2008 Land Rover LR3 Performance
This performance review was written when the 2008 Land Rover LR3 was new.
The 2008 Land Rover LR3 ranks at the top of the class for performance, thanks to good on-road handling and excellent off-road capabilities.
Edmunds notes that "the LR3's need for frequent gas station breaks isn't very family-friendly." Even so, Kelley Blue Book says that it handles well, and is "most amazing when taken past the pavement."
Acceleration and Power
For 2008, Land Rover has dropped the base V6 engine in favor of a universal 4.4-liter V8 that was previously only available on the higher trim or for an extra cost. Since most reviewers, including Popular Mechanics, found the 2007 LR3 "a bit too heavy for a six-cylinder engine," its replacement with the V8 should alleviate some concerns.
The 4.4-liter V8 engine makes 300 horsepower and 315 pound-feet of torque. Nevertheless, some reviewers still complain of a lack in power. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman asserts, "There is at least one outright shortfall under the hood, where even the top-line 300-horsepower V-8 engine seems underpowered." Consumer Guide adds, "V8 delivers good, not great, scoot in this weighty SUV." While some reviewers like Edmunds claim that "acceleration and cruising are effortless," most reviewers disagree. In fact, Kelley Blue Book asserts, "We'd like to see a little quicker throttle response when moving from a stop." NewCars.com explains, "Torque is the force that lets you accelerate quickly, and in this respect, the Land Rover LR3 isn't much more powerful than the average luxury SUV." Nevertheless, MSN concedes that although acceleration is "not neck-snapping," it's still pretty "brisk."
With an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 12 miles per gallon in the city and 17 on the highway, reviewers are almost universally disappointed. "Horrendous fuel economy," exclaims U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman. Kelley Blue Book adds, "If you're looking for a sporting ride and reasonable fuel economy, the LR3 isn't for you."
Every LR3 comes equipped with a standard six-speed adaptive automatic transmission with CommandShift Mode -- which leaves many reviewers altogether unimpressed. "The six-speed automatic transmission doesn't work terribly well with the engine, either. Downshifts and upshifts are occasionally poorly timed," says Cars.com. Nevertheless, some reviewers point to the LR3's CommandShift Mode as a major perk. New Car Test Drive boasts that it "allows the driver to hold on to a gear when desired, as when climbing a hill or pulling a load." Cars.com states that drivers who are unsatisfied by the way the LR3's transmission operates, can just as easily "use CommandShift to select your own gears."
Handling and Braking
While writers at Automobile Magazine state that the LR3's sheer size and weight make it feel like "a big, heavy brick on wheels," they concede that it's "quite refined and much nimbler than its predecessor." Other auto writers generally agree, and add that although it handles well on pavement, off-road is where it really shines. "LR3 handles the toughest of off-road obstacles brilliantly, yet is comfortable on rush-hour freeways," says New Car Test Drive. Cars.com adds, "You're aware that heavy-duty underpinnings are carrying you down the road, but the end result is more like a sport sedan than a rough-and-tumble truck."
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering with engine-speed-sensitive power assist comes equipped on every LR3 -- and leaves a number of reviewers impressed. According to Car and Driver, "It has the same fluid steering and power delivery as the top-of-the-line Range Rover." New Car Test Drive adds, "Steering is notably solid and progressive, and very little road vibration is transmitted through the thick steering wheel." While Cars.com refers to the LR3's steering feel as "satisfying," Edmunds boasts of it being "responsive."
All LR3 trim-levels are outfitted with an Electronic 4-Corner Air Suspension (4CAS) system that reviewers found generally pleasing. Car and Driver calls it "tough."
Automobile.com explains, "The LR3 makes up for road imperfections with a firm but sympathetic suspension setup, and manages high speed sections as well as tighter curves with uncanny stability." While Consumer Guide notes that "rear-seat passengers notice some hop on rough roads," the asserts that it's "good for everyday travel" and MSN claims that it's also capable of "keep[ing] things serene during off-road motoring."
Every 2008 LR3 comes equipped with a four-channel, four-wheel, all-terrain Anti-lock Brake System (ABS). Moreover, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Cornering Break Control (CBC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Active Roll Mitigation (ARM), Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), and Hill Descent Control (HDC) all come standard.
With such a wide array of braking systems working in combination, it's no surprise reviewers widely praise the LR3 for its ability to stop in everyday and emergency situations. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman says that it's "a reassuring sign of safety-conscious engineering." New Car Test Drive adds, "Braking is remarkable, both in terms of overall feel and sheer stopping power. The pedal is progressive, with no vibration coming through, and it always feels like there is more stopping power readily at hand." Edmunds admiringly notes that "despite the SUV's heft, the four-wheel disc brakes never feel overwhelmed and stop this big heavy beast from 60 mph in a very short 117 feet. That's sports car braking performance." Auto Mall USA sums it up best: "The LR3 incorporates the latest in electronic systems, which select the best combination of traction, power, gearing, and braking to suit any type of terrain and surface, to put serious off-road trekking within the reach of most enthusiasts."
Overall, auto reviewers offer strong and consistent praise for the LR3's ability to handle off-road terrain. "In spite of its upscale status, the LR3 is known world-wide as one of the most capable off-road vehicles money can buy," says Kelley Blue Book. This is partly because the LR3 is run on a four-wheel-drive (4WD) configuration with Electronic Traction Control (ETC), a two speed electronic transfer gearbox, and Land Rover's impressive "Terrain Response" system. Edmunds asserts, "Even though the LR3 is polished on the pavement, it hasn't sacrificed any of Land Rover's legendary off-road prowess." While the boasts that it'll "literally walk over the rocks," Car and Driver claims, "A Land Rover LR3, even with ‘just' the V-6 engine -- will go through muck that would stop a camel."
Every 2008 LR3 comes standard with Land Rover's "Terrain Response" system -- which, according to the MSN explains that each setting "changes suspension and powertrain electronic calculations to suit general driving and various treacherous on- and off-road slippery conditions-including "rock crawl" during low-speed, off-pavement driving." After using the system in the Andes, MSN reports that they, "could not believe some of the Andean obstacles the LR3 clawed its way over.", "through a dial on the center console, allows you to choose five different types of terrain -- ‘grass/gravel/snow, rock crawl, mud/ruts, sand' and normal highway."