an expedition of vehicles transversing uncharted terrain
almost anywhere around the globe, and what comes to mind.
We bet it would be badged Land Rover. The longtime Brit
automaker (now owned by Ford) has countless rugged laurels
to rest on following down and dirty forays through seemingly
it wasn't surprising a highlight of Land Rover's new LR3
sport utility was an abundance of four-wheel-drive technologies
for serious off-roaders. LR3 took widespread honors when
it debuted in 2005 as a truly utilitarian sport vehicle
that can safari with the best of them on 18-inch aluminum
wheels. Something Land Rover calls "Terrain Response,"
four-corner electronic air suspension, electronically-controlled
infinitely variable locking center differential and hill
descent control all contribute to a safe return to civilization.
(One undoubtedly would need those spunk factors when dodging
a rampaging rhino, or those relentless super market baskarts
that seems magnetized towards the nearest fender.)
wait. There's more to the beauty of LR3 than a brutish capacity
for sustaining hard knocks. Unlike some just plain ugly
Land Rovers of the past, this ground-up midsize redo that
supplanted the maligned Discovery model is fresh and handsome
while retaining Land Rover DNA. There's a wealth of comfort
and high tech treats (guided by fiber optic electronics)
both inside and out. Among them: Adaptive front lighting,
leather trim, luscious nine-speaker harman/kardon AM/FM
audio with six-disc in-dash CD and triple sunroof system.
Beneath -- for driving joy -- a hearty Jaguar-derived 4.4-liter,
300-HP V-8, mates to a six-speed "intelligent shift"
automatic trans with Command Shift for full manual control.
based from $44,995 to $49,995, lands in mid price range
for SUVs, more than bargain models but below elitist ones.
(Add a few thou when tallying up some nice upgrades -- fold
down rear seats, side curtain airbags, cold weather package
for those Arctic tundra trips, on-road/off-road DVD nav
system, plus either of two tow packages serious use demands.)
Land Rover didn't wait long to broaden appeal of the LR3,
announcing in April a new, high torque 4.0-liter V-6 in
the mix that shaved the base price down to $38,950. We can
catch a lot of fantastic animal pix cruising the African
veldt or nearest American safari park, with its 269 horses