Posted Dec 22nd 2012 12:00PM
Living in the core of Canada's largest city, you're bound to see plenty of luxury vehicles on a regular basis. High-end cars are a plenty but when it comes to SUVs, it seems Land Rovers and Range Rovers are about as common as say, Ford Explorers in other parts of the country.
The brand does well here and we often question whether drivers really need all that rugged technology or are these stylish products just that, a fashion statement. Well, considering the number of urban-dwelling Land Rovers outnumbers the rural ones by thousands of units, we'll have to say that the combination of style and functionality sells a lot of them as opposed to their inherent off-road capability.
The design of the Land Rover LR4 has been around for a while and even carries over the raised roof cue from the old Discovery. We still like the flush-glazed rear windows, massive tailgate opening and the distinct LED and HID lighting on the LR4. Finished in Santorini black metallic with matching ebony leather, our top of the line HSE Lux was oozing class. The base price is $70,790 for the LR4 HSE Lux but our tester climbed over $75-grand once it was loaded with options.
Comfortable and functional, this SUV offers more driving dynamics than one might be used to in an SUV. The V8 is eager and hauls the LR4 around with ease, it also amps up the towing capacity to 7,716 lbs or 3,500 kg for jaunts to the cottage with recreational vehicles in tow. The LR4 HSE Lux is most certainly has a ride quality that is easy to live with and excellent visibility from its substantial greenhouse.
- Borrowed from the Jag line, the 32-valve 5.0-litre V8 is more than up to the task. The acceleration is impressive and the 6-speed transmission well suited for the powertrain. For a large AWD brick of a vehicle, it will rip a 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of only 7.9-seconds.
- With 2,557 litres of cargo area with the seats down, there is plenty room to haul all kinds of larger items. With five seats occupied, the cargo area can accommodate enough luggage for a weekend family getaway. The Lux also has relatively comfortable third-row seating as standard equipment.
- The AWD drivetrain and adjustable suspension is one of the most advanced in the world with settings for: normal, grass/gravel/snow, sand, mud, ruts and yes even rock crawl! The suspension can be raised a full 12.5 cm (4.92-inches) giving it all kinds of ground clearance.
- This SUV can go places, although we didn't check this out, the LR4 can wade through water up to 70 cm, that's over two feet deep that Land Rover will guarantee. Land Rover may have gone upscale but they all can tackle the wilderness, a quality that will never disappear.
- Our tester came equipped with a mini-fridge in the centre console (standard on Lux) and it also had two USB connections to boot, one for iPhone, one for a USB key - genius. All cars should have these features!
- One issue we had in the cabin can't really be fixed and that would be the front windshield defroster system. After a while, the tiny squiggle elements are all we focused on and we'd rather use an ice scraper than have to stare at those, thanks.
- While fuel economy is challenged in the city at 17.1 L/100km, we did observe sub 10 L/100km while cruising at highway speeds.