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2007 Land Rover L3

by Martha Hindes

Land Rover L3
Land Rover L3 Interior

Land Rover could consider its bevy of recent LR3 newbie honors quite enough. Don't expect that to happen. The Ford-owned, Brit manufacturer hasn't been standing still in the spotlight. Rather, it's continuing its claim as the sport utility to be beat anywhere, any time -- this year pampered with refinements.

For 2007, LR3 gets a bit of a stretch with three rows for seven in all models with V-8 power, and adds "poise" to its stated performance credentials, and for interior and exterior amenities. The base V-6 SE version gets newly designed aluminum alloy wheels.

Land Rover adds standard leather trim, a power sunroof and top-line 240-watt harman/kardom sound with nine-speakers for '07 SE models. (A 550-watt version with 14 speakers is standard on the upmodel HSE.) Turn indicators flash three times during lane changes, an easy touch addition for fast lane driving. Front passengers get one-touch window control and adjustable seats with engine power off. A separate clock is added to driver's gauges.

Unlike some vehicles that bear a claim of offroad mobility, Land Rover actually does it. Superbly, at that. This legendary, tough contender has a fabled history of treks through impossible terrain to back its claim. (Think of ankle deep mud as merely its pedicure treatment.)

Beneath its ruggedly handsome exterior and high-tech interior is a full-time 4X4 foundation, with "Terrain Response" that adjusts for general driving, grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, plowing through sand, or rock crawling (literally). Hill control keeps steep descents in check. All that gusto comes from a 4.0-liter, 216-bhp V-6 or 4.4-liter 300 bhp V-8. Safety features include a full complement of airbags including side curtains while doors unlock, fuel pump stops and hazard lights flash in a collision.

LR3 comes in three tough versions: V-6 SE ($42,000 base), V-8 SE ($48,000) and V-8 HSE ($52,800). Expect best milage of about 14/18. And should traveling into the uncharted beyond or a supermarket parking lot be too daunting, there's always help on the way with Land Rover's Roadside Assistance program.