2006 Land Rover LR3 V-6

2006 Land Rover LR3 V-6 2006 Land Rover LR3 V-6
Short Take Road Test

After reviewing the Land Rover LR3's substantial mass in the specifications, you'd probably assume the 4.0-liter V-6-powered model was a gutless wonder. You'd be wrong. It turns out the Ford-sourced bent-six churns out a fair amount of torque throughout the rev range and hauls the big, boxy LR3 about its business with relative ease.

Okay, when the vehicle is winding up a steep grade with six big campers in it, perhaps you'd yearn for the V-8. I don't know. I don't have that many friends. But it seemed adequate doing the kinds of things one sees Land Rover owners do. You know, go shopping, or out to eat, or to a movie, that kind of thing. Real high adventure.

But in the event one actually takes it to the rough, the V-6 LR3 will do all the things the dedicated Land Rover guys in their green wellies spent so much time ensuring it would. Like slog up a hill in calf-deep mud, or crawl over a pile of boulders, or wade through 28 inches of water. In fact, just before we got this LR3, we were treated to a taste of the Land Rover Experience - an off-road training school at Eastnor Castle in England near the Welsh border.

There we were encouraged to tackle all kinds of slopes, gradients, and obstacles, mostly covered in or composed entirely of mud after the wet British winter. A Land Rover LR3, even with "just" the V-6 engine - will go through muck that would stop a camel. Since the V-6 model still gets all the trick Land Rover stuff - an independent air-spring suspension all around and the Terrain Response selector that programs virtually all the vehicle's dynamic systems according to the environment selected by the driver on the rotary knob provided - it has off-road potential comparable to its bigger-engined siblings.

It has similar on-road performance, too, albeit with slower acceleration times. The benchmark 60 mph comes up in 10.8 seconds, more than two seconds slower than the 4.4-liter V-8-powered model, and the quarter-mile is dispatched in 17.8 seconds, slightly more than a second behind the HSE we tested in February 2005.

The LR3 handles remarkably well for a box weighing 5880 pounds and steers with reassuring composure. Better than that, it is a pleasurable place to be while conveying yourself and your loved ones to your various destinations, and it doesn't hurt knowing that you could confront a flood or earthquake and find an alternate route through the rough - across the lawn in front of the local church, for instance.

For more realistic motoring, the V-6 works just fine, with good low-rev, part-throttle torque to waffle through town. Although EPA city fuel consumption in this V-6 truck is the same as the V-8 model's, the highway figure is 1 mpg better. So there's not much saving in the gas department, but starting at $39,000, the V-6 LR3 is about seven grand cheaper to wrest from the grip of the dealer, and that'll buy a lot of fuel.

Let's face it, the experience of ownership isn't that different. Much of what makes the LR3 a good all-terrain vehicle is standard on the V-6 model. True, if you want leather seats and a 240-watt Harman/Kardon premium stereo, you have to opt for the SE Premium package that our tester had (which eats three grand of that fuel budget - sorry). A navigation system is not available on the V-6 LR3, but it is otherwise comprehensively equipped with six airbags, stability control, and power everything.

Besides, the exhaust note has been tuned so skillfully that you might fool yourself into thinking there's a V-8 under the hood.