2018 Land Rover Lr4 Review

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Thirteen different systems and 23,000 lines of code. That’s how much computing power is needed in the 2017 Land Rover Discovery. No, not for the entire vehicle. Just the power folding seats, which can be raised and lowered using an app on your phone.

Historically, there’s been a tendency to view truly capable off-road vehicles as the big, dumb knuckle-draggers of the automotive kingdom. Pig-iron frames, gargantuan knobbly tires and oversized, dirty engines pushing coffee-can sized pistons. Perhaps better than any other vehicle on the market, this new Discovery proves just how outdated that notion is — not only is this British-built SUV a fully modern proposition, it’s one of the more involved and tech-rich vehicles on the road, thanks to its deeply complex off-road systems and considerable luxuries.

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It doesn’t take much more than a cursory glance to realize this Discovery isn’t just new, it’s a step change over the LR4/Discovery range that preceded it. To this point in its evolution, the Discovery has looked like a set of those Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls, each boxy, stepped-roof generation fitting neatly inside the next. And then there’s this new model, which has a vestigial roof kickup and a funky asymmetrical license plate pocket that’s a nod to past Discovery designs, but other than that, it looks very, very similar to other Land Rover models.

That means it’s handsomely modern, if somewhat indistinct from its stablemates. It’s also decidedly less brawny looking than its forbear. It’s not immediately clear if this slicker, more homogenized appearance will trouble faithful Discovery owners, but if I’m being honest, the new look doesn’t sit entirely well with me.

While the 2017 model’s more tailored flanks shout “urban sophisticate” more than they say “rugged outdoorsman,” the opposite is actually true. This isn’t just the most capable Discovery ever, it may be one of the fiercest off-roaders the Green Oval has produced.

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I should know: On our lengthy two-day drive event in the wide-open spaces along the gorgeous Utah-Arizona border, my gas- and diesel-powered Discovery testers scrambled up slippery rock formations, bombed over Martian sand dunes and juked their way through muddy river beds in highly entertaining fashion. Portions of our test route were genuinely tough — particularly the salmon-colored Coral Pink Dunes of Kanab, Utah, and on street-minded tires, the Discovery wasn’t completely infallible, but it was damn near, and it was unfailingly impressive.

Like any good workout regime, when it came time to develop this new Discovery, Land Rover engineers settled on a strict diet. Using a new aluminum-intensive monocoque instead of the old model’s unibody-with-frame construction has enabled weight savings of up to 1,000 pounds over its LR4 predecessor, yet the new chassis boasts superior rigidity and can tow a stout 8,200 pounds. Despite its newfound lightness, this Discovery is also substantially longer — some 5.5 inches — and it sits on a 1.5-inch longer wheelbase, all in a bid to maximize interior space.

The 2018 Land Rover Lr4 offers outstanding style and technology both inside and out. See interior & exterior photos. 2018 Land Rover Lr4 New features complemented by a lower starting price and streamlined packages. The mid-size 2018 Land Rover Lr4 offers a complete lineup with a wide variety of finishes and features, two conventional engines.

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