2011 Land Rover LR4 review:

2011 Land Rover LR4

(Continued: Page 2 of 2)

The standard Bluetooth hands-free system featured no visual and few audible prompts to help us through setup.

The Rover fares slightly better when it comes to digital audio sources. Satellite radio is available as part of the HSE trim level, as is iPod/USB connectivity via a proprietary connection and cable. Of course, there's a single-slot CD player with MP3 playback capability. The touch-screen interface through which you interact with digital audio sources is easy enough to understand at a glance, but it feels a bit overdesigned, dedicating too much screen real estate to interface chrome and animations and not enough to the display of information. If we had to pick one nit that consistently annoyed us, it would be the odd placement of the screen's bottom row of soft buttons, which places the "display off" button far too prominently and crams the back button into the corner farthest from the driver. Both buttons are ambiguously labeled, leading to many accidental deactivations of the screen during song selection or destination entry.

You can connect an iPod or iPhone, but a proprietary cable will be needed.

Speaking of destination entry, our Rover was also equipped with the optional hard-drive-based GPS navigation system. The system is quite rudimentary, with no traffic data and no weather forecasts. Destination input is intuitive, trip routing was speedy, and the spoken turn-by-turn directions were easy enough to follow--even if its robotic voice was ever so slightly irritating.

Upgrading to the Lux trim level also replaces the stock 240-watt, eight-speaker audio rig with a 480-watt, 14-speaker Harman Kardon job that sounds fantastic. Audio quality on the flat EQ curve is balanced and distortion-free at nearly any volume. Staging is also very good thanks to the LR4's speaker placement and Logic7 signal processing. A bit of playing with the audio controls allowed us to tune the system to bring out the best in most genres of music we tested. But don't go too crazy with those bass and treble levels, as this system will let you tune it to distortion. Overall, this is a premium audio system worth upgrading to.

In sum
Our 2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE LUX earns a good performance score for its go-anywhere off-road power train and its surprising on-road performance. We didn't dock too many points for the Rover's truckish ride because, well, it's a truck. Fuel economy is a bit on the low side with an EPA estimated 12 city and 17 highway mpg, but when you consider that you're hauling around about 5,617 pounds of vehicle everywhere you go, the numbers aren't really that bad. Cabin comfort scores are middling. The LR4 offers everything we like to see in a vehicle of its price (navigation, standard Bluetooth, great-sounding premium audio), but the execution of these features (particularly the Bluetooth system and the plain-vanilla navigation system) leaves much to be desired.

The LR4 is an impressive blend of luxurious appointments (particularly at our Lux trim level) and rugged capability. Earlier we characterized the Rover LR4 as a big, dumb jock, but perhaps it's more of a gentle giant, a hulking athlete in a well-tailored suit. However, such a vehicle comes at a price.

In literally the coolest feature of the Lux trim level, our Rover was equipped with a small refrigerator.

Starting at $47,650 for the LR4 V8 gets you the one of the most capable off-road vehicles to ever pass through the Car Tech garage, and standard Bluetooth and a rear proximity sensor. Increase that price to $52,750 for the LR4 HSE and you get navigation, satellite radio, and iPod integration. At this trim level, you also get a fold-flat third row of seats and a rearview camera--the latter of which is very necessary for Rover owners in urban environments. Our LR4 HSE LUX starts at $57,665 and adds premium leather seats, a front proximity sensor, smart keyless entry and start, the 480-watt Harman Kardon audio rig, and the very cool center console refrigerator. Add $2,500 for 20-inch alloy wheels, $350 for black lacquer interior trim, a $100 gas guzzler tax, and an $850 destination charge to reach our as-tested price of $60,615.

Tech specs
Model 2011 Land Rover LR4
Power train 5.0-liter direct-injected V-8, 4WD
EPA fuel economy 12 city/17 highway
Observed fuel economy --
Navigation HDD-based, no traffic
Bluetooth phone support yes
Disc player single-disc CD/MP3
MP3 player support USB port, iPod, analog 3.5mm auxiliary input
Other digital audio HD radio, satellite radio
Audio system 480-watt, 14-speaker Harman/Kardon premium audio
Driver aids backup camera, front- and rear-proximity sensors
Base price $47,650
Price as tested $60,615

This week on Roadshow


Discuss: 2011 Land Rover LR4 4WD 4dr V8

Conversation powered by Livefyre