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Pre-Owned: 2005-2009 Land Rover LR3

A Solid Choice For A Used SUV

Colin Ryan
May 22, 2015
Land Rover has been around and negotiating tough terrain since 1948, so the Land Rover LR3 is the product of decades of experience and expertise. Its blend of capability and refinement makes it a desirable and intriguing midsize SUV with seating for up to seven.
The great thing that debuted with the LR3 in 2005 was the company’s Terrain Response System. Up until then, serious off-roading was all down to the hardware and the nut behind the wheel. Now there were computers coming to the rescue, or at least not putting the vehicle in a position where it needed rescuing in the first place.
Settings are for grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, sand, rock crawl, and general on-road driving. There are some wrinkles to remember: for deep snow, use the sand setting; wet sand may be better dealt with by the mud/ruts setting; and rock crawl is only available when the permanent all-wheel-drive transmission is in low range. Each setting will call up a different arrangement of throttle response, gearing, and differential locking to suit the relevant scenario.
Other electronic aids include hill descent control, hill start assist, rollover prevention, height adjustment of the air suspension, and stability and traction controls. Naturally, the right tires and the right input from the driver will all contribute to safe and steady progress, but the electronics do a lot of the heavy lifting.
Photo 2/3   |   2005 To 2009 Land Rover Lr3 V8 Engine
Speaking of heavy, the LR3 with the V-8 can tow 7,700 pounds. Where sport utility vehicles usually deploy ladder-frame or one-piece body construction, this one is a bit of both. Land Rover calls it Integrated Body Frame (IBF). The result is a rigid vehicle with excellent wheel articulation. It’s possible to have the front axle angled one way, the rear angled the other, and then open a passenger door as if the LR3 is parked on the street. Not that many people would want to do such a thing, but it does illustrate the body’s rigidity.
Initially, trim levels were SE, with a 4.0L V-6 making 216 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque and HSE, propelled by 300 hp and 315 lb-ft from a 4.4L V-8. By 2008, when there was a mild facelift, the V-8 engine became the sole engine. This is a good thing because the V6 has a hard time moving what is, at around 5,800 pounds, a fairly hefty machine. Trim levels also changed that year to base, HSE, and HSE Lux.
Get underneath to make sure the front and rear skid plates are still in place. While you’re there, look for damage inflicted by off-roading ventures and corroded AC lines.
Look for uneven tire wear. This could point to wheel alignment issues or problems with the air suspension, especially if said tire wear is accompanied by the vehicle sitting unevenly on its springs. There may be some leaks in the system. Bushings will need replacing after 75,000 miles, and it could be a good idea to replace the front lower control arms as well. At around 40,000 miles, there may be some steering play from worn front tie-rod arms.
Photo 3/3   |   2005 To 2009 Land Rover Lr3
The Terrain Response System is a clever piece of technology but also a complex one. It’s worth giving the electrics a thorough going-over, from the battery to the parking sensors and all points in between. A vehicle this recent should also have a complete record of service and maintenance, along with both keys. Don’t forget to carry out the normal checks as well, such as lights, brakes, etc.
An ’07 HSE in good condition is valued at $14,421. The ’07 Acura MDX is another seven-seater but has to make do with a V-6 and inferior off-road chops. Even so, a comparable model could cost $14,839. A five-seat ’07 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with a 4.7L V-8 is booked at $11,114. An ’07 BMW X5 can seat seven and enjoys a 4.8L V-8. It’s also one of the finest driving vehicles of its kind and can still tackle some trickier surfaces. It’s pricier than the equivalent LR3, though, at $16,080.
2005-2009 Land Rover LR3
Body type: 4-door SUV
Drivetrain: Front engine, 4WD
Airbags: Driver, front passenger, side, side curtain
Engines: 4.0L/216hp SOHC V-6; 4.4L/300hp DOHC V-8
Brakes, f/r: Disc, disc, ABS
Price range, whlsl/retail (KBB): $6,507/$7,736 (2005, AWD SE 4.0 V-6), $25,888/$27,777 (2009, 4WD HSE Lux 4.4 V-8)
Recalls: Too many to list; see motortrend.com
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