TO THE POINTSelling Points: Off-road capability, interior comfort, endlessly useful utility Deal Breakers: Quality of materials and assembly, average on-pavement performance, abysmal fuel economy Our Advice: Buy a 2005 Land Rover LR3 for status, for comfort, for utility, for off-road performance, or for a combination of all four. But know that when used on pavement as a daily driver, the LR3 is tiring.
Exterior DesignModern yet familiar, the austere and architectural 2005 Land Rover LR3 relies heavily on key design cues from the past blended with the crisp, clean flanks and distinctive face of modern Rovers.
Modern yet familiar, the austere and architectural 2005 Land Rover LR3 relies heavily on key design cues from the past blended with the crisp, clean flanks and distinctive face of modern Rovers. The retired Discovery is clearly evident in the stepped roof design, the standard Alpine roof windows, the asymmetrical rear window glass, and the high-mount taillights. But the more expensive Range Rover is represented in the LR3s headlights, grille, and plain side panels. The result is distinctly Land Rover, but at least one observer we spoke to thought the LR3 looked like a Honda Element and another remarked that it looked like a plastic toy version of a real SUV.
One thing is certain: The LR3 is built to defend itself from damage with large plastic overfenders and body work that tucks in at the corners for less exposure during off-roading. We do think it’s odd that the side character line stops between the door handles, creating an unfinished look, but overall the LR3 looks enough like Discoveries before it to create a solid tie to its rugged history while simultaneously looking toward the future.
Land Rover makes plenty of noise about the LR3’s new Integrated Body-frame structure, which liberally employs aluminum, magnesium, and Boron steel to reduce weight and increase structural rigidity. This design replaces the old Discovery’s traditional body-on-frame architecture and gives the LR3 the refinement and responsiveness of a unibody structure coupled with the off-road benefits of a rugged body-on-frame vehicle. In fact, this new foundation makes the cabin quieter and the truck more responsive, yielding big benefits in the suburban environments in which it increasingly serves duty. Land Rover also claims that the LR3’s Integrated Body-frame structure is specifically engineered to lessen the effects of impacts with smaller vehicles.