Friday, February 05, 2016

Time For a Change

I'm ready to move on and escape the land of rovers.  I want to sell my 2015 LR4.  Let me know if you've got any interest in a slightly used (11 mo old, 12.5k miles) car.  I plan to get a Gelandewagen (a used G500 or G550).


Unknown said...

Why are you selling your LR4? I've got a 2016.5 on order for delivery in March. I've enjoyed reading your posts on the LR4 and wondered why you're parting with it so soon.

Michael said...

I didn't post this because I didn't want to fuel any trolls, I didn't want to engage in a dialog or argument with others, and I didn't want to turn people away from the LR4. But since you asked ... here's my answer.

I am selling the LR4 because I get really annoyed when I drive it. The power train performance/behavior is infuriating to me and I don't enjoy driving the thing.

Three factors conspire to make this car extremely unpleasant to drive (this is entirely my opinion and others will certainly have different opinions): the TCU mapping, the supercharger, and the torque curve.

1. TCU mapping: the transmission is constantly upshifting (hypermiling)
- an obvious attempt to improve fuel economy

2. supercharger
- its mere existence results in #3
- I'm not a fan of supercharger whine

3. peak torque arrives at 3500 rpm (unlike modern forced-induction VWs' 2000 rpm)
- my experience of the torque curve is more of a step function: very little, then a lot as it approaches 3500 rpm

Specifically, the behavior that really annoys me is:

- the lack of low end torque during normal driving on city streets
-- the transmission rushes to upshift in order to settle at 1200 rpm
- the large latency in torque delivery
-- wait for transmission to downshift - 2 or 3 gears
-- wait for engine to rev
-- at this point i find myself pressing the accelerator harder than i should (even flooring it)
-- wait for supercharger to spool up
-- finally feel a clutch disengage
-- then torque is sent to the axles
- the above events happen during most low speed corners in the city, and when turning onto any street, and pulling away from a stop
- I'm also unable to use simple engine braking on gentle slopes (as I was in my 2008 model)
-- the upshifting transmission results in an ever-increasing speed
-- I end up using the manual paddle shifters often on gentle hills in my neighborhood
- the transmission's Sport feature is only mildly useful
-- Sport shows a mild improvement in engine braking, but not near as much as the older model (2008)
-- Sport setting still results in undesirable upshifting (it's just delayed a bit)
-- Sport is not as aggressive in shifting as the older model
- the loud noise when driving through sand using Sand Mode is disconcerting (I visit the deserts a lot and so I use this mode more than most.)
-- this is because LR has accommodated this issue in Sand Mode by using a different TCU map and keeping it in lower gears
-- this is an attempt by LR to keep torque going to the axles (because hypermiling in sand gets you stuck)

This can be dangerous in my city. I find myself helpless as the car wants to coast through low speed (<20 mph) corners, leaving me with no torque to escape any nutcase who might be about to T-bone me in an intersection. I can't pull away from anything without waiting for 3 or more long seconds, even if I floor it. I can't drive through corners the way I was taught: brake before the corner, then accelerate (even if mildly) through the turn.

I realize that LR probably did these things to improve fuel economy. They switched from the NA V8 to the SC V6 between MY 13 and 14. Advertised fuel economy changed from 12/17 (2013) to 14/19 (2014), an increase of 2 mpg. I'm sure that means a lot to some people. But It's not enough to offset (in my mind) the annoying behavior of the car.

I noticed these things right after buying the car. I thought I'd be able to adjust my driving style or otherwise find ways of minimizing these annoyances. I failed at that. There are a few shops in the UK that offer TCU remapping for Land Rovers, but I've found none in the US.

I really liked my 2008 LR3. Its NA V8 was perfect for the job.

I'm at a point in my life where I don't want to settle. If something I do often is very unpleasant, then I try to change it. So, I'm going to get a different car.

Grant Eaton said...

Thanks so much for your articulate feedback - I was the one who commented anonymously. You clearly pay a lot of attention to the details of your vehicles drive - I do also, but probably more in their suspension. (Princess and the Pea syndrome with respect to potholed roads.)

My new LR4 has arrived but it's getting a clear Xpel Ultimate wrap put on its front now, so I haven't even driven it yet (incidentally, it got a pea-sized chip in the passenger door at the detailer when a careless customer dinged the door - 24 miles on the odometer, I haven't even driven it, and it already has a chunk of paint missing! - luckily the detailer is fixing it professionally). Murphy's Law in action!

What I enjoyed about driving the LR4 was the air suspension and the smoothness of the way that 8-speed transmission shifts - it felt like a super smooth road trip truck in test-drives but I've only ever driven it about 35 minutes of test-driving so I didn't have time to notice these issues you raise.

I do feel like the start/stop system may be one of the most annoying features of the vehicle for what little it accomplishes in the way of fuel savings (not to mention the increase wear and tear on the starter motor, engine, and battery). Is a 1-3% increase in fuel economy (my guess) worth a $500-1,000 repair to replace a worn starter motor every N years? I went ahead and got the extended warranty, thinking I'll keep this vehicle for a decade or two, as I tend to keep cars a long time and take care of them (my other car is an Isuzu VehiCROSS which is now 16 years old and looks like it's only about 3-4 years old).

I am getting the Compomotive wheels for it and will probably get the Nitto Dura Grapplers 265/60R18 (30.5" diameter vs. 30" factory diameter) for it - close enough to factory size that the odometer and shifts will only be 1.6% off. If you have larger tires installed on yours then this may have somewhat impacted your shift performance. Recently my speedometer reclaibrator failed in my VehiCROSS and I had to drive for 3 weeks with the speedometer reading about 9% off. It turned out that it affected shifts enormously, not to mention the gas milage took a dive. I won't ever run oversize tires in a truck whose speedometer I can't recalibrate, it just makes the shifts too sloppy.

Thanks again for your feedback. We do a lot of road trips, and I like to downshift on long stretches, especially when hauling a trailer, so I will be curious to see how this transmission works out for me. Hopefully I will be able to put up with its deficiencies more than you can! :) Cheers,


Michael said...


Thanks for suggesting a possible factor in my car's performance. That one, however, is not a match since I am running the OEM size tires. I ride on Cooper Zeon LTZ 255/55R19. I was considering swtiching to Compomotives so I could get away from the 19 inch wheels and gain some additional side wall. I chose the Coopers because another of their tires performed so well in the Expedition Portal off-road tire comparison test. So far, I like the Coopers. Only a tad more road noise. I wore General Grabber AT2 on my old 2008 LR3. Those were fine off road, but the hard rubber resulted in a lot more road noise on pavement, plus their wet pavement performance was poor, and they were very skittery over any bumps on the highway.

As for the Stop/Start system: I habitually turn it off each time I start my car. I'm from a generation that was taught: it's a very bad thing when your engine abruptly stops running. And so I have a subconscious negative reaction whenever stop/start engages. I, too, got the extended warranty. My original plan was to keep this car a long time. I had an extended warranty on my 2008 LR3 and that more than paid for itself.

I agree with you regarding the suspension. I drive a lot and most of the miles are actually highway. I want my car to be comfortable on the highway and then capable off road. The LR3 and LR4 both do those things well. Sorry to hear about your door damage. I can relate. I'm one of those nuts who always parks far from other cars. I just found my very first ding. It's very tiny. I would not have found it if I weren't buffing and waxing the car. The average person will not even notice it.