2014 Land Rover LR4 HSE Lux
Miles Driven: 159
Fuel Used: 8.0 gallons
Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway
Real-world fuel economy: 19.9 mpg
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 14/19/16 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: $49,700 (not including $925 destination charge)
Options on test car: HSE Lux Package ($10,200), Vision Assistance Package ($1600), satellite radio ($750), Black Design Package ($3500), black interior trim ($350), Heavy Duty Package ($1350)
Price as tested: $68,375
The great: Airy, nicely finished cabin
The good: Good power, roomy 2nd and 3rd-row accommodations
The not so good: Rough engine idle, pricey options
The Land Rover/Range Rover family is a diverse and somewhat difficult-to-pin-down clan. On the luxury side we have the Range Rovers, capped by the large truck known simply as the Range Rover. Other “Rangers” include the midsize Range Rover Sport and the compact Range Rover Evoque. For 2015, Range Rover base prices span from $42,000 for the base Evoque to $142,000 for the full-size Range Rover equipped with the all-inclusive Autobiography package.
More mainstream are the maker’s Land Rover models. For 2015, the lineup includes the midsize LR4, the compact Discovery Sport, and the scrappy but slow-selling compact LR2, which is due to be dropped from lineup by the end of the 2015 model year.
With prices that start at about $38,000 for the Discovery Sport and climb to about $70,000 for a topline LR4, the “Landies” would seem likely to be the most popular vehicles in LR/RR lineup, but that’s not the case.
For 2014, each vehicle under the Range Rover banner will have outsold the LR4 by an almost 4-to-1 margin. It’s worth noting that the LR4 will be replaced for 2016 by a like-sized model dubbed Discovery, which will boast styling more in line with its pricier Range Rover showroom cousins.
Consumer Guide just spent a week in a 2014 LR4, a model that rolls into 2015 mostly unchanged. Our test car arrived in topline HSE Lux trim, loaded with options. All told, our LR4 listed for $68,375.
Also available to LR4 shoppers are base examples (which start at about $50,000) and better-equipped HSE models, which add 7-passenger seating, unique 19-inch wheels, navigation system, and a backup camera for about $5000. HSE Lux models include xenon headlamps, additional and upgraded leather trim, “mood lighting,” Lux 19-inch wheels, and a beverage-cooler center console, all for about $10,000 more than the base model.
A highlight of the LR4 is its high-roof, big-window cabin. A refreshing break from the rising beltlines on many contemporary crossovers and SUVs, the LR4 feels large and airy inside. Upright chair-style seats contribute to the overall sense of uncramped space, as do the slightly elevated 2nd-row seats, which allow rear 2nd-row occupants a clear view of the road ahead. Broader-shouldered folks may find the doors a little close, however–a long-time LL/RR complaint. HSE Lux versions enjoy an extra dose of leather, and the cabin looks especially classy as a result.
Piloting the LR4 is a generally pleasant experience. Credit firm, responsive steering and—despite a fair amount of cornering lean—nimble handling that helps make this largish SUV feel smaller.
The ride is mostly compliant, with little harshness from ruts and potholes filtering into the cabin. However, certain road surfaces will induce the LR4 to pitch fore and aft, as will rapid deceleration.
New for 2014 is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6, which is the sole LR4 engine. Rated at 340 horsepower, it replaces a 375-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. On the road, the V6 delivers all the gusto one might expect from a $60,000 SUV, and sounds great doing so. What the V6 lacks is the outgoing V8’s polish. Though sporty sounding under throttle, the V6 is prone to noisy quaking at idle, a condition that can be heard and felt in the cabin.
On the plus side, the new V6 is EPA rated at 16 mpg overall, a solid 2 mpg improvement over the V8. Over nearly 160 miles of testing, we averaged a surprisingly thrifty 19.9 mpg, a number we would have doubted had we not pumped our own fuel.
My single greatest LR4 complaint is the audio/navigation control system. Though we’re generally not fans of control systems that operate via a single rotary knob or “mouse”-style input device, almost anything would be an improvement over this vehicle’s complex touchscreen setup.
Much of the blame lies with the touchscreen itself, as it’s too small given the number of functions it manages. The real problem, however, is the number of menus and submenus required to execute simple functions. It’s likely LR4 owners will quickly grow accustomed to working with this setup, though they may also pine for simpler times when a couple of knobs were all that were required to hear a little music.
At nearly $70,000, our loaded LR4 HSE Lux may not represent the best value in the LR/RR catalog, but it is certainly a pleasant enough vehicle. It’s heartening to know that an LR4 with the same off-road prowess—and we at Consumer Guide have experienced this prowess first hand—can be had for as little as $50,000. In new, less-thirsty V6 trim, the LR4 makes more sense as a family vehicle than it has in the past.
Before committing to an LR4, be sure to test drive the surprisingly opulent Jeep Grand Cherokee, a vehicle that comes close to matching the LR4’s off-road talents, and the roomy and refined Dodge Durango, a large crossover with more passenger space, a more refined drivetrain, and a substantially lower price.