Walkaround and Interior

By December 9, 2006

Walkaround

The Land Rover LR3 presents a contemporary design, but one that still conveys a sense of functionality. Land Rover styling has always been distinctive, generally driven by real-world functional requirements. The LR3 is no exception.

Most distinctive is the stepped roof line, a recognized brand element preserved from the previous-generation Discovery, re-named the LR3 when it was redesigned for 2005. The stepped roof offers a distinct visual profile, but also creates headroom for rear-seat passengers while compensating for the high floor. The high floor is required to clear the center differential and to give the LR3 sufficient ground clearance to cross a savannah.

Another example of distinctive Land Rover design is the asymmetric tailgate, which operates as an easy-open clamshell for the top half, and a standard tailgate for the bottom half. The result is exceptional ease of access, and reduced load lift height, while preserving a sheltered fold-out tailgate surface for true tailgating at a campsite or stadium parking lot.

Also noticeable is a functional air intake on the right of the engine bay; it's only on one side because that was all that was needed. The 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels fitted to the V6 SE and V8 SE are new designs for 2007.

The LR3 is considerably larger than the previous Discovery. The LR3's wheelbase of 113.6 inches is as long as a Ford Explorer's. That not only gives LR3 ample room for three-row seating, but better highway stability, particularly when towing.

Interior Features

The Land Rover LR3 is a comfortable vehicle. Driver and front passenger get power-adjustable seats with adjustable armrests, and the second-row seats have generous headroom and legroom. Even the third-row seats can be considered habitable for adults.

The large windows, long wheelbase, and overhead Alpine windows create a spacious, airy interior. The low beltline, with window sills well below shoulder level, not only helps lower the center of gravity, but also improves forward and downward vision, an important advantage when driving through rugged terrain or traversing narrow tracks, especially those with exposures to seemingly bottomless ravines.

The instrument panel is clean, modern, and in keeping with the geometric exterior design. Controls are good sized, tactile, and significantly more intuitively arrayed than Land Rovers of the past.

In fact, LR3's interior design gives up nothing to other SUVs in practical flexibility. The second-row seats fold down into the footwell, leaving a perfectly flat surface. Many SUVs do not offer the benefit of flat cargo areas. The optional third-row seats can also fold flat, creating a six-foot load floor. Each rear seat folds independently, leaving numerous options for seating and cargo.

Several thoughtful touches have been added for '07. The Harman/Kardon stereo, which comes standard for 2007, incorporates a time display. Yet a separate clock has been added to the information center in the instrument cluster making it easier for the driver to tell time at a glance. A three-flash lane-change function has been added to the turn signals. The front passenger's power window opens and closes with one touch, and the front power seat adjusters operate without having to have the key in the ignition switch.

As with every previous Land Rover, practicality in the outback is reflected in functional interior appointments. For the variety of stuff carried on a camping trip, there are four glove boxes, readily accessible stash zones and numerous drink holders. Flip-down grab handles are located at all four doors, and comfortable, solid grab points built into the front-seat headrests give occupants something to hold on to when the driver is exploring the LR3's impressive tilt, climb, and descent limits.