The dis­cov­ery of...

Wheels - - Contents -

the 2013 Land Lover LR4, aka the Dis­cov­ery

For 2013, the LR4 is look­ing bet­ter than ever and it’s thanks to a new Black De­sign Pack.

Imran Ma­lik takes the all-pur­pose beast for a spin. Im­ages: Dennis B Mal­lari

Build­ing a goodd

4x4 isn’t easy.easy Car­mak­ers ei­ther make themm too soft so thatth they floun­der in the roughgh or so tough that they rat­tle your teeth out on a smoos­mooth black top. Find­ing the right bal­ance has prove

proven tricky for some man­u­fac­tur­ersan­u­fac­tur­ers in­clud­ing Land Rover. It’s had its crit­ics over the yearsrs and gained a bit of a bad rep for re­li­a­bil­ity,li­a­bil­ity, but thattha was then. With over six decades in the biz, it’s been able to iron out the creases and nig­gles hin­der­ing its line-up to the ex­tent that the ve­hi­cles leav­ing the pro­duc­tion line in Soli­hull are some of the most sought-af­ter all over the world. They don’t get any more rugged than the Defender while the classy Range Rover com­bines lux­ury with ter­rific per­for­mance, but it’s the mid­dle child, the LR4, that strikes the best bal­ance. It’s ro­bust enough to han­dle the rough­est of ter­rains and fol­low­ing a quick rinse, it’s the per­fect ve­hi­cle to shep­herd the fam­ily in to­tal com­fort to din­ner in a swanky part of town. And now for 2013, it’s been made avail­able with a snazzy Black De­sign Pack. The big ques­tion is, will you want to get it dirty? As SUVs go, this one is rather good look­ing and thanks to the new aes­thetic de­tails, it re­ally stands out in a crowd. Those iconic boxy looks have been en­hanced with new 19in all-black painted Seven-Split Spoke al­loys, a gloss-black grille, fender vents, door han­dles, mir­ror caps and ‘Land Rover’ and ‘LR4’ badg­ing with satin black ex­tended roof rails. It’s a strik­ing pack­age and has given it a new lease of life. It’s still a pow­er­house per­former when you ven­ture off the beaten track thanks to its 375bhp 5.0-litre V8, mated to a six-speed au­to­matic, not to men­tion su­perb trac­tion courtesy of the full-time four-wheel drive sys­tem. With 510Nm of torque, you can be sure this isn’t go­ing to get bogged down in the sand, not with all the whizbangery on board that in­cludes Land Rover’s Ter­rain Re­sponse Sys­tem and Hill De­scent Con­trol. They’ll make the most novice of off-road­ers ap­pear like world beat­ers. It has five set­tings (gen­eral; grass/gravel/snow; sand; mud/ruts; and rock crawl), which op­ti­mises the mo­tor and ZF slush ’box and cal­i­brates the shocks and springs ac­cord­ing to the ter­rain you’re on. Just as im­pres­sive as its off-road ca­pa­bil­ity is its Ex­tended Leather Pack cabin, in­spired by the HSE Lux­ury Limited Edi­tion, im­pec­ca­bly crafted and lux­u­ri­ous to boot. You get

ev­ery­thing you could want in here; leather-up­hol­stered eight-way-power front seats, dual-zone au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol, key­less ig­ni­tion (and en­try), a power tilt-and-slide front sun­roof and a fixed rear sun­roof, Blue­tooth phone con­nec­tiv­ity, an 11-speaker 380-Watt Har­man/Kar­don Sys­tem with touch­screen con­trol, a CD player, not one but two USB ports, an iPod in­ter­face and an aux­il­iary au­dio jack. Yep, Land Rover hasn’t skimped on the stan­dard fea­tures. Seven adults will be happily seated in here and though this ve­hi­cle is de­signed for the great out­doors, it’s just as adept around town. Sure, it isn’t a full-on lux­ury SUV but it’s get­ting pretty close to the fi­nesse of the Rangey. I en­joyed many high­way treks and it never once put a foot wrong. Yes, it suf­fers body roll and the rackand-pin­ion power steer­ing re­quires a fair bit of ef­fort to ma­noeu­vre the 4,829mm long and 2,176mm wide 4x4, but it gets up to speed quickly enough, hit­ting the 0-100kph mark in 7.9 sec­onds and cruises mer­rily along. Stop­ping power comes from twin­pis­ton slid­ing cal­lipers with 360mm ven­ti­lated discs at the front and sin­gle pis­ton with 350mm ven­ti­lated discs at the rear. It sits 1,887mm high and of­fers su­perb vis­i­bil­ity all-round. This is a re­fined all-pur­pose bruiser that looks even bet­ter thanks to the gloss-black treat­ment. In fact, it may have be­come a lit­tle too at­trac­tive and if you have any qualms about get­ting it dirty, it’s un­der­stand­able.

“This is a re­fined all-pur­pose bruiser that looks even

bet­ter thanks to the gloss-black treat­ment.”

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