2008 Land Rover LR3

Change Year or Vehicle
$6,163–$18,111 Inventory Prices
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2008 Land Rover LR3. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Offroad capability
  • Terrain Response technology
  • Land Rover heritage
  • Refined V-8 powertrain
  • Seat comfort and support

The Bad

  • Complex, hard-to-identify controls
  • Third-row seat difficult to reach for folding
  • Fuel economy
  • Difficult access to front of cargo area

Notable Features of the 2008 Land Rover LR3

  • 300-hp V-8 is only available engine
  • Fully independent suspension
  • Six-speed automatic
  • Permanent 4WD
  • Seating for seven

2008 Land Rover LR3 Road Test

Joe Wiesenfelder

I made it through the 2008 Summer Olympics without any analogies, but coming at the end of the SUV craze, the seven-seat Land Rover LR3 is a lot like an Olympic athlete after the closing ceremonies: It sure better have some other skills because its athleticism and specialization won't translate to survival in the real world.

While an Olympic curler would be a natural for the custodial field, the LR3 is more like a weightlifter — it can do the kind of heavy lifting most vehicles can't, but that makes it pretty big and heavy itself, and that comes at a price. It eats. A lot. Powetring the Land Rover LR3 is a 
4.4L V-8 engine that gets a ravenous 2/17 mpg city/highway.


This puts it behind almost every SUV rated by the EPA (which the Hummer H2 isn't), including Land Rover's other models and every full-size SUV. The only 2008 models that consume more gas are the Porsche Cayenne GTS (11/17 mpg) — which at least is quick — and the Saab 9-7X and V-8-powered Chevrolet TrailBlazer (12/16 mpg), which have no excuse. The LR3 is also outconsumed by U.S. gold medalist Michael Phelps, who isn't a weightlifter or an SUV, but is reputed to eat 12,000 of each, daily.

 

Born Off-Road
The Land Rover LR3 comes by its inefficiency honestly, as one of the most capable offroad models sold. Its reinforced construction combines aspects of unibody and body-on-frame platforms for exceptional strength and the mass that comes with it — a curb weight of nearly ...

I made it through the 2008 Summer Olympics without any analogies, but coming at the end of the SUV craze, the seven-seat Land Rover LR3 is a lot like an Olympic athlete after the closing ceremonies: It sure better have some other skills because its athleticism and specialization won't translate to survival in the real world.

While an Olympic curler would be a natural for the custodial field, the LR3 is more like a weightlifter — it can do the kind of heavy lifting most vehicles can't, but that makes it pretty big and heavy itself, and that comes at a price. It eats. A lot. Powetring the Land Rover LR3 is a 
4.4L V-8 engine that gets a ravenous 2/17 mpg city/highway.


This puts it behind almost every SUV rated by the EPA (which the Hummer H2 isn't), including Land Rover's other models and every full-size SUV. The only 2008 models that consume more gas are the Porsche Cayenne GTS (11/17 mpg) — which at least is quick — and the Saab 9-7X and V-8-powered Chevrolet TrailBlazer (12/16 mpg), which have no excuse. The LR3 is also outconsumed by U.S. gold medalist Michael Phelps, who isn't a weightlifter or an SUV, but is reputed to eat 12,000 of each, daily.

 

Born Off-Road
The Land Rover LR3 comes by its inefficiency honestly, as one of the most capable offroad models sold. Its reinforced construction combines aspects of unibody and body-on-frame platforms for exceptional strength and the mass that comes with it — a curb weight of nearly 5,800 pounds. Short bumper overhangs provide steep approach and departure angles for scaling inclines, aided by standard air springs and the innovative Terrain Response system. TR made its debut in the LR3 and, though it has since spread to other Land Rovers, it remains exclusive to the brand. A complex system with a simple interface, TR is basically a knob that allows drivers to select a mode to match the conditions in which they're driving, not unlike the program modes on a camera (sports, portrait, backlighting, etc.). Where other offroad 4x4s require the driver to understand when to activate low gear, raise the vehicle's ride height, lock various differentials and activate features like Hill Descent Control, TR adjusts many automatically and prompts the driver to activate others when it's called for.


