The even wilder Rover

A five-litre V8 housed in a supremely luxurious yet surprisingly rugged body – it has to be the best Land Rover of them all, the LR4

By David Light

Published: Sat 21 Aug 2010, 10:36 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 12:06 PM

I’m sure I’m not alone when I tell you that sometimes when sat watching TV and an advert comes on for an SUV that shows it careering over mountains and wading through rivers, I may question whether that particular model can actually complete such feats. In the same way I used to watch Baywatch and see the slightly overweight, almost always ‘tired and emotional’ David Hasselhoff jump off a pier in order to prevent a nuclear holocaust, I view many of these commercials as what those in the legal profession term mere puffs.

Perhaps I am a little too cynical. Many SUVs have surprised me in the past, but I can’t help that niggling feeling in the back of my mind when the announcer tells me that something, which looks as if Woody Allen could roll it over if he was in an uncharacteristically bad mood, could make it down the Grand Canyon and back up again.

Thankfully Land Rover has never suffered from this problem. The company has built its sturdy name by producing even sturdier cars and, if anything, has had a job convincing consumers that the vehicles are comfortable enough to drive in everyday surroundings and not just road-legal tanks. Mention Land Rover and, for me, one of three images is usually conjured up. The first is that of a 1940s British colonial administrator tearing around some far-flung outpost. The second is of a country gent surveying his land in the rolling hills of Oxfordshire. And the third is of Angelina Jolie as her Lara Croft alter ego racing through the jungle in her Defender (guess which one gets the most mileage when I’m daydreaming). In short Land Rover has more than proved its chops at displaying off-road capabilities over the years but is it, and the LR4 in particular, up to scratch when trying to prise people away from its traditionally softer and more suave Range Rover cousin. In short yes.

With the LR4 you get the best of both worlds. Purchase one and you’ll own a fully comprehensive off-road vehicle, but with an enhanced cabin, exterior and engine configuration you’ll also have a classic car for your daily needs. The new 5.0 litre LR-V8 engine develops 375 bhp giving a 0-100km/h time of 7.9 seconds. Now, that is pretty quick for a four-wheel-drive and I have to say feels even quicker when sat behind the wheel. The ride is especially smooth when you consider the size of the car, and where sometimes on sharp corners I have a genuine concern that some SUVs will tip over (even though I know that actually that would be near impossible) I didn’t have a single worry in this one.

What made the LR4 stand out for me though was the upmarket interior. The maker has really taken due time and consideration at getting this car just right inside. It’s so comfortable you often forget you’re in an off-roader and the quality of the materials used to put it together is second to none. The gadgets are absolutely superb, a particular highlight being the surround camera system to give a near 360-dgree outside view for parking and off-road manoeuvring and on the entertainment side, easy iPod connectivity.

During my time with the LR4 I felt there was no situation that it couldn’t handle and the look of the vehicle made me want to be in it all the time. It is a truly stunning looking thing and has certainly given its until now prettier Range Rover relatives a run for their money.

With Eid just round the corner and if you’re in the market for a new car, you may just want to check this one out.

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