 8-speed ZF automatic transmission with CommandShift and Sport mode replaces the prior 6-speed unit. With its new V6, an LR4 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 7.7 seconds, a sprightly pace given the LR4's weight of 5655 pounds.

A new single-speed all-wheel-drive transfer case is newly standard for 2014, and a 2-speed 4WD transfer case is available. Front-end styling has been revised, including a new bumper, headlamps and foglights. New outside mirrors contain integrated turn signals and accommodate available Blind Spot Monitoring. New Meridian audio systems replace the prior Harman Kardon units. A rear parking camera is now standard.

Three versions are offered: LR4, LR4 HSE, and new LR4 HSE LUX. The Land Rover LR4 and Range Rover Sport continue to share platforms, powertrains, drive systems and sophisticated suspensions. The LR4 comes standard with slightly less luxury equipment than does the Sport, though most of those features are available as options. The LR4's wheelbase is more than five inches longer than that of the Range Rover Sport, yet the LR4 is only two inches longer overall. The LR4 has short front and rear overhangs to avoid damage in rugged terrain.

The 2014 Land Rover LR4 offers amazing off-road capability, yet on the road it's quiet and comfortable. Inside is a leather-appointed cabin that coddles passengers in luxury.

We were impressed during our test drives of the V8 model in Scotland and off-road in Colorado, as well a subsequent on-road evaluation in the wintry Midwest with the new V6 engine. We expected no less, of course, as the LR4's capability off-road is nothing short of phenomenal. Its suspension articulation, coupled with the latest in traction control technology, allow the LR4 to creep over extremely rugged terrain, the worst off-road trails, the most primitive of roads, and in all kinds of weather.

For off-highway travel, the available two-speed transfer case can be shifted on the fly. But the magic lies in the Terrain Response System, with its five settings: Highway, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, and Rock Crawl. All you have to do is look out the windshield, select the correct setting for the terrain, and the LR4 will coordinate all of its off-road technology accordingly, including setting the suspension height. The system also includes Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration control, which helps maintain downhill speeds on rough or slippery terrain when Hill Descent Control isn't set. If you want to drive to Tierra del Fuego, an LR4 would be a great choice.

The LR4 is still fresh from a complete redesign for 2010. Since then, Land Rover has focused on upgrading its high-tech functions.

The hard-drive navigation system, standard on the up-level HSE model, features user-friendly graphics. The towards guidance feature supplements the junction map and icon-based information with details of the actual road signage seen by the driver along the route. Say What You See voice activation for onboard and connected devices helps the user learn applicable voice commands, by displaying a step-by-step format on the 7-inch touch-screen.

LR4 meets the government's ULEV2 emissions requirements, meaning it's greener than required by law.

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