Vital Stats

Engine:
SC 3.0L V6
Power:
340 HP / 332 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
7.7 Seconds
Top Speed:
121 MPH
Drivetrain:
Four-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
5,650 LBS
Seating:
2+3+2
Cargo:
90.3 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
14 City / 19 HWY
Base Price:
$49,700
I like the Land Rover LR4. A lot. My first experience with it was back in 2010, when I drove it on, over and around Colorado's San Juan mountain range. Since then, I've been hooked on the three-row British brute. I've always liked that, despite its leather lining, it has always come across as an honest vehicle. Purposeful, even. It offers no false pretenses as an off-roader, unlike any number of its competitors.

But despite my fondness for the Discovery 4, as it's known in other markets, even I couldn't deny that it had become woefully outclassed in a market of newer products, with Land Rover seemingly unwilling to give it the attention it deserved. Then, following years of packed product rollout schedules that saw the entire Range Rover line redesigned, Land Rover finally took the wraps off of a freshened LR4 at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Through a lucky coincidence, I recently found this gorgeous Fuji White LR4 HSE Lux sitting outside my home, waiting for a thorough going-over. Has Land Rover done enough to make the LR4 as significant to the CUV/SUV pack as the new, lighter Range Rover is to the top-shelf luxury segment?

Driving Notes
  • The big news is a new powertrain. Now, strictly speaking, the 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 and ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic aren't new pieces themselves. You can read all about them in our review of the 2013 Jaguar XF. The LR4's setup nets an identical 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, a decrease of 35 horsepower and 43 pound-feet of torque over the discontinued 5.0-liter V8. The SC V6, though, nets torque over a wider range of engine speeds with peak twist available from 3,500 to 5,000 rpm, where the V8 topped out only at 3,500 rpm.
  • Still, I wouldn't exactly call the SC V6 swap an improvement over the V8. The LR4 has never been a quick vehicle, and that descriptor isn't likely to change for 2014. Land Rover quotes the model's run to 60 at a relaxed 7.7 seconds, down 0.2 seconds from the V8 model. That's 1.5 seconds slower than a BMW X5 xDrive35i and 0.4 seconds slower than a 302-hp Mercedes-Benz ML350.
  • On the road, the results are as expected. With 5,600 pounds of body fat to move about, perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised by the updated LR4's lack of pace. It feels especially slow pulling away from lights, before the engine hits its torque peak. At higher speeds, things do improve - mid-range punch is certainly adequate, and the LR4 feels decidedly better when accelerating on the highway.
  • I'd be lying if I said my feelings on the LR4's engine change (and its lack of power) weren't at least partially linked to the lack of the 5.0-liter V8's sonorous engine note. The V6 just doesn't have the same brawny soundtrack at lower engine speeds, although there is some very noticeable supercharger whine at the higher end of the rev range.
  • As I said above, the LR4 was fitted with ZF's eight-speed automatic for 2014, which is arguably the best non-dual-clutch modern transmission on the market. It scarcely bears mentioning, but as is the case in every other ZF-equipped vehicle I've driven, upshifts are quick and smooth, with predicable and aptly timed downshifts.
  • As you can see from the photos, my LR4 was fitted with the distinctive Black Design Pack. Besides blacking out the grille, hood lettering, side vents, mirror caps and rear badges, it added a set of twin five-spoke, 20-inch wheels. Paired with the Fuji White paint of this tester, the overall look was rather intimidating. A friend remarked it looked like a Stormtrooper.
  • I'd wholly recommend going for the Black Design Pack if you're in the market, but do yourself a favor and avoid the 20-inch wheel option. Besides trimming $1,900 from the price, the 19-inch option should be a bit kinder to the LR4's ride.
  • There's a fair amount of vertical movement, but it's the way such imperfections feel that really dooms the 20s. The LR4 is crashy, with impacts having a way of reverberating throughout the cabin.
  • Perhaps my biggest problem with the LR4 I tested was its price. A standard Disco starts at $49,700. My tester, meanwhile, topped out at $68,345. That price includes every option for the HSE Lux trim except for the $2,500 rear seat entertainment system. For reference, my tester was just $150 less than the volume HSE trim of the Range Rover Sport. Yes, you'd miss out on a two-speed transfer case and Terrain Response 2 Auto, along with a few other options if you went that route, but the interior, ride and overall driving experience are just better in the Sport. Of course, it's also possible to bloat the Sport's price tag with options on up to the level of the top-shelf Range Rover, so the lesson here is really to be mindful when checking option boxes.
