Premium midsize SUV; Built in England
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $12,500 – $32,700*

2005 Land Rover LR3

2005 Land Rover LR3

2005 Land Rover LR3

  • Passing power (V8)
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • True off-road ability
  • Fuel economy
  • Instruments/controls

In a class trending toward ever-more-carlike SUVs, the tall, off-road-oriented LR3 seems anachronistic. In reality, it’s used exactly the way its more-carlike competition is, and in that capacity, delivers good passenger and cargo room and unexpected comfort. Though compromised by old-school-SUV handling and ergonomics, as well as poor fuel economy, the LR3 is worth a look for anyone who wants a capable off-roader that is civilized enough for every day duty.


Land Rover redesigned its best-selling model for 2005, giving it a new name, new styling, and more power. The LR3 replaced the 1994-2004 Discovery and was nearly 14 inches longer in wheelbase, 5.7 inches longer overall, and some 850 lb heavier. Cargo volume increased by 27 cu ft, but passenger space was little-changed. LR3 retained Discovery’s raised rear roof section, but the spare tire mounted inside instead of out, and a glass liftgate with drop-down tailgate replaced a swing-out cargo door. It had seating for five, or for seven with an optional 3rd row. Front side and curtain side airbags were standard. The curtain airbags covered all seating rows.

LR3 launched with a 300-hp V8 (Discovery had a 217-hp V8). Released midyear was a base V6 version with 216 hp. Both had a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift gate. All-wheel drive with low-range gearing was standard and included a locking center differential for severe off-road conditions. A locking rear differential was available. Also standard were antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, traction/antiskid control, and hill descent control. New was Land Rover’s Active Roll Mitigation designed to detect an impending tip and activate the antiskid system to reduce the chances of a roll.

The V6 LR3 was offered only as the base model. V8 models were the SE and HSE. HSE had 19-inch wheels vs. base and SE’s 18s, plus additional equipment and unique trim. LR3 replaced the Discovery’s solid axles and metal springs with an independent air-spring suspension with four available ride heights and automatic load leveling. LR3 also introduced Land Rover’s Terrain Response system as standard; twisting a dial changed suspension and powertrain electronic calibrations to accommodate normal driving, slippery pavement, mud, sand, and low-speed off-roading.

Yearly Updates

2006 LR3
There were no significant changes for 2006.
2007 LR3
Leather upholstery became standard on all versions of the LR3 for 2007.
2008 LR3
The 2008 Land Rover LR3 lost its V6 engine but gained a standard power front passenger seat and revised interior trim.
2009 LR3
The 2009 Land Rover LR3 got a revised model lineup but was otherwise largely unchanged. Instead of SE and HSE trim levels, LR3 now came as a single Base model with two option packages called HSE and HSE LUX.


longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

The 2005-06 LR3’s base engine was a 4.0-liter V6 with 216 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. SE and HSE models had a 4.4-liter V8 with 300 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque. Both engines came only with a 6-speed automatic transmission. In 2008, LR3 lost its V6 engine.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/245
Engine HP 216
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 269
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic


dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.4/268
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 315
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Road Test

We haven’t driven the V6, but the V8 delivers good, not great, scoot in this weighty SUV. Land Rover says LR3 does 0-60 mph in 8.0 seconds, placing it midpack for this class. There is ready power in highway passing, but the transmission is slow to downshift on hills. Throttle response changes depending on the transfer-case setting; it is less sensitive in low range for better off-road control. Engine noise is nicely subdued; some highway-speed wind noise is the only demerit of note. Fuel economy is typical of a big SUV, poor. Our test SE averaged 12.8-14.1 mpg in mixed city/highway driving. A test HSE averaged 15.5 mpg in exclusively freeway travel. Land Rover recommends premium-grade fuel.

Ride and handling are also typical for a large SUV in this class. The LR3 is comfortably absorbent over bumps, though rear-seat passengers notice some hop on rough roads. Dips and wavy surfaces induce some residual bobbing. The steering is nicely weighted and the tires are grippy, but LR3 feels a bit top heavy on twisty roads and in fast lane changes. A tight turning circle means good parking lot maneuverability. The brakes are easy to modulate and have impressive stopping power. Over hills, mud, and rocks, the LR3 is a billy goat, and the Terrain Response System takes guesswork out of most off-road driving.