To use the system, simply turn the knob on the center console to whatever pictogram matches what you see outside your windshield. The modes are Normal; Grass; Gravel and Snow; Mud and Ruts; Sand; and Rock Crawl. What you see is what you select. There's no icon of a Buick going 40 mph in the fast lane or a cell-phone user cutting you off at an intersection, but I'm holding out hope for the next generation.

I've driven the 
Land Rover LR3 offroad, and it's definitely world-class — a worthy representative for Great Britain in international competition. But when the off-roading ends, what does it have to recommend it? For one thing, it can pull a trailer. With a towing capacity of 7,716 pounds, it can out-tow similarly priced luxury SUVs by as much as a few hundred pounds (Mercedes M-Class) to a couple thousand pounds (Audi Q7). Granted, the incidence of trailer-towing in the U.S. is greater than that of serious offroad driving, but the LR3 remains most capable at tasks most people don't need.

For What it Is, a Nice Drive
In addition to the fuel economy, the car's mass and shape take a toll on acceleration. With a zero to 60 mph time of 8 to 9 seconds, it's by no means slow, but it's not as quick as you might expect from a 4.4-liter V-8 engine with 300 horsepower and 315 pounds-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The six-speed is nice and smooth, and it offers both a regular Drive mode — optimized for gas mileage, such as it is — and an automatic Sport mode that holds onto low gears for more responsiveness. You can also shift manually by tapping the gear selector forward and back.

For what it is, the LR3's ride quality is actually quite pleasant, a change from the model that preceded it, the Discovery, which I deemed the poster vehicle for everything that was wrong with the SUV craze. Unlike that truck's non-independent front and rear suspension, the 
Land Rover LR3 has four-wheel-independent running gear, which really pays off in on-road driving. The handling isn't what you'd call sporty, but the LR3 feels stable, with an appropriate level of body roll. It also has a remarkably tight 37.6-foot turning diameter, which puts some small cars to shame.

The Inside
As is the case with most offroad models, the LR3's interior space isn't what you might expect from its exterior bulk, but I found it quite roomy and comfortable regardless. Large windows make for good visibility, though the LR3 still pays a price for its ride height, in that cars can be lost below window level when looking to the rear. Where the Discovery had a giant spare tire creating a right-rear blind spot in which you could lose Rhode Island, the LR3 has a rear window that dips down — a big improvement, but one that's negated if the third-row seats are raised.

For parking ease, Park Distance Control sonar proximity sensors in the rear bumper are standard in the Land Rover LR3 SE. Front sensors are standard on the 
Land Rover LR3 HSE and available on the SE in an option package with bi-xenon headlights. Missing in action is a backup camera, which many SUVs now include in a navigation system option. My LR3 had nav but no camera.


Lacking step rails, the LR3 isn't the easiest seven-passenger SUV to get into, but it's definitely not the worst either. There are grab handles above each door and flanking the third-row seats, and a pair of grips bookend each of the front seats' head restraints. This location proves to be very useful, though definitely annoying to any occupant whose backrest gets yanked on. You can make life easier by exploiting the air springs' access-height setting, which makes the LR3 squat down closer to the ground.

Five Rear Seats
The second-row seat is split into three segments, the center of which is uncommonly usable; it's a real seat, not just a raised bump. The legroom is good, and headroom throughout the cabin is above-average. The ability to use one, two or three of the seats for passengers and fold the others — in any configuration — is nice to have. The outboard seats flip forward to grant access to the third row. The two wayback seats also surprised me with their workability for adults. The floor is high, which isn't the most comfortable position, but I didn't otherwise feel overly crowded. The head restraints must be flipped up 180 degrees for passengers to sit down, and they'll likely leave them raised. The rear-view penalty is severe.

