2005 LR3 New Car Test Drive
The Land Rover LR3 is an entirely new mid-size premium SUV, and the most advanced Land Rover product to date. It is differentiated from other Land Rover products by highly responsive on-road performance, seven-passenger seating, and advanced electronic systems.
The LR3 is engineered with deference to the Land Rover tradition of broad capability and gifted reconciliation of opposing engineering requirements. It is intended to supply comfort, safety, and secure driving capability on any kind of road, paved or otherwise, in any kind of weather.
After driving the LR3 on busy freeways, down winding country roads and over flooded forest trails, we found Land Rover succeeded in its goals. The LR3 has a spacious, airy cabin with comfortable seats and intuitive controls. Underway, it feels composed and secure, with little noise and vibration transmitted into the cabin. It can seat up to seven passengers with the optional third row, and the seats fold flat into the floor individually, making this a versatile utility vehicle.
Its new 4.4-liter V8, a modified Jaguar engine, develops 300 horsepower and delivers strong throttle response. It's paired with a six-speed automatic, smoother and more responsive than a traditional four-speed. The brakes are excellent, but most interesting is the Terrain Response system: By twisting a knob to Snow, Sand, Mud and Ruts, or any one five different settings that cover every imaginable type of driving condition, you can optimize the settings for the LR3's mind-boggling array of electronic controls and traction aids. In short, the LR3 can go just about anywhere on the planet. And it does it in style.
The LR3 replaces the Discovery. It actually continues to carry the Discovery name in other parts of the world; Land Rover says the alphanumeric nomenclature was used in the U.S. so the company could better focus its marketing efforts on the Land Rover brand name. No matter what you call it, this vehicle is a huge improvement over the Discovery Series II. The LR3 is the first vehicle totally developed by Land Rover following its purchase by Ford Motor Company in 2000 and a $1.4 billion overhaul of the Solihull manufacturing facility in the UK.
LR3 is available in SE ($44,330) and HSE ($49,330) trim levels. The SE comes well-equipped with leather, sunroof, a 300-watt Harman Kardon stereo, automatic climate control, power everything, and a long list of the latest safety features.
The HSE includes as standard equipment an On/Off-Road Navigation system with voice-activation, plus the Lighting Package (bi-Xenon headlights, rain sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, Homelink Rear Park Distance control, automatic headlights, and front fog lights). These systems are available as options on the SE for $2650 and $1050 respectively.
The SE and HSE can each be further optioned with a number of specialized packages. Rear Seat Package ($1250) includes second-and third-row fold flat seats, third-row side curtain airbag, third-row map lights and accessory power outlet, rear luggage net, and additional front cup holder. Rear Climate Control package ($950) includes second-row A/C and heating controls, two vents at second-row headliner, two vents at third-row C-pillar and one outlet at the third-row lower level. The Convenience Package ($175) includes second-row fold-flat seats, rear luggage net and additional front cup holder.
Cold Climate Package ($1,050) includes heated front windshield, heated front and second-row seats, and heated windshield washer jets. Tow Package ($500) includes a Class III receiver hitch and remote-control rear height adjuster. Heavy-Duty Package ($625) includes a locking rear differential and a full-size spare alloy wheel.