2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE
Land Rover once used the slogan "The best 4x4xfar," and we have to agree for the 2011 model year. We may have snickered at this latte-sipping luxo-truck when it arrived, but by the end of the week we were all digging out our kahki shirts and buttoning up our sleeves. The Land Rover PR guys even admitted that they had been spending too much energy on the high end of the market and not enough on off-road ability, but not anymore. The LR4 impressed every judge who drove it. It is a buggy in the rocks, a sports car on the street, and a prerunner in the desert, and it still has room for too much gear (plus, did we mention that you can sleep in it?).
Complaints? It costs too much, needs better tires and wheels (though they did work excellently for traction in the rockcrawling test), and we had an unexplained failure of an ABS sensor near the end of the test. This caused the computer to lower the vehicle's suspension to a limp-home mode as well as change all the brake parameters. Despite the crippled sensor, the LR4 still performed superbly.
The LR4 was a delight in almost every terrain, but it only won in the rockcrawling and urban/highway tests outright. Even though it didn't get the blue ribbon in hillclimbing, highspeed, or sand, it did rank high enough while the competitors flip-flopped without garnering consistently high numbers.
In the end, the LR4 won because it made four-wheeling fun. It has steering, gearing, and power in a package that offers great visibility and protection. What more could you ask for?
•"Great all-around 4x4"
•"Big surprise of the test"
•"Excellent mix of power and gearing"
•"Comfortable and capable"
•"A real scrapper on the trail"
•"Feels like a high-end hiking boot"