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On and Off the Road You Go
2005 Land Rover LR3 V8 HSE
By Alain Gayot

In short: A very impressive, New-Age, off-road vehicle.

All we've got to say is "Wow!" after playing around with this totally new-and-improved version of this off-road-drive vehicle. It’s big, boxy and on the expensive side, but if you figure in its utility, comfort, safety and all the goodies packed in, it’s not a bad deal. This might simply be the best off-road, on-road automobile available today.

If you're in the market for a car in this category, you’ve got to test-drive it. Of course, where it excels is off-road. Thanks to an amalgam of electronics, suspension system, the smart-commandshift system and the terrain-response system, you can take it anywhere. Are you ready for the next Camel Trophy adventure competition on rugged terrain? You are a sure winner armed with this smart, nimble and adaptive piece of equipment. We had the chance to take it off-road with a Land Rover driving instructor, and to this day we can’t comprehend what we did or how the car did it.

Just like the original Land Rovers that roamed Africa for decades, this model should last a lifetime with its integrated body frame with hydroformed boxed-steel ladder-frame and welded-steel monosides as well as a zinc-coated steel body with aluminum hood and tailgate construction.

It might feel a bit large to drive in the city, but it's not difficult to maneuver. Plan for a leisurely country experience to fully appreciate this vehicle. Gentleman farmers and other luxury-inclined ranchers and well-to-do vintners will fall in love with it instantly. You’ll never get lost in it with the navigation system and the touch-screen-interface-off-road-functionality-and-4x4 information center. It blasts the fields with 550 watts of harman/kardon LOGIC7, surround-sound, in-dash, CD auto changer. Talk to it to control navigation and audio function. Glenn Ford in his Daktari days would have loved one of these, and a good chunk of the plot of Jamie Uys’ "The Gods Must be Crazy" would have been different without one.

Your turn to try it.

Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000 mile new vehicle limited warranty, complimentary schedule maintenance, 24-hour recovery service.

Base Price: $49,330 / As Tested: $53,245

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, four-wheel-drive, 5- or 7-passenger, 5-door SUV

Engine: 4.4-liter V8
Horsepower: 300 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 315 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Curb weight: 5,426 lbs
Wheelbase: 113.6 in
190.9/75.4/74.1 in
Turning circle: 37.6 feet

Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS and electronic brake assist
independent front and rear, electronic air suspension

Traction: four-wheel drive, traction control, vehicle stability control, locking differential

front air bags, front side air bags, front and rear curtain air bags, optional rear side air bags

0-60 mph: 8.0 seconds
Top Speed: 121 mph

EPA City: 14 mpg
EPA Highway: 18 mpg

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Photography: Walter Mladina and AlphaMedia

(Updated: 07/24/08 HC)

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