But for 2010, the LR3 gets the kind of top-to-bottom extreme makeover that Ty Pennington would be proud of. So much so they've renamed it LR4. Outside it looks much classier, with a completely redesigned front end, new wheels, and distinctive new LED lighting. I love the new rear LED lights; they look like rocket boosters off the Starship Enterprise. Under the hood, the previous 4.4-liter V8 has been jettisoned in favor of a brand new, direct injection 5.0-liter V8 packing a muscular 375 