The interior has some of the quirks that Land Rover is known for. Small print makes the gauges difficult to read at a glance, and the controls are a somewhat confusing jumble of switches, knobs, and buttons. The radio and navigation and climate systems are hard to decipher. On the positive side, the off-road settings trigger a graphic display of front-wheel angle–a useful feature. Interior materials are of high quality, but the lack of wood or fancy trim lend LR3 an upscale outdoorsy look rather than uptown opulence.

Those who like SUVs will be pleased with the commanding driving position. The seats are comfortable and upright. Head and leg room are ample. Visibility is excellent, and is aided by front and rear obstacle detection on HSE. Step-in height is acceptable when the LR3 is set to the lowest suspension setting; difficult at the highest setting. Climbing into the 3rd row is complicated by the tall step-in and narrow pass-through. The 2nd and 3rd-row seats, however, are unusually comfortable, with ample head and leg room. Three adults fit in the 2nd row, but we wouldn’t recommend it on long drives.

Utility is also a plus. The tall cargo hold has ample volume with five seats, and reasonably good load space with seven. Both of the rear rows fold flat to create a spacious load floor, but are awkward to fold/unfold. The clamshell-style tailgate is open to debate: some testers say it complicates loading/unloading, others praise its versatility. There are numerous useful bins and cubbies in the cabin, but the glovebox difficult to open if passenger seat occupied.


Model Tested: 2005 Land Rover LR3

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 2
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 7


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 7

Total: 61


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.6 19.9 75.4 74.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
90.3 22.8 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.4 42.4 42.4 37.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The parking brakes may make a squealing noise when applied or released for which improved parking brake shoes are available. (2006-07)
Engine noise
Description: A noise (clunk) when the throttle is released and applied, that sounds like driveshaft play, is actually in the 4.4L engine powertrain control module program which must be flashed. (2006-07)
Oil leak
Description: Oil leak from the rear main (crankshaft) seal. (2005-07)
Steering noise
Description: Knocking noise from the steering column when going over bumps requires replacement of the steering intermediate shaft. (2005-07)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak through holes for the trim attachments in the A-pillar(s) and collect in the foot well(s). (2005-06)
Description: The rear wiper quits working due to corrosion of the pivot and a revised wiper arm is available. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: Any or all of the electrical components in the front doors may malfunction because the door harness chafes on the lower edge of the door panel. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: Air suspension system malfunctions due to corrosion of an electrical connector near the right-front wheel. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: The front parking aid warning may sound at speeds below 10 mph if something (or someone) is in front of vehicle when coming to a stop and an improved control module is available. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: A low coolant message illuminates because the float in the reservoir absorbs coolant and sinks. (2005-06)
Check-engine light
Description: The engine may revert to the limp-in mode accompanied by a check engine light on the 4.0L V-6 due to damaged wiring to the throttle body. (2005-06)
Accessory belt
Description: Chirping under the hood is caused by a bad accessory drive belt idler pulley. (2005-07)

Recall History

2005 LR3
Description: Some fuel tanks may contain an internal breather pipe that was not made to specification and could detach. The driver may notice fuel odor, throttle hesitation, misfire, stalling, rough running, difficulty in starting, or an illuminated “check engine” light. Dealers will replace the fuel tanks.
2005-06 LR3
Description: When the ignition is switched off, after a period of time, it is possible to remove the ignition key when the transmission shift lever is not in park. Dealers will reprogram the driveline control transfer box electronic control unit (ECU)
Description: Airbag wiring may be fractured due to motion in the steering column. If an airbag wire fractures, the Safety Restraint System (SRS) warning light will illuminate on the instrument cluster. Dealers will insert spacers between the lower left-hand side of the column-switch mounting point and the column lock to improve the alignment of the column switch. Two foam pads will also be fitted to the top of the steering-column switch gear to provide assured clearance between the cowl and the clockspring face.
2006 LR3
Description: Some automatic transmission parking pawl guide plates may not allow “park” to engage, even though the lever is in the park position and all indicators show park position is achieved. Dealers will replace the parking pawl guide plate free of charge.
2006 LR3
Description: Some left-side second row seat belt buckle mountings may be built incorrectly. Dealers will inspect and replace the second row left hand seat belt buckle free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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