  • The LR4 is what I'd consider an irrational purchase. Considering how most of these vehicles are driven, there are better options out there for the money – some of which are within the Land Rover family. The LR4 remains slow, and if you get the 20-inch wheels, the ride isn't the greatest. It's also not particularly fuel efficient at 16 miles per gallon combined (I hit just below that). But it's a vehicle that doesn't feel like anything else, and it offers genuine off-road capability in a class where almost nothing else does. It's an unabashed SUV, and if you can live with that, it will happily work for you.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      Hernan
      • 9 Months Ago
      This article misses one of the most significant aspects of the LR4: utility. I owned a 2008 LR3 and used it as intended in the desert in Dubai, but during the week it was my wife's daily driver (we don't have kids). She LOVED it, and she's not a car person. There's a reason this is a popular "mommy-mobile," it's HUGE. The interior cargo volume is enormous, it's tall and has a purposely commanding high-seating view of the road (seriously, they call it "command seating"). It not only makes you feel safe, it IS safe because a) mass = you win, and b) higher seating position means better visibility over other cars. Furthermore, it has true, honest-to-goodness capacity for seven people. The rearmost seats are by far the best we could find in ANY class (I am 5'11 and have sat back there on road trips pretty comfortably - I imagine it's perfect for kids), and this included the land cruiser with its stupid fold-up-to-the-side rear seats. The LR3/4 rear seats disappear into the floor. So it's got a ton of room for all your people, and when you don't need the rear seats they DISAPPEAR into the floor. The second row of seats is set higher than the front seats, giving you stadium seating which allows rear passengers to see over the fronts and feels less claustrophobic and helps with motion-sickness. It also has a full-size spare tire, which I think is underappreciated. I can't speak to the LR4, but the LR3 ergonomics were amazing, and the seats were incredibly comfortable even on all-day offroading trips. It had separate rear audio controls with headphone jacks for the kids, it had a true three-zone (three compressor) a/c system, and it was sure-footed no matter WHAT you threw at it. The split rear tailgate made for a great place to sit (or stand if you needed to reach the roof). The headlights were some of the best (brightest) I've ever experienced. When I got my new Audi Q5 (downsizing) I thought there was something wrong with the headlights. Also, the car feels special - it's rugged when it needs to, then you wash it and can drive up to a fancy hotel and not feel out of place for a second. I had the V8 model and it felt plenty fast, even when loaded. The air suspension was very convenient for loading and for those "i'm not sure if I can make it over that without bottoming out" moments, and made it very comfortable. I had 19" wheels on it and they were more than fine. The refrigerator in the center console was a nice to have. Mommies are not stupid - they value these things. Yes, they will also take looks into a account, but if they don't feel safe or can't put the baby in the back seat or can't fit the stroller or throw all the dirty sports stuff in the back, they will say thanks but no thanks. So yes, mommies drive these, but I've driven one into the Liwa desert and it did not let me down. This is a SPORT + UTILITY vehicle in the best sense of the term. The author says "you could have a RRS" true, but look up the cargo space, it's barely more than my Q5.
      alexkoolur
      • 9 Months Ago
      50% can be added to the MSRP in options? Seriously? Damn you porsche for making everyone follow your lead on fleecing us
      CarzILuv!
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is still one of my favorite Land Rover models - although, this body style is what? - About 10 years old now, LR3 - then LR4 - then this new facelift, but LR have completely upgraded it throughout it's life and it's still competitive and massively capable off-road. I still love the looks and they've kept it modern looking with this facelift. This "Storm Trooper" look doesn't do the interior justice. The interior on this model is all black so you can't see the leather dash or the huge amount of piano black lacquer trim. The more traditional cream with big slabs of burl walnut look a bit more tasteful in my opinion. Rumor has it that it's replacement will be based on the new Range Rovers aluminum platform/architecture - and they'll probably add the supercharged V8 as an option. LAND ROVER is a premium brand (top of the SUV food chain) - so think of the brand positioning like a Porsche or Maserati - with their Range Rover models being SUPER LAND ROVERS. The next full-size Discovery will likely move further upmarket as a direct Mercedes GL competitor (the current GL starts at around $60K). The full-size Range Rover has always been in a class of it's own (above everything else) and will move further upmarket to the stratosphere beyond any German brand to do battle with Bentley and possibly an SUV from Rolls-Royce. However, the Range Rover is a much more authentic SUV than anything from Bentley or Rolls. This is what the full-size Range Rover buyers want too! - and I'd have to agree! Can't wait to see future Land Rover products.
      JaredN
      • 9 Months Ago
      That interior looks a bit dull for $68k
        Derelicte
        • 9 Months Ago
        @JaredN
        The straight black interior is never a great looking option. Couple that with the rubber utility floor mats and you've got a pretty ugly interior. These interiors look amazing with any of the two tone leather options and carpet floor mats.
          JaredN
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Derelicte
          Yea, I think if it wasn't all black it wouldn't look quite so severe.
      eye.surgeon
      • 9 Months Ago
      Thanks to this model the resale value of my 2011 with the V8 just went up. The new engine is worse than the V8 in every real-world performance metric and the other changes are trivial. Only when the LR5 arrives with high aluminum content and a 700 lb weight loss will the new engine make any sense. Until then I'm staying put.
      Avinash Machado
      • 9 Months Ago
      Wish that they would bring back the Disco name.
