Review: 2015 Land Rover LR4 HSE Luxury
While admittedly not a fan of the Star Wars franchise, they did manage to introduce the public to tons of cool toys. Light Sabers, Blaster Pistols and E-Wing Starfighters were seen throughout. We’re betting that if the Stormtroopers had a vehicle to drive around in, it would be the new 2015 Land Rover LR4 HSE Luxury.
That’s if it is ordered in Fuji White.
What is it?
Just a part of the range of Land Rover SUVs, the LR4, sold in other markets as the Land Rover Discovery, fits roughly in the middle of the lineup. Built on what Land Rover calls an integrated body-frame, it is a four-door, five or seven-passenger luxury SUV. Its power comes from a singular 3.0-liter supercharged and direct injected V6 engine that produces 340 hp at 6,500 rpm. There’s also 332 lb-ft of torque to take it through some rough situations – and back.
That dual-intercooled V6 is mated to a ZF eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with CommandShift that allows it to be operated in a normal, sport and manual operating modes through steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers. Although it is standard with a single speed transfer gearbox, ours was equipped with the optional two-speed electronic transfer gearbox with shift on-the-fly functionality, as well as a variable locking center differential and active rear differential.
The LR4 would not be a true Land Rover without its all-terrain dynamic stability control (DSC), active roll mitigation (ARM), cornering brake control (CBC), and hill descent control (HDC). Finally, it includes Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, which tailors vehicle dynamics for maximum operations in general, grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, and sand with rock crawl mode. The LR4 rides on a standard independent and load-leveling air suspension kit.
This ‘Rover is available in three trim levels ranging from Base, HSE and, like our sample, HSE Luxury. Ours was high-zoot throughout, with adjustable side bolsters on the driver’s seat, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a 17-speaker Meridian Audio System with Sirius Satellite Radio capabilities, a rearview camera, seven-inch touchscreen display with navigation, power adjustable steering wheel, and a third row 50:50 split rear seat with rear climate control ducts and lighting.
What’s it up against?
For head-to-head seven-passenger competition, the LR4 goes up against the Mercedes-Benz GL, Lexus GX, Infiniti QX80 and Acura MDX. If five passengers are all you need, or care to carry, add the BMW X5 and Jeep Grand Cherokee to that mix.
How does it look?
As stated previously, if Lord Vader’s army of Stormtroopers had a staff car, this Fuji White with black accent package-equipped LR4 would absolutely be it. While not as swoopy as its Range Rover Sport cousin, the LR4 has all the style and perhaps even more of the capabilities than most other SUVs on the road today. Add to that, all the cladding that looks like the Stormtrooper’s body armor, for a look of invincibility.
The first thing we noticed was how “boxy” the entire package was. If you were to imagine a seat with a very upright back, then think of a whole vehicle taking on those same characteristics. Large slabs of side steel help to convey a massive (nearly three-ton) presence when viewed from the street. But at the end of the day, the LR4’s conservatism is what makes it appear so radical.
And the inside?
As part of the HSE Luxury package, our LR4 is treated to upgraded two-toned leather with single needle stitching for starters. A very familiar dashboard layout is back with an HD touchscreen display monitor that serves as home base, although redundant controls exist just below the screen, on either side of the analog clock. Other thoughtful features include a split-level glove box, a redundant control power-telescoping steering wheel, adjustable front row armrests, and a super secret cool box at the rear of the center console to keep drinks and some food chilled.
The Terrain Response system controls now lie at the base of the center stack along with adjustments for ride height, entry position, and eco-start stop mode.
At first glance, the second row of seats appears a bit confining. After we climbed aboard, we found the legroom to be more than sufficient for those in the six-foot range, who could look up to find copious amounts of headroom, as well.
More space was available at the rear, where cargo capacity behind the two-piece rear hatch yielded 9.9-cubic feet aft the contortionistic third row seats. Fold them forward and that space grows to 42.1-cubic feet, while folding both rows flat enables an owner to carry up to 90.3-cubic feet of camping gear, mulch, or what-have-you.
But does it go?
The LR4 is actually a fun-to-drive SUV with a nice high view of the road ahead. Offering a direct steering feel is an important trait, but the ride didn’t quite feel as buttoned-down as one inside the Range Rover, which to us, offered a more sporting feel than this corporate cousin.
Docile during normal drive situations, the direct injection engine rears back and roars when you stomp on the accelerator, and is accompanied by the subtle and sexy whine of an Eaton roots-style supercharger. While the power from the compressed 340-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 is not going to set the world on fire with its 0-60 time of 7.7-seconds, it still provided enough visceral and aural sensations to cause the hair on one’s neck to stand at full attention. During those other times where you don’t need visceral and aural, the V6 is capable of a thirsty 15 city/19 highway, with an average of 16 mpg.
While never feeling like it would topple over (it won’t), it still displayed a tiny bit of teetering due to its high-riding ground clearance. Our version had the two-speed transfer case-equipped all-wheel-drive system with Terrain Response, which allowed us to go up and down hills just by thinking about them. Florida’s terrain doesn’t exactly resemble that of the Rocky Mountains or the Appalachian Trail, but we have had several previous opportunities to see what this Land Rover can do. And it does.
Leftlane’s bottom line
While not the newest tool in the drawer, the Land Rover LR4 HSE Luxury is fully loaded with capability, supercharged V6 power, and panache galore. It’s just the thing for waging your own urban battle.
2015 Land Rover LR4 HSE Luxury base price, $50,400. As tested, $68,995.
LR4 HSE Luxury Package, $10,200; SiriusXM Radio, $750; Heavy Duty Package, $1,350; Tow Package, $650; Black Design Package, $3,500; Black Lacquer Interior Trim, $350; DuoTone Leather Seats, $800; Destination fee, $995.
Photos by Mark Elias.
Review: 2015 Land Rover LR4 HSE Luxury Reviewed by Mark Elias on October 14 We try out Land Rover’s LR4 middle child. Rating: 2.5