The Land Rover LR3 is the third generation of the Land Rover Discovery, a midsize sport utility vehicle (SUV) designed to combine the off-road characteristics of the Land Rover brand with a more affordable SUV that would appeal to a greater number of drivers. Unfortunately, the LR3 is also known for being one of the most unreliable cars on the road.
The Land Rover LR3s first incarnation was as the Land Rover Discovery, the first midsize SUV from the company that produced the Land Rover series of off-road capable vehicles. In 1989, the first Land Rover Discovery was rolled out, with the original Land Rover becoming the Land Rover Defender. The Discovery Series I lasted until 1998, when it was replaced by the Discovery Series 2. In 2004, Land Rover made a change in the way its cars were badged in North America, and made its second generation Freelander the LR2. Following suit, the Discovery, which was about to be in its third generation as of 2004, became the LR3. The LR3 continued in production until the year 2008, when it was replaced by the next generation of this vehicle, which continuing the new naming convention, became the LR4.
The 2009 Land Rover LR3 did a good job of combining off-road capability and on-road comfort, but reliability was a big issue for this model. The 2009 LR3 had only one trim level, but most of the HSE trim features were still available as an option package.
One of the most appealing features of the 2009 Land Rover LR3 was its 4.4-liter, V-8 engine, linked to a six-speed, shiftable automatic transmission, which provided drivers with 300 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque. This all-wheel drive vehicle could also tow up to 7716 lbs. with a maximum payload of 1325 lbs. The 2009 Land Rover LR3 was designed to seat five, with a cargo capacity of 44.5 cu. ft., expandable to 90.3 cu. ft. Fuel economy for the 2009 Land Rover LR3 was a not particularly impressive 12/17 mpg city/highway.
The luxury oriented 2009 Land Rover LR3 featured eight way power adjustable leather bucket front seats, with power adjustable lumbar support for the driver. It offered power door locks, mirrors and windows and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with power steering and audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel. Other comfort features included a leather steering wheel, wood and alloy trim and dual zone climate controls. Entertainment was offered in the way of a nine-speaker AM/FM CD MP3 system with Harman/Kardon premium speakers.
Exterior features on this LR3 included a power glass sunroof and fixed glass rear sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, a fixed liftgate window, and a rear split liftgate door. Safety features included a four-wheel antilock braking system, front and rear ventilated disc brakes, front and rear head airbags, and dual front side-mounted airbags, stability and traction control, electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist, and tire pressure monitoring.
Past generations of the LR3 were known as Land Rover Discovery models. The first of these, the Land Rover Discovery Series 1, first appeared in 1989 and was notable for being a Land Rover that made it a point to emphasize luxury. The main engine of the Land Rover Discovery Series I was a 4.0-liter V-8 that delivered 182 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque. The engine was linked to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. It was available as a three-door or five-door model and had full all-wheel drive, as opposed to earlier Land Rovers which featured switchable all-wheel drive.
The vehicle that immediately preceded the LR3 was the Discovery Series 2, which came in various trim levels, from the SD, LE and SE trim options in the early years to the S, SE, and HSE in the final year. When the Discovery Series 2 became the LR3, the trim levels were ultimately dropped with the HSE becoming an options package.
The third generation of this vehicle was the only one to actually be called the LR3, though it was very similar in appearance to the Discovery 2. The full independent suspension of this model enabled drives to lower or raise the vehicle depending on whether it was needed for off-road or on-road use. Engine options on this five-door SUV linked to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission included a 2.7-Liter TurboDiesel, a 4.0-liter V-6, or a 4.4-liter V-8. The LR3 was designed with Integrated Body Frame, a combination of the unibody frame and the classic ladder-frame. Features like a rear locking differential, Hill Descent Control and Electronic Traction Control helped drivers stay in control of the LR3 during tough conditions.