There are few vehicles on the road today that still maintain their iconic styling of the past, and while it is rare to see classic styling brought into the modern designs, Land Rover has done just that with the 2012 LR4. With a styling that is both rugged and elegant, the LR4 has the known capability of being able to handle many different terrains while also being a completely comfortable road cruiser. For some drivers this may be a too diverse of a vehicle, but for an active family on the go it fits the bill.
The interior is well appointed as well, bringing in the bold lines from the exterior with a strong mixture of technology of common sense. The steering wheel boasts controls for just about every component of the multimedia system, with clear-as-day buttons on the dash for everything else. The seats are wrapped in soft, plush leather with enough support to the side and on the back to be comfortable even on longer journeys.
There are aspects to the interior that are simple as well, reminding the passengers of the rugged nature of the Land Rover brand. The glass roofs can all be shaded by a non-electric shade, simple to open and close, and the seats folded completely flat for massive amounts of storage.
But the rugged history of Land Rover does not mean this thing is sparse on technology. From the common Bluetooth integration to voice commands, and the extremely detailed navigation system, all the way down to the air ride suspension, this vehicle is loaded to the teeth. Heated front and rear seats, a small fridge in the middle console, and USB charging spots inside the center lid all round out the total feel of technology meant for the family on the go.
Powered by a 375 horsepower 5.0 liter V-8, with an active 4wd drive train, the Land Rover is anything but weak, able to accelerate to any necessary speed without any hesitation. Estimated to only receive 12 miles per gallon in the city, and 17 on the highway, it’s also a thirsty engine. But, off the line acceleration is not everything for a vehicle of this nature, where there is a bigger desire to enjoy the drive to destination than get there quickly.
And that’s exactly what I loved about the LR4; it is a driver’s SUV, one that can go fast, does go fast, but does not need to in order to make a statement. With the styling and features, it feels perfect for hitting the mountains in the morning, then being able to fit in perfectly downtown for dinner. The mix of ruggedness and styling bring the full, well-rounded vehicle to form with every bit of the car.
This ride is not about being the biggest, the fastest, but the most flexible on the road, and it does it very well. For the mid-level Land Rover, it fits the bill of being well appointed without being outlandish, as the Range Rover feels at time. And fully loaded, it has all the bells and whistles that feel necessary in today’s technology driven era.
But, with all this love for the ride, I feel it misses the point in small areas. The voice command system is chaotic at best, with seemingly unnecessary steps added in just to make a call. The navigation was a bit too busy as well when driving on the highway, cutting the screen in half to show the upcoming exits automatically. The steering wheel is also extremely bulky, blocking the view of the speedometer while driving even through gentle turns. I would be remiss to not mention the questionable service history of the Land Rover rides as well, but there are hopes that new ownership of the brand has brought on increased attention to the old problem areas.
I will be honest when I say I didn’t want to like the Land Rover, with its consistent styling and maintenance history, but after a day of driving around, I couldn’t stop but truly enjoying every aspect of it. And day after day, I grew to love it more and more, and had to really work hard to find something I did not like.
With a strong mixture of city and highway driving, including a stint up to the mountains, I was actually shocked to see an average fuel consumption of 20 miles per gallon, even with a few spirited drives around town, beating out the EPA estimation. And while I tend to like vehicles that stand out a bit more in parking garages, the classic styling of the ride grew on me to the point I didn’t care that the Land Rovers seem to be everywhere.
While the Land Rover LR4 may be too much for some people, I truly feel it fits in with the lifestyle of the average Colorado resident. Oddly enough, I had a stronger urge to actually get out and explore with this ride than I have had before, and feel if this is what it takes to inspire and drive people to broaden the geographical horizons, then its worth the price paid.
It may not be the prettiest SUV on the road, or have the on-road handling capabilities of some higher end rides, but the Land Rover LR4 does what it is meant to do in a way that leaves nothing to wonder. From hitting the streets for a drive downtown to heading to the hills to find a new trail, the LR4 ensures the journey will not only be comfortable and safe, but ultimately still look good doing it years to come
Photos by Jason Brownstein