Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover LR4 car test drives luxury cars landrover
Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover LR4 car test drives luxury cars landrover
2014 Land Rover LR4. Click image to enlarge

Review and Photos by Jeff Wilson

Sometimes it all comes down to simple, inexplicable emotion. Nothing more than “just ‘cuz I like it” to justify an obscenely impractical and expensive purchase.

I don’t run an African safari tour. My commute to work does not require me to fashion a bridge out of felled trees in order to traverse a piranha-filled river. And even our recent long, miserable winter does not qualify for cross-tundra travel conditions.

So why the heck did I fall for the Land Rover LR4 – a vehicle completely unjustified for my lifestyle?

There are a number of reasons actually, not the least of which is that it is a bit gratuitous. The attention one receives for driving an expensive or interesting car is a guilty pleasure that never grows old for me. I’m unlikely to ever enjoy any significant celebrity of my own accord (notoriety, possibly; celebrity, nah), so being noticed for what I’m driving is kind of fun. Plus it often encourages strangers to talk to me about cars, and I enjoy that.

The LR4 generated a surprising amount of attention. I say surprising since the Greater Toronto Area in which I live is littered with a near-endless supply of Range Rovers and Range Rover Sports. Strange then that the cheaper sibling turned so many heads, but indeed it did.

Then again, the Land Rover is a bit of an odd-looking machine. The Rover-family LED light treatment at the front grabs the attention of passersby, but it’s the unusually tall greenhouse that surely makes people gander a while longer.

Finished in “Fuji white” as my test car is, some Catholics likely expected to see Frances being driven around town in what would surely make a great off-road version of the Pope-mobile.

Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover LR4 car test drives luxury cars landrover Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover LR4 car test drives luxury cars landrover Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover LR4 car test drives luxury cars landrover
2014 Land Rover LR4. Click image to enlarge

And despite being too tall to actually fit in my garage thanks to the optional roof racks, the Crystal Cathedral-on-Wheels affords passengers in all seating positions a spectacular view and an abundance of headroom. I cannot recall another three-row vehicle that I’ve been in lately short of a proper van that’s had as accommodating a third-row perch as the LR4. Properly tall seatbacks, recessed foot wells and those giant windows all make the back of the bus a decent place to be even if you’re of average adult size. Plus a third-row sunroof means you won’t miss the giraffes on your safari either.

Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover LR4 car test drives luxury cars landrover
Test Drive: 2014 Land Rover LR4 car test drives luxury cars landrover
2014 Land Rover LR4. Click image to enlarge

Moving forward in the cabin, the accommodations only get better.

Second-row passengers enjoy their own climate controls and seat heaters, and the expedition leaders in the LR4’s two front seats will appreciate the pedestals from which they’ll be able to see for miles in all directions (okay, maybe not miles, but pretty far).

My test rig had an extra $1,100 in “Extended Windsor Leather” covering the dash and other trim bits. It feels and smells great, but otherwise, much of the rest of the dash materials, though soft to touch, do look a little low rent compared to the Range Rover siblings.

Appearances aside, they are ergonomically quite good enabling easy and precise control of climate and the great sounding Meridian 11-speaker audio system. While other recent models of Jaguars and Rovers are doing away with the rising-rotary-knob gear selector, the LR4 wears it for the first time this year. For what it’s worth, I really like it and find it convenient and easy to use, especially compared to the convoluted push-me-pull-you levers found in most Euro cars these days.

One negative of the cockpit is the infotainment screen, which is small, and dull compared to the industry standard and the navigation system is slow to respond and often confused.




About Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson is a Hamilton-based automotive journalist and accredited member of AJAC. When not pursuing his automotive passions, he divides his time between being a dad, husband and television producer.