The LR4 isn’t a car. It is not even an SUV. It is a motor home. And it’s not just because you can take it anywhere you want, because the LR4 is made for multi-terrain adventure. It’s largely the space and layout of the LR4 that qualifies it for a motor home – almost like a well-segmented house with three compartments and a set of windows for each, and even separate moon roofs!
UPSIDE: Multi-terrain modes, Comfortable seating, Outstanding character, Excellent Harmon Kardon system
FLIPSIDE: Lack of privacy, Body roll, Short of confidence in high-speed cornering
THE PRICE: LR4 HSE: AED 269,000 (with premium navigation and full leather seats), LR4 HSE LE: AED 239,000
After many drives involving slick and chic steering wheels, it felt good to hold on to a properly sized steering in the LR4. Getting a fix on its 375 hp is a headstrong screwdriver with 510 Nm of torque, available from 1700 to 5100 rpm. It fades only in comparison with the supercharged engine available in the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport.
The LR4, unlike the feeling it gave with its exceptional height, was very stable on highways, even at testing speeds. The top speed is limited to 195 kmph on a Speedo that shows only 220 – no pretentions there! Quick highway manoeuvres and lane changing also are tackled without any hesitation or hardship, and we even survived a make-do moose test at speeds I wholly don’t recommend.
The LR4 has a very smooth ride on its 19-inch wheels and the suspensions have good wheel travel, which contributes to the sway of the heavy car on quick bends. On the other hand, you can actually feel the suspension and the ride become taut and firm with a controlled delivery of power, once you take to the off road terrain.
Supported by the standard all wheel drive, five terrain modes, a hill descent control and height adjuster employing the air suspensions, the real fun lies in the outdoors and that’s what the LR4 is synonymous with.
The freely available torque occasionally surfaces on the steering but it makes the 0-100 timing of 7.9 seconds seem extremely probable. I couldn’t test it out. But the test-derived 6.25 kilometres per litre (around 16.04 per 100 km) is pretty justified consumption for a free breathing, 5L engine.
Interesting trivia: The new LR4 has a wading depth of 700mm and weighs around 2800kgs. The capability index of the new Range Rover Sport is actually pretty similar. The Range Rover Sport weighs 70kgs less and tops capability tests in its category.
I have not been as much a fan of the Land Rover as of the Range Rover, and this had mostly to do with its odd looking dimensions, and even the lump that makes it stand out right from mid-roof onwards. In fact, I used to joke that if the Land Rover were comfortable in the desert like a camel, it’s probably because it is the only SUV with a hump!
The Pursuit Package
This Land Rover LR4 that I’m driving is equipped with a “Pursuit Package”, which is supposed to make this car even more adaptable to the Middle East. It continues with the black theme, but with a bull bar in front of the grill, and hard plastic protection frames for the front and rear lamps. The 12000 dirhams package also makes space for a little ladder, that grants access to the extended roof rails. While the bull bar is a shield alright, it obscures the handsome grille, which again is reminiscent of the new Range Rover.
Cabin and controls
The Land Rover LR4 is a virtual glass case: a moving observatory. “See and be seen!” On the contrary, in the sound department, the LR4 cabin is very silent. No engine noise, no outside noises intruding… only the pleasant sound of the V8 engine on high revs. But as you pick up speed, the wind noise is quite high, as it keeps lapping at the pillars and the glass.
The arrangement of the A and B pillars is such that the view is unhindered and it doesn’t even need any blind spot assistance with those wide, large side view mirrors and that big, square rear windscreen, which gets its own wiper.
The hardly 7-inch wide navigation screen and the system itself are pretty much similar to what’s available on the Range Rover or the Jaguar. The navigation is slightly layered but well updated, and the rest of the stuff is quite simple to operate.
It was after long that I was sitting inside a car in which the central rear seat is not only fully useable, but even comfortable too. The coarse black leather seats provide ample support on long drives.
The sixth and seventh seats disappear under the boot floor making for loading space that is enormous. When brought up, the only downside is that there is not much space left to carry almost anything at all. The LR4 gets a lower tailgate, which opens out making for a very easy loading bay.
As in the new Range Rover, the LR4 has an extra mid-dash glove box besides the traditional one. There is a sunroof for every row of seat but it is not seamless glass – it has intervals that house the lights for the rear cabin area. The vaulted ceilings, the high roof, and the entire space dynamics of the cabin are so acoustic friendly, that you don’t mind locking yourself in for an absolutely exhilarating 17-speaker Harmon Kardon concert.
The large format windows of the Land Rover family bathes the whole LR4 cabin in sunlight and good cheer. Two of the moon roofs can be moved behind to let in the air as well. The only drawback is that there is a definite lack of privacy; I almost drove in to IKEA to buy curtains. After all that’s what we do to homes, to have nice curtains on the windows from which you peep out.
The Essential LR4
Land Rover is a classic. You either like it or you don’t, but it has got character. It drags the original spirit of its creation through the decades to keep it alive in its new spacious, adventure-loving framework.
In fact it would be quite right to say that there is none like this one. The new LR4 comes with the legendary ride height, and sweeping wheel arches that remind you of old military trucks, widely spread above those gigantic tires. Yes, paranormal and pricey – a deadly combination that makes for a niche that is an honour to be part of and totally justifies the choice, if it makes you feel at home!
Drive Courtesy: Al Tayer Motors, Dubai
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy