KBB Editors' Overview
By Zach Vlasuk
- Updated Date: 3/1/2012
Today, American roadways are practically teeming with car-based luxury SUVs, but the 2012 Land Rover LR4 preserves the English marque's traditional recipe of blending exceptional off-road capability with modern luxury vehicle refinement. The LR4's deftness in the dirt is owed to its impressive arsenal of off-road features, which include 4-corner air suspension, a multi-terrain traction control system and an available locking rear differential. Among mid-size challengers such as the Lexus GX, Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the Infiniti JX, the Land Rover LR4 offers a distinctive taste of classic English craftsmanship steeped in iconic heritage.
You'll Like This Car If...
If your definition of go-anywhere versatility involves family ventures off the beaten path as opposed to frequent weekend trips to Home Depot, the 2012 Land Rover LR4 suitably fits the bill.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a 7-passenger luxury SUV and extraordinary off-road capability ranks low on your priority list, the superior handling and significantly more fuel efficient Infiniti JX or the Acura MDX are worth a closer look.
What's New for 2012
The Land Rover LR4 receives a series of audio and navigation system upgrades for the 2012 model year.
Whereas the vast majority of luxury SUVs employ a unitized body for greater on-road comfort, the 2012 Land Rover LR4 soldiers on as a conventional body-on-frame SUV. Despite its rigid construction, the LR4 delivers a supple ride that belies its truck-based platform. The LR4 tackles U-turns and tight corners with sedan-like poise thanks to its 37.5-foot turning radius (shorter than a Honda Accord sedan). The potent 375-horsepower V8 performs brilliantly both on and off-road, though it devours an overwhelming amount of fuel. When the roads begin to bend, however, the top-heavy design of the Land Rover LR4 produces excessive body lean in high-speed turns and ultimately hinders confidence behind the wheel. With a reinforced ladder frame, sophisticated 4-wheel-drive system and height-adjustable air suspension, the LR4's natural habitat clearly lies outside the confines of urban civilization. So to help even the most inexperienced drivers overcome extreme off-road situations, the LR4 comes equipped with the Terrain Response system, which improves traction and overall drivability on a variety of terrain conditions with the turn of a dial.
4-CORNER AIR SUSPENSION
When the going gets tough, the LR4 gets going. A simple push of a button and the LR4's electronically modulated air suspension raises the ride height by nearly five inches, making quick work of tall obstacles that would stop lesser vehicles in their tracks.
HILL DESCENT CONTROL
Land Rover believes you don't need to be an off-road aficionado to enjoy the world's most demanding trails. Supplementing the Terrain Response system is Hill Descent Control, which lets you automatically maintain a relaxed, consistent speed down steep grades, all without ever touching the pedals.
Land Rover designers possess a brilliant talent of constructing a cabin that emanates the upscale ambiance of a modern luxury vehicle with the rugged feel of a serious off-roader, and the LR4 delivers this unique character in spades. In terms of everyday versatility, the LR4 is a capable performer, with an available 35:30:35 split second-row seat and a third-row seat that folds flat to reveal 76.8 cubic feet of cargo space. While the LR4's cargo area may not be as cavernous as its competitors, it does offer a class-exclusive folding tailgate that makes loading cargo easier. Interior controls are also unexpectedly intuitive and legibly labeled – a welcome change from Land Rovers of yesteryear.
The 2012 LR4 shares the majority of its design DNA with Land Rover's legendary flagship model, the Range Rover. Beyond the familiar boxy silhouette, the LR4 boasts a distinctive arrangement of LED headlamp accents along with aggressive, off-road-inspired overfenders. At first glance, you might ponder the idea of buying a step ladder before entering the LR4. To our surprise, step-in height is quite manageable, particularly with the air suspension at its lowest setting. Whereas the standard 18-inch wheels and tires are the ideal setup for off-road adventures, Land Rover recognizes the demands of its core customers and offers a choice of flashy 20-inch alloy wheels.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2012 Land Rover LR4 is available in three generously appointed trims: Base, HSE and Lux. Standard fare across the lineup includes rain-sensing windshield wipers, a panoramic roof with a power front moonroof, Terrain Response, air suspension, electronically controlled 4-wheel-drive, and a 7-inch color touch screen. Moving up to the HSE model adds a third-row seat for 7-passenger capacity, a backup camera and Jaguar/Land Rover's latest navigation system. Meanwhile, the range-topping Lux trim will net you heated seats, high/low beam xenon headlights and premium audio. Safety comes in the form of six airbags, all-terrain antilock brakes and electronic stability control with rollover mitigation.
Notable Optional Equipment
To avoid swapping paint with hidden objects, the 2012 LR4 offers the Vision Assist Package with a 360-degree Surround Camera System. Additionally, restless rear-seat passengers will find relief in the available the DVD entertainment system, complete with two headrest-mounted displays, wireless headphones and a remote. Unlike the Acura MDX, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the Infiniti JX, the 2012 Land Rover LR4 does not offer adaptive cruise control or a pre-collision system.
Under the Hood
The sole powertrain combination for the 2012 Land Rover LR4 is a torque-rich V8 matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission. In addition to driver-adaptable shift programming, the automatic gearbox features a sporty sequential mode that quickens shift times by ten percent. We understand that a 5.0-liter V8 hauling over three tons of automobile will inherently guzzle fuel like it's going out of style, but during our road test we found ourselves struggling to breach the 15 mpg mark. When it came time to fill-up, the big V8's unquenchable thirst for premium fuel left a sizable dent in our corporate wallet.
375 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
375 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2012 Land Rover LR4 is right around $50,000. The 7-seat HSE trim adds about $4,200 to the starting price, while a fully-loaded LR4 Lux tips the scales at $68,000. Our Fair Purchase Price located at the bottom of this page shows what consumers in your area are paying for their LR4s, so be sure to give it a look before heading to the dealership. On the value front, the 2012 LR4's comparatively high starting price combined with historically low residual values yield a bang-for-the-buck quotient that's mediocre at best.