By KBB.com Editors
Although very few sport utility vehicle owners ever take their prized machines off-road, for those who do venture far from pavement it's tough to beat the 2008 Land Rover LR3. Even with its upscale status, the LR3 is known world-wide as one of the most capable off-road vehicles money can buy, although those that slog through the Amazon and across the Sahara typically don't have heated leather seats and high-end audio systems. Priced in the low $50,000 range, the LR3 borrows a host of technological advances from the larger Range Rover and packs them into a plush SUV that is both competent and affordable. A vastly improved quality and service record and improving resale values combine to make the LR3 a very competitive luxury SUV.You'll Like This Car If...
The 2008 Land Rover LR3 truly is the most competent SUV in its price range. If you and your family spend weekends traveling deep into unexplored territories, this vehicle stands a good chance of getting you there -- and back.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a sporting ride and reasonable fuel economy, the Land Rover LR3 isn't for you. Though it loves going off-road, it's capable but certainly not a sport sedan on pavement and the big, boxy shape and characteristics that enhance its off-road capabilities combine to work against decent fuel economy.What's New for 2008
The LR3 receives an eight-way power passenger seat, while a power steering-wheel adjuster is made standard on the HSE trim. The base V6 model has been dropped.Driving It Driving Impressions
The LR3 delivers a well-mannered day-to-day driving experience. Firm, comfortable seats complement a highway ride that is pleasantly in control -- not jarringly firm or overly soft. This well-balanced suspension also helps make the LR3 surprisingly competent on winding mountain roads. Of course, as a Land Rover, the LR3 is most amazing when taken past the pavement, and we never came close to the limits of its famously relentless off-road capabilities. In all conditions, the LR3's 300-horsepower V8 moves the vehicle eagerly, although we'd like to see a little quicker throttle response when moving from a stop.Favorite Features
Terrain Response System
Five Terrain Response settings -- General driving, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl -- make it easy to get maximum performance in a variety of conditions.
550-Watt Surround Sound
The available 14-speaker harman/kardon digital surround system delivers powerful, enveloping sound.
The interior faithfully conveys the LR3's overall balance of luxury and capability. Leather seating is firm but comfortable, the controls are rugged but refined and the LR3 is available in either five-passenger or three-row, seven-passenger configurations. Although the third row offers decent room, the seating mechanisms aren't as slick and easy to operate as we've experienced in the competition. In both versions, the rear seats fold flat to create a cargo area more than six feet long. Rear passengers enjoy elevated stadium-style seating, increased stepped-roof headroom and natural lighting with glass roof panels.Exterior
Viewed from the front, you'd be forgiven for mistaking the 2008 LR3 for its big brother, the Range Rover. The LR3 carries the extreme geometric styling all the way down the sides and around the back, and also has a few details from the former Discovery model it replaced. Trademark styling cues include a stepped roof, large windows and an asymmetric rear tailgate that lowers load height when closed and reduces reach-in distance when open.Notable Standard Equipment
Standard equipment on a LR3 SE includes a 4.4-liter V8 engine, the innovative Terrain Response System (offering five settings that adjust a variety of electronic factors to optimize the vehicle for the surface over which it's being driven), advanced four-wheel-disc braking system, power sunroof, leather seating, electronic stability control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, harman/kardon stereo with CD, power driver's and passenger's seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and front, front side-impact and three-row side-curtain airbags.Notable Optional Equipment
The Cold Climate Package adds heated first and second-row seating, heated windshield washer jets and a heated windshield, while the Technology Package includes DVD navigation, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Bluetooth. Other options include bi-xenon adaptive headlamps, a heavy-duty suspension package and premium leather upgrade.Under the Hood
Land Rover's 4.4-liter V8 packs the power and smoothness we expect from a Land Rover, yet delivers EPA fuel economy figures which are nearly as good as those of the discontinued V6.
300 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
315 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17
The Land Rover LR3 SE's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $49,000 and the HSE can run as high as $59,000 when fully loaded. Before you set out to buy, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which reflects the actual prices being paid at dealerships in your area. Although the 2008 Land Rover LR3 shows a vast improvement in resale over previous Land Rover models, it is expected to fall slightly behind the projected values of the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Acura MDX.