2010 Land Rover LR4 Preview
By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009
- New model name for 2010
- Based on the outgoing LR3's platform
- New 5.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 375 horsepower
- New 6-speed automatic transmission
- Freshened exterior design
- All-new interior with optional seating for 7
- Innovative LCD driver information screen
- Enhanced "Terrain Response" vehicle settings
Land Rover is a British company historically famous for its all-terrain sport utility vehicles. Each is designed with a rugged mission in mind, yet luxuriously outfitted to satisfy even the wealthiest clientele. In 1989, the company followed the success of its full-size Range Rover SUV with a smaller sibling called the Discovery. The 4-door Discovery arrived in the United States in 1994 and it was sold alongside the Range Rover. In 1999, Land Rover mildly reworked its original Discovery and re-introduced it as the second-generation model, aptly named the Discovery II. Production of the Discovery II ended after the 2004 model year. Although the follow-up model was technically the third-generation Discovery in other markets, Land Rover chose to give it a new identity and rebrand it as the all-new LR3 in North America.
The 2010 model, announced as the LR4, is not an all-new model. It is simply an extensive refresh of last year's LR3 model. In addition to the new moniker, it receives a new engine, reworked interior, exterior freshening, and revised electronics.
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Significantly updated, all variants of the 2010 Land Rover LR4 share new exterior styling with LED position lamps around the main headlamps, and new LED stop, tail, and indicator lights. The front bumper has also been revised to allow more cooling to the more powerful engine (resulting in aerodynamic changes that reduce drag and improve economy, Land Rover says).
The interior of the LR4 has been completely redesigned with smooth flowing surfaces and a simplified instrument panel. It utilizes a "thin film transistor" (TFT) driver information LCD screen that replaces the traditional round gauges with electronic images. The new center console is canted towards the driver to improve visibility and access to the various controls. The redesigned steering wheel features revised switch layouts for driving information, audio, cruise control, and steering wheel heat.
New passenger seating has been introduced in all rows of the LR4, offering extended seat cushions for additional support and comfort. The cabin trim has also been upgraded with a choice of natural-finish woods and high-quality leathers in contrasting colors to complement each other. White LED ambient lighting surrounds the interior door handles and pockets while subtle "mood lighting" blankets the interior at night.
While specific models have not yet been announced, it is expected that the 2010 Land Rover LR4 will offer a base model and several significant option packages (HSE, HSE Luxury, Cold Climate, Seven Seat Comfort, etc.). Announced options include an available surround camera system offering a near 360-degree view outside the vehicle, automatic high beam assist that electronically increases or dims the headlamps based on outside ambient light or oncoming traffic, and an upgraded navigation system that features a new easy-to-use menu structure.
Land Rover has equipped all LR4 models with a Jaguar-sourced, aluminum-block, 5.0-liter V-8 engine. With direct-injection technology, it is rated at 375 horsepower and 375 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a new ZF 6-speed automatic transmission designed to offer smoother shifts and improve fuel economy. According to Land Rover, the LR4 will now accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds. Although the engine is sourced from Jaguar, better known for luxurious road cars, the powerplant has been specifically modified for duty in the Land Rover LR4. The oil sump is deepened to provide additional lubrication during all-terrain driving at steep angles and the engine's major mechanical components are waterproofed for severe duty.
According to Land Rover, the LR4's independent front and rear double-wishbone suspension has been enhanced to improve ride quality, and the variable-ratio steering rack has been adjusted for better stability at high speeds and increased sensitivity at low speeds-giving the steering more precision in parking lots. New brakes, with larger rotors on both the front and rear axles, improve the stopping power of the 2010 Land Rover LR4, the company claims. All models wear standard 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels with 7-spoke 19-inch wheels optional. A 10-spoke, 20-inch wheel is also available from the factory.
Every 2010 Land Rover LR4 will be equipped with six standard air bags including driver and front passenger dual-threshold air bags, side thorax air bags, and head-protection side curtain air bags for each side of the vehicle. The front 3-point seat belts feature a pre-tensioning system and the headrests are now adjustable for height. All-terrain stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), and Hill Descent Control (HDC) are just some of the standard active safety features on every 2010 LR4 model.
The 2010 Land Rover LR4 is equipped with the latest version of Land Rover's "Terrain Response." This electronic system offers five different driver-selected settings to suit different driving conditions: General driving; Grass, gravel and snow; Sand; Mud and rocks; and Rock Crawl. While each slightly modifies the way the vehicle's traction control reacts to road surfaces, two new settings further extend the vehicle's all-terrain capabilities. The "sand" mode limits wheel slip to prevent the LR4 from "digging in" while traversing deep sand. The "mud and rocks" mode applies low-level brake pressure to reduce the vehicle's roll tendency giving it more composure through rocky terrain.
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