Flash Drive: 2009 Land Rover LR3
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2005 to 2009.
By Staff of MSN Autos
Land Rover's LR3 hasn't changed much in style or purpose over the last few years. This classic SUV is designed to go off-road, capable of handling just about any terrain. A dial in the center console allows the driver to select the terrain for the proper setup. Unfortunately, most buyers will never have any reason to touch that dial — I guess some buyers like the idea of the LR3's capability even if they have no plans to use it. For everyday use, the rear seat is roomy but somewhat stiff. Cargo space is plentiful, and the short tailgate makes loading easy. A 300-horsepower V8 engine is under the hood, but it's just adequate for moving the almost 3-ton Land Rover. Unless you're planning an off-road excursion or feel the need to be seen in a Land Rover, there are a lot of other SUV choices to consider. – Perry Stern
The Land Rover LR3 continues the Land Rover legacy as a large, heavy SUV with tremendous off-road capability that is now further enhanced by electronic driving aids. Laden with serious off-road hardware, a powerful V8 engine and luxury amenities, the LR3 pays a heavy price at the gas pump with EP fuel economy ratings of 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway. The ride is luxurious, but the handling is anything but nimble. For 2009, the LR3 is more refined, with body-colored bumpers, body-colored wheel arches and standard 19-inch wheels. Driving it is a constant reminder that a Land Rover is the vehicle of choice for British royalty traveling to a polo match. The LR3 is the perfect vehicle for a person who needs 4-wheel-drive capability on a daily basis, prefers to travel in luxury and has an unlimited fuel budget. – Mike Meredith
The Land Rover LR3 is an attractive SUV. It has useful cargo space and a handy tailgate to sit on while you're out doing whatever it is people do in Land Rovers. Of course the LR3 feels capable of anything and gives you the comfort to know you could drive over almost any conceivable road — the adjustable ride height, special "descent" mode for super steep hills and Land Rover's reputation convince you of that. But those are all only theoretical benefits for the vast majority of LR3 buyers. The concrete and relevant truth is that the LR3 managed a best of only 13.5 mpg while in my care and requires premium fuel! There is simply no way that I can imagine using the off-road features enough to justify the LR3 in a normal family. – Paul Hagger
A few years ago, Land Rover replaced the aging Discovery with the LR3 and revolutionized the midpriced sport ute category in the process. The LR3 offers a unique mix of sophisticated technology, refined looks and build quality, tremendous off-road capability and composed on-road performance in a sleek-looking package. Refreshed for 2009, the latest LR3 borrows key exterior styling cues from its more luxe sibling, the Range Rover, to great effect. Inside, it's not posh, but it certainly isn't bare-bones, either. Even the base-model LR3 SE offers 19-inch wheels, leather seating, a sunroof, a 9-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and a third row of seats. Behind the wheel, I would like to see better throttle response when accelerating from a stop. But otherwise, the big beast packs plenty of power and shifts gears smoothly. The ride is a bit firm, which is fine on the highway, but can be a bit fatiguing around town. And while it handles better than most truck-based SUVs, it's not quite as good as a crossover. Overall, the LR3 delivers a pleasant driving experience and looks great, on or off the pavement. My only real knocks are the price tag and fuel economy — it's pricey and it's a guzzler. – Chuck Tannert