SENIOR MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: The LR4 has never been my first choice in the Land Rover range, mostly due to its exterior styling and proportions appearing a little dated to my eyes, but this mild refresh for the 2014 model year LR4 improves it a bit, and our test car's optional $3,500 Black Design Package even made me think it looks sharp, at least from certain angles.
The new 3.0-liter supercharged powertrain gets the job done; the ZF-supplied eight-speed changes up and down fluidly, and it seemed to find the right gear for each situation I found myself in. However, I do wonder how the power reduction would fare once I loaded the LR4 to its high roof with enough supplies to last a week in the GMC Yukon. This Land Rover’s curb weight alone exceeds two and a half tons; if I were a potential purchaser, I’d attempt to have a trailer nearby the dealership so I could load the LR4 up during my test drive, though I’d probably have to figure out a scheme to equip the SUV with a trailer hitch.
I’d like to test a base model LR4 sans the $18,000 worth of options this one arrived with because frankly, looking at the options list here, there aren’t many of add-ons I find especially necessary, but perhaps I would miss them more than I think I would if presented an LR4 without them. But the $10,200 Lux package, other than perhaps its outstanding Meridian sound system, I can live without. Ibid the aforementioned black package because, at $3,500, well, that’s a bit steep, especially if you’re actually going to use this vehicle off-road often and end up with the inevitable scrapes and scratches. Once that happens, exterior appearance probably isn’t top priority. Same goes for the $1,600 vision assist package with lighting and camera extras -- I’m happy to drive and see with my own eyes. But you will want, if you do plan off-road adventuring, the $1,350 heavy duty package that includes the two-speed transfer case, rock-crawl mode, full-size spare tire and locking rear diff. Hell, even if all you ever plan is to roam an ocean of concrete and asphalt, a Land Rover without those features is just, well, wrong.
Our 2015 LR4 came equipped with 3.0-liter supercharged V6.PHOTO BY LAND ROVER
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: The LR4s are my least favorite variety of Land Rover. I think the Range, Range Sport and Evoke are all better looking, if not as utilitarian. That being said, this particular 2014 Land Rover LR4 HSE looks pretty darn cool.
Power from the supercharged V6 is surprisingly acceptable. I actually thought it was the old 375-hp V8. This seems to perform a little smoother, and return nearly 20 mpg on the highway, which isn’t bad for a full-size SUV. Shifts from the eight-speed are smooth and getting into traffic with kickdown or two is no problem.
This SUV is a fishbowl and offers great views in every direction. The only time you need the cameras is when you’re parking, to notify you of something below the window line. I don’t like the defrosting lines in the windshield. Even though I can barely notice them, I feel like they would get annoying after a while. It looks like it might induce a headache, we’ll see if anyone else is annoyed by it.
So, you have a good seating position, all the controls are within reach and you gotta love the adjustable armrests. Something about them just feels…posh. The radio is nice and loud, and easy to use. It also hooked up with my phone instantly. I didn’t need to haul anything but it looks big in the back.
The two sunroofs let in a ton of light, which makes the cabin feel bigger than it is.
The as-tested price feels a little high, but one could ditch the optional $10,000 Lux package, and put this car in the $50K- range, which is where it belongs.
The $10k luxury package came with features like a Meridian sound system, ambient lighting, and upgraded leather.PHOTO BY LAND ROVER
ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: As others have mentioned, the black wheels and other black exterior trim pieces make this 2014 Land Rover HSE standout and look quite good for a tall box on wheels. It's perfect to turn heads as you cruise downtown... that is until someone with a Range Rover Supercharged shows you up.
I'm also surprised about how well the supercharged V6 moved all 5,600-pounds of LR4 around, but the 7.7 second 0-to-60 mph time that Land Rover claims is believable. The ZF eight-speed automatic transmission is -- as usual -- slick in operation with impeccable up- and downshifts. Handling behavior is what you expect for a vehicle with such a high ride height feeling a little tipsy around corners, but for the most part the suspension gives way to an acceptable amount of lean and delivers a decently damped ride. Steering is lightly weighted to make maneuvering the big lug around easy with quick response to inputs.
Inside the cabin, the materials all look good and the upright seating position is nice with a great view out all around you. Yes, the defroster heat elements in the front windshield do play tricks on your eyes -- especially at night -- but you will get used to them if you owned the car. The common disappointment I have with Land Rover and Jaguar products remains: the rear backup camera image quality on the center screen is not very good. When a Kia Rio's backup camera system has a crisper image than a Land Rover's, I think that's kind of embarrassing.
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