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2011 Land Rover LR4 Road Test and Review: Part Two

What about Auto Infotainment?

I really hate to say it because I love both the Land Rover and Jaguar brands, but both of these classic British car companies have lagged behind when it comes to auto infotainment.

On my weeklong road test, I was disappointed so many times by the infotainment system that I gave up altogether and busted out my TomTom portable navigation device with HD Traffic.

Sure, the big infotainment screen on the LR4 is nice and all, but the technology behind the system is light years behind even cheap navigation systems.

I mean, where's the hands-free button with the soothing lady voice to guide you to the finest hotels in the land or to that national park campground? Land Rover needs to invest immediately in an auto infotainment system using Microsoft's award-winning Auto Embed 7 software and Nuance's voice recognition technology (only some Ford, Lincoln and Kia models have this unbeatable infotainment combination).

So, the infotainment was disappointing, but what about performance? Check out my driving impressions in the performance section along with trim levels, features and options in the summary.

2011 Land Rover LR4 Road Test and Review: Performance

What about performance? Can the "new" LR4's 5.0-liter V8 engine really get this heavy beast (at almost 6,000 lbs.!) moving at top speeds fast?

Quite frankly, the answer is: hell yes!

While moving the LR4 beast from a dead stop doesn't seem super quick, the 2011 LR4's 375 hp powertrain is no joke. How fast is fast? How about 0-60 mph in just 7.5 seconds? That's one fast SUV, my friends.

What about stopping? Again, the heavy weight of the LR4 makes it feel like you are going to crash into the fuel-efficient compact sedan in front of you. But of course, you learn how to gauge the taut braking with the vehicle's weight as you drive the LR4 daily.

All other driving dynamics makes the 2011 Land Rover LR4 a super fun-driving SUV. The suspension is taut, the steering and handling is responsive, the cornering is brisk and the aforementioned braking is spot on.

Some LR4 owners buy this SUV not just for the performance, but for this engine's extra-added 4x4 and towing features.

In fact, the 2011 Land Rover LR4 with its V8 engine can haul a whopping 7,716 lbs. (with braking trailer) and the vehicle has "trailer vehicle assist" technology.

As for off-road capabilities, Land Rover is worshipped by enthusiasts for taking design pains to make this a truly worthy 4x4 SUV.

For example, the 2011 LR4 is engineered for rugged off-road travel with its deep, pressure die-cast oil pan to accommodate extreme tilting angles. Belt drives are waterproofed as is the alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump and starter motor.

Unlike its outdated auto infotainment system, Land Rover's "terrain response" system is top notch. Using five settings selected with the turn of a dial (housed right in front of the shift), the drive can dial up powertrain help for the following driving conditions: general driving, grass/gravel/snow, sand, mud and ruts and rock crawl.

For 2011, the LR4 also comes equipped with standard hill start assist (prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards from a standstill on a steep incline) and gradient acceleration control (provides extra safety on severe inclines when hill descent control is disengaged).

2011 Land Rover LR4 Safety & Crash Test Ratings

The 2011 Land Rover LR4 comes with loads of advanced safety technology including six air bag (eight air bags when outfitted with the seven-seat comfort package), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist, anti-lock brakes, hill descent control, hill start assist, gradient acceleration control, keyless entry with security system, tire pressure monitoring system and terrain response. Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has announced their crash test ratings of the 2011 Land Rover LR4 as of this print date.

2011 Land Rover LR4 Road Test and Review: Summary

The 2011 Land Rover LR4 is available in just one well-appointed trim level.

The base five-seat LR4 starts at an MSRP of $48,500 and comes standard with a 5.0-liter V8 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and terrain response. Other standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, dual zone automatic climate control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, eight-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats (with lumbar), cruise control, front and rear fog lights, leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power tilt-and-slide front sun roof plus fixed "alpine" roof with integrated sun blinds, rear window wiper, rear park distance control, Bluetooth connectivity and nine-speaker harman/kardon sound system.

Upgrade to the LR4 HSE to get third row seats, rear seat climate control, rear view camera, unique 19-inch alloy wheels, HD radio, iPod interface and navigation system.

The HSE LUX package also adds premium leather Mint Alloys seats, xenon head lamps, front and heated rear seats, heated windshield, heated steering wheel, front parking sensors, center console cooler box, driver seat memory and premium 13-speaker harman/kardon audio system.

A new "vision assist package" can be added to both HSE and HSE LUX trims and includes xenon head lamps (HSE only, already standard on HSE LUX), adaptive front lighting system (swiveling head lights, automatic high beam assist, surround camera system, power-folding mirrors, trailer assist and trailer hitch assist.

Stand-alone options on all models include a rear entertainment system with six-DVD changer, 20-inch wheels and 360-degree parking system.

Still considering Land Rover and the latest and greatest LR4? You should. This luxurious SUV is still a 4x4 at heart and gets you there in great style and comfort.

Land Rover provided a vehicle for this road test review.

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