Interior Quality
Land Rover made some upgrades for 2008, including some new finishes on the center console and bezels surrounding the stereo speakers and air-conditioning vents. Leather seats are standard and the front passenger seat has standard eight-way power. An early adopter of multiple moonroofs/skylights, Land Rover now includes three as standard equipment in the LR3 — one over each row of seats. Even with all the glass and hard angles, the cabin is admirably quiet. With the proviso that my test trim level was the higher of the two available, HSE, I was impressed with its interior materials and craftsmanship. One glaring exception was the sound of the door handles — not the release handles, but the grab handles. Grab one of those to close or open the door, and it makes an awful creaking plastic sound that would make me livid if I found it in an econobox. In a luxobox like this one? Shameful.

Cargo
As the table reflects, different models distribute their available interior volume differently.

SUV/Cargo Volume
  Exterior length (in.) Cargo Volume (behind third row/behind second row/all seats folded, cu. ft.)
Audi Q7 (7 seats) 200.2 10.9 / 42.0 / 72.5
BMW X5 (7 seats) 191.1 7.1 / 21.9 / 61.8
Buick Enclave (8 seats) 201.5 18.9 / 66.0 / 115.1
Land Rover LR3
(7 seats)
190.9 9.9 / 44.5 / 90.3
Mercedes-Benz ML350
(5 seats)
188.2 — / 29.4 / 72.4
Source: Manufacturers

 

For its overall length, the Land Rover LR3's maximum cargo volume isn't bad. The square shape characteristically pays off with lots of usable interior space compared to the sleeker X5, though not much cargo space is usable when the third-row seats are raised. The Buick Enclave shows how a car-based crossover vehicle designed strictly for onroad use gives disproportionately more cargo volume.


The folding seats are very well-executed, though the third row's release buttons and cushions are a little hard to reach without climbing partway in. The second row backrests fold flat in a single step, and then you have the choice of leaving them there, resting a few inches taller than the cargo floor, or pulling a strap and collapsing them down to the same height for a continuous floor. They can also be tumbled forward, as described above.

 

LR3 in the Market
I enjoyed the Land Rover LR3 more than I expected to. It does a pretty good job in normal circumstances, and it makes fewer sacrifices than I've seen in some truck-based SUVs. Unfortunately, the one sacrifice it does make is a huge one: It's a gas-guzzler, and that's enough to drive many buyers to models that do the basics equally well or better but with lower operating costs.


For vehicles that are mainly off-roaders, the games are over. People who only want to look like off-roaders have more livable options now. Large, premium-priced gas-guzzlers aren't selling anymore, while small, efficient models are growing in popularity, and the most exclusive luxury models have greater immunity in a soft economy. Applied to Land Rover, that gives the compact LR2 and flagship Range Rover a solid chance. Barring an inconceivable drop in gas prices or an unprecedented boom in off-roading as a hobby, I don't know what the middle-model 
Land Rover LR3's prospects are in the American market. I just can't envision it promoting ChapStick on TV.

Send Joe an email  

 


2008 LR3 Video

Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2008 Land Rover LR3. It competes with the BMW X5 and Audi Q7.

Latest 2008 LR3 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(4.0)

LAND ROVER IS THE KING OF SUVS

by Baigms88 from Des Plaines, IL on May 30, 2018

If you have this suv. You know why you love it. The ride is smooth. Engine is very strong. 7 passengers. Off road ability. It's the whole package. I do wish it gave better gas mileage though. Read full review

(5.0)

The Best Car i ever Owned

by mroceanfront from Myrtle Beach, SC on December 30, 2017

It was everything I imagined. Love this car. Great for hauling a family of 6. Great for towing trailer. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Land Rover LR3 currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2008 Land Rover LR3 has not been tested.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The LR3 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker