Jeep Wrangler Unlimited improves its on-road abilities …
I’m not too proud to say that I used to dread test driving a Jeep, especially the Wranglers as they have traditionally been the most basic of vehicles meant for crushing rocks, splashing water and wallowing in mud.
Land Rover’s LR4 designed to hit the trail … off trail
Outside of the panache that driving a Land Rover delivers, due to their relative rarity among the sea of sport-utility trucks that cover our roads, the main reason to buy one is to go off-roading.
You say you don’t plan to go off-road with your $50+ grand truck? Well, you may want to reconsider if you like the looks and price of a Land Rover, formerly a British firm that now is owned, along with Jaguar, by Tata Motors of India.
The tested dark gray (Corliss grey, Rover calls it) LR4 is the mid-level Rover ute that starts at $49,995 in its base form. But this was the mid-level HSE model, so lists for $54,220 and comes loaded with goodies galore, plus its highly developed 4-wheel-drive system that lets you crawl over boulders if you care to dash about the outback.
Standard on all LR4s is a system that allows you to dial in four personalized 4-wheeling options, the standard one working best on pavement, naturally. You also can go for snow, sand, mud or rocks (and they mean serious ones, not gravel). This is easily accomplished by pressing one of the 30 buttons on the center stack and console. There also are five knobs there too for climate and radio controls, so a bit of overkill.
Land Rover’s LR2 modest in price, but boasts off-roading capability
Land Rover’s proud and adept off-roading history assures you that you’ll be getting a terrain crunching vehicle with any model, but the expectation of luxury is surely just as great.
So it is with its entry-level sport-ute, the LR2. With a modest starting price of $36,400 you know this isn’t going to be smothered in luxury, but still your expectations are elevated.
Created in Halewood, England, but now part of India’s Tata Motors automotive empire, Land Rovers have always been able off-road warriors. This one is no different, what with Hill Descent Control so that the LR2 won’t go careening down a steep incline at too great a speed, and with what Land Rover calls a 19.7-inch water wading depth. In addition the ute’s design includes a 29-degree approach angle and 32-degree departure angle at its rear.
So yes, it’ll go off road and take on any gravel, snow, sand that gets in its way. The 4-wheel-drive system is fulltime and a driver can push arrows on the console to electronically set the transmission to handle any of the aforementioned surfaces.