Land Rover LR4

The LR4 comes in three trim levels, base, HSE and LUX. The sole engine, a 3.0L V6, makes 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, with an 8-speed transmission and full-time 4-wheel drive with locking center differential.

The standard electronic air suspension not only improves handling at high or low speeds, but it can be used to raise the LR4 as much as 2.15 inches to clear obstacles, or lower by 2 inches for loading. When carrying a heavy load, as in when towing a trailer, the suspension keeps the ride height constant.

Land Rover's Terrain Response system, standard on the LR4, allows the driver to select settings for gravel, grass, sand or pavement using a convenient dial. A 'sand launch control' feature helps keep the wheels from spinning when starting from a dead stop or when increased control is needed in low-speed driving.

So-called 'Hill Descent Control with Gradient Release' gives the LR4 its extraordinary off-road abilities. Hill Descent Control helps drivers take very steep descents by controlling speed, transmission and wheel slip. The LR4 also features dynamic stability control and trailer stability assist.

Of course, Land Rover wants to keep everyone safe while they're testing out these off-road capabilities--or just driving to work. Roll stability control is standard, along with air bags for every row of passengers. Vision Assist provides 5 digital cameras for almost 360 degrees of visibility while parking or driving off-road. The cameras can be used to accurately line up hitch and trailer, as well.

Standard interior features include push-button start, a multi-function steering wheel, dual climate control, electric parking brake and stadium seating for five or seven passengers. Leather seating and wood trim are optional. A Harman/Kardon sound system with iPod interface and touch-screen controls is also standard.

The LUX model adds additional interior leather treatments as well as heated front and rear seating, a center-console cool box, memory functions for the driver seat and a power-adjustable steering column.

The HSE model adds power-folding mirrors, a park distance monitor, a passive keyless entry system, airbags for the third-row seating, automatic climate control for the rear seats, an integrated navigation system and xenon HID headlamps.

There are a few option packages available as well. A Heavy-Duty package comes with a full-size spare tire, an active locking rear differential and a 2-speed transfer case. A rear entertainment package adds 2 8-inch video screens, a DVD changer and wireless headphones for rear passengers. A heavy-duty package provides an active locking differential and full-size spare. SIRIUS satellite radio and black lacquer wood trim are also available.

A Black Design Package adds black-colored accents to give the LR4 a uniform look. It includes special black-colored wheels, side vents, mirror caps, door handles, grille and roof rails.

The 7-Seat Comfort Package adds items intended to add convenience features for all passengers. It equips the LR4 with a third-row forward-facing seat and adds a power outlet, cupholders, a map light, side-curtain airbag and climate controls for that seat's occupants.

Editors' First Take

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"Discovery" is one of the auto industry's all-time great names, a moniker incredibly well-suited to an SUV with a history of providing legitimate legendary off-road chops. So it was quite a surprise when Land Rover walked away from the appellation in the mid-2000s in favor of an alphanumeric soup -- LR3 and then LR4, model names that that sounded they belonged to a line of icemakers.

Well, the rebranding experts have evidently been put out to pasture in Great Britain, because Land Rover has finally, mercifully restored the Discovery nameplate for this fifth-generation model. And it's not just the name that's new, the Green Oval has reworked the seven-seat SUV from stem to stern for its Paris Motor Show debut. It's given it a new chassis, a new range of engines, new cabin tech and a sleek set of familial clothes could be the source of some consternation among Land Rover faithful.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that the 2017 Discovery isn't handsome. It is. But it's also deeply familiar, looking perhaps too similar to other current-day Land Rovers, especially the Range Rover Sport and, somewhat confusingly, the Discovery Sport, a less-expensive model family that also has three rows of seats. As the last stylistic holdout of Land Rover's rectilinear school of design that defined its previous-generation models, the old LR4 stood out thanks to its upright utilitarianism, a style that somehow managed to be both honest and premium.

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