“Sunken Treasure” – 2011 Land Rover LR4 4WD

Land Rover LR4

In December of 1981, a new military regime took control of the country of Argentina.  The new junta was made up of Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, Brig. Basilio Lami Dozo, and Adm. Jorge Anaya.  The latter was the main architect of a military solution to Argentina’s claim over the Falkland Islands, a claim disputed by the United Kingdom.  The Falklands are made up of two large and many small islands east of Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean, and Adm. Anaya wanted to seize control of them and thus divert public attention away from the chronic problems of the Argentine economy.  He also wanted to mobilize the country’s patriotic feelings.

What does all of this have to do with the subject of my SUV review, the Land Rover LR4?  Well, in the buildup for the Falklands War, the British sent a boatload of Land Rover Series III’s aboard the Atlantic Conveyor towards the Islands.  The vehicles were for the purpose of  transporting combat troops into battle upon arrival.  The Conveyor was hit by an Argentine missile and sunk, leaving hundreds of Land Rovers at the bottom of the Atlantic and many British troops “yomping” (walking) into combat.  The Land Rover Company wasn’t sunk, however, and 30 years later they manufactured the lovely LR4 that I recently drove for a week.

The Baltic Blue beauty I tested had a M.S.R.P. of $58,515.00, which included a heavy duty package as well as a $9,155.00,  seven seat LUX package.  When it was delivered to my home, I was particularly excited to take my first drive in a Land Rover.  The company makes five models, which are split into two series: Land Rover (LR2 and LR4) and the higher-end Range Rover (Evoque, Sport, and the $80,000.00 Range Rover).  What I had my hands on was the top-of-the-line Land Rover, a relative bargain when compared to Audi’s Q7 ($8,000.00 more), Mercedes’ GL450 ($18,000.00 more), and Toyota’s Land “Cruiser” ($15,000.00 more).

I grabbed my camera (and wife), and headed for Central City for a nice afternoon jaunt.  The LR4 sits up nice and high and has a terrific SUV truck-like feel.  The ride is super and the visibility is off-the-charts; it’s like riding in an Amtrak Superliner.  Options are all over the place inside (almond/nutmeg premium leather seating), including nav, back-up camera, armrests, electronic steering column, and an analog clock.  Topside the vehicle has THREE glass panel roofs, the front one powered.  I know I’m gushing about this rig, but truthfully, it was just superb.

In the Central City/Blackhawk area, I cruised up and down the little streets and gleaned a lot of eyeballs in the process.  The LR4 rolls on 19”, 7-split spoke alloy wheels and of course has the iconic mini-grills on the fenders as well as a rather sophisticated Xenon headlight setup.  The tailgate is an asymmetric, two-piece design and I liked it.  Power to the four wheels is provided by a 5.0 liter, 375 hp   V-8 that can set you sailing from zero to 60 in under 8 seconds.  A six speed transmission puts the power to the transfer case.  For off-roading, a knob on the console provides a Terrain Response system for surfaces you are likely (or unlikely) to encounter while motoring away from the highway.

Thirty years ago a bunch of Land Rovers were sunk and the British soldiers were sent into battle afoot.  But the UK won the Falklands War and the Land Rover Company has produced over four million vehicles worldwide since 1947.  I sure had a blast in the LR4 I had for a week.

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