Review | Interior - Exterior

2014 Land Rover LR4 Walk Around

Like its upmarket brethren, the Range Rovers, the Land Rover LR4 presents an excellent familiar shape that manages to pull off both boxy and, thanks to rounded edges at every opportunity, svelte if not sleek.

The LR4 grille features two horizontal bars with perforations that suggest eggcrate but don't really say Land Rover, despite the badge that literally says so. The big headlamps at each end of the grille might do more to establish the identity, as they reflect the all-business nature of the Land Rover: They're out there and ready to work, with twin round beams inside, LED parking lights at their edges, above round projector-beam foglamps on the fascia below the grille.

The sheetmetal is softened by rounding from the hood down to the grille and, more distinctively, behind the headlamps to the fenders. All in all, it's a good-looking front end for a big SUV, including the nice touch of alloy-colored vents on each front fender behind the wheel, in recognizable eggcrate mesh.

The fender flares are smoothly full, consistent with the LR4's other rounded edges, and Land Rover says the front flares actually reduce aerodynamic lift. The standard 19-inch wheels and 55-profile tires seem less suited to serious off-roading than, say, a smaller-diameter rim wrapped in a meatier sidewall, but they are what the market demands. At least the 19-inch alloys feature a sturdy, all-business seven-spoke design, while both of the 20-inch options are a bit frillier.

Maybe the best view of the Land Rover is one people won't see unless they're 10 feet tall, the view looking down on the roof. The privacy glass on the third side window wraps up to the big dark Alpine roof that exposes the sky to the passengers inside, and forward of that is the power sunroof that's not quite so wide. From above, it sets the Land Rover apart and makes one realize what a special vehicle this is.

From the rear, it's unmistakably Land Rover, with the stepped rear hatch and the massive vertical taillamps, all business like the front headlamps.

Interior

The LR4 interior is a nearly complete success in terms of comfort, luxury and utility. Everything in the cockpit is luxurious to the eye and hand, and the quality of the interior materials is about as high as it gets, beautifully fit and finished.

Not surprisingly, it's impressively comfortable and quiet. Controls are relatively easy to understand and use, but excessive use of icons and symbols demands study of the owner's manual. Owners who plan to take advantage of the LR4's many off-road capabilities and other features have plenty of buttons to contend with

Placing many accessory functions on the touch screen at the center of the instrument panel means that not as many switches or knobs are needed. A thin film transistor (TFT) driver information screen within the instrument cluster can display audio information, phone book entries and navigational direction symbols (augmenting the main navigation screen). White-on-black lettering on that small screen is tiny, though clear. The phone book function can store several thousand entries. Turn signals make enough of a sound to help prevent leaving them on accidentally.

The LR4 has an innovative setup with the second row: a 35/30/35 rear seat with each section folding flat, to afford limousine-like leg room in the third row, or to accommodate combinations of cargo and passengers. The front-row power seats are beautifully stitched, supportive and comfortable. The thick multi-function steering wheel mounts a complete set of controls for audio, telephone and cruise control.

The optional Surround Camera system uses five cameras, two facing forward, one on either side of the truck facing down, and one at the rear to give a near-360-degree view of surroundings. Camera views can be selected from the touch screen, and the view can be zoomed if necessary. Remarkably, it shows you exactly where your trailer is headed during backup maneuvers, guiding you to the correct spot. This feature was developed for this reason, but also for checking ground clearances and terrain when driving off-road.

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