      Alexander Stewart
      • 9 Months Ago
      My mom owns a 2010 LR4, purchased from Land Rover in NJ, it drives beautiful and its the HSE package. Priced around $60k but it rides smooth, nice growling engine on start up, and revs. The practicality of this car living 30 mins from NYC is amazing, pair with the horrible roads NY faces this car is the better option than the Range Rover. The Rover is all show with the same badge minus "Range". Honestly more people are leaning toward the G-Class than the Range so I see why they're pushing this toward the Range Rover proximity. Thru all weather this car has been great and I drive most of the time since my Mom rarely does (approx. 15,000 miles since 2010). All in all I'm siding with Hernan, this isn't a show car, its an actual Utility Vehicle, something SUVs were created for.
      ckirk1098
      • 9 Months Ago
      Herman said it very well. We have a property management company as well as a Land Planning consulting firm in the mountains of Idaho and an LR3 (our second) as a daily driver, a work vehicle, mountain trail crawler, towing trailers, hauling motorcycles to the track, etc... It's a great utility vehicle as well as nice enough to not be embarrassed to haul clients around. The only thing that bugs me is as an HSE it only comes with 19 inch rims, severely limiting off road and winter tire options. 18 inch rims from the SE would be a better choice in our situation and the 21 inch'ers would not even be an option for us. They are for the look at me grocery getter crowd only.
        Hernan
        • 9 Months Ago
        @ckirk1098
        Agreed on the wheels, they were the Achilles heel. The alloys on mine were pretty weak and got bent from offroad use, I suggest you get yours checked and trued if you use it offroad often, especially if you air down. Goodyear MTR 19" tires were the offroad tire of choice when I owned mine, though I never installed a set myself.
      cbamft
      • 9 Months Ago
      I wish this article would have finished with the sentence: "So buy it for its intended purpose, not grocery hauling, and you'll find it's like nothing else out there."
      aquaticko
      • 9 Months Ago
      Okay, look, I know that you're an automotive journalist, and that you therefore have occasional access to vehicles with well in excess of 500hp, which carry around far fewer than the 2 and 3/4 tons this weighs, but please, stop. A 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds in a truck of this size and weight, from an engine displacing just three liters, is more than acceptable; even a decade ago, it was just unheard of. For 95 out of 100 LR4 owners, they will never, ever complain about a lack of speed or power. By claiming that this is "slow", you're part of the problem of vehicles having way more power than anyone who owns this kind of vehicle needs or cares about, and thus consuming way more resources than actually provides benefit to it people who buy them, leaving less for those of us who do care about vehicular performance and thus don't buy this kind of thing out of anything but need, with an understanding that it's not going to "feel" fast or agile or sporty. I'm a sucker for a sub-5 second 0-60 time as much as any auto enthusiast, but I can count on one hand the times that measure of performance has ever mattered, and even if it was the single most important aspect of how a car feels to a driver, no one should be looking at something of this size and capability to evince even a smidgen of sporting attitude. Stop evaluating vehicles like these as if they should.
        Bernie Kressner
        • 9 Months Ago
        @aquaticko
        Wow! Bingo. You should write car-review articles. Good perspective. ------------
      Jonathan
      • 9 Months Ago
      I have to be honest, I feel like some of the commenters forget what this is. It is not a Range Rover, nor is it a Mercedes GL or anything else like that/ IT'S A LAND ROVER. It's a REAL suv, not something to drive to the mall and back. They just happen to be expensive because they're the best most capable suv (In Land Rover's mind) in the world. It's not meant to be fast or stylish or any of those things. Personally, I wish we had more "rugged" suvs like this, and the Wrangler, 4Runner, not everyone wants a Crossover droopy looking thing.
        Toddley
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Jonathan
        That's funny because I only see them being used to carpool private school kids where I'm from.
          Shiftright
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Toddley
          Original intent and actual usage are two different things. I see a lot of 911s doing 60 in the right lane with the driver on the phone.
          jtav2002
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Toddley
          Who cares what people use them for? it's their money. Do you really think most sports cars actually EVER see track time? Is every sedan supposed to always be carrying 5 passengers. Should every truck always be towing 10k lbs?
          Jonathan
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Toddley
          That's funny because I was commenting on what they're MADE TO DO, not what they're actually used for. Sorry didn't understand my comment.
      Justin Campanale
      • 9 Months Ago
      I think the biggest problem with the Discovery and Freelander is that they are positioned upmarket. LR sales would skyrocket if they were priced similarly to Jeep models. The LR4 simply doesn't have the luxury credentials to duke it out with the Q7 and X5. They need to start contenting it so that it can compete with the Grand Cherokee. It should have a 3.8 V6 with 280 hp(5.0 with 2 cylinders lopped off) getting 16/24 mpg at $30 k, with the $5k option of a 5.0 with 380 hp OR a 3.0 diesel with 250 hp. The LR2 should be a Cherokee competitor with a 2.5 inline 4(5.0 cut in half) with 190 hp priced at $23 k and a $5k option of a 3.7 OR a 2.2 diesel with 170 hp. The Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport should both get lower-rung trims dropping their base prices to $37 k and $50 k, making them competitive with the German and Japanese luxury SUVs.
        jtav2002
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        First of all, no. Second of all, I think you're out of touch with prices. If you're saying the LR should be a GC competitor and the RRS to the German and Japanese luxury SUV's the RRS being priced at 50k doesn't really differentiate itself from the Jeep, that you think should compete with the LR. Price a GC Overland. Easy over $50k.
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