2009 Land Rover LR3

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2009 Land Rover LR3 Review

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 2009 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 2009 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 2009

Minor changes include color-keyed exterior trim pieces around the wheel arches, lower tailgate and lift handle, as well as new 19-inch wheels. The LR3 is the only trim offered this year, with HSE and HSE LUX now offered as optional packages.

Driving the LR3
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.

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.

2009 Land Rover LR3 Details
2009 Land Rover LR3 photo Interior

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.

2009 Land Rover LR3 photo

Viewed from the front, you'd be forgiven for mistaking the 2009 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 long-running 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 Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard equipment on a LR3 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, rear park distance control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, 240-watt harman/kardon stereo with six-disc in-dash CD changer, power driver's and passenger's seats, 19-inch alloy wheels and front, front side-impact and three-row side-curtain airbags.

Optional Equipment

The HSE Package adds DVD-based navigation, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, the Cold Climate package, front park distance control, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a driver's information center. To this the HSE LUX adds 19-inch slotted seven-spoke wheels, premium leather seating with memory settings for the driver's seat, mirrors and steering wheel, a 550-watt harman/kardon LOGIC 7 audio system, Bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive front lighting and a center console cooler box. Individual options include a third row seat, rear-seat DVD entertainment system and rear climate control.

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.

4.4-liter V8
300 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
315 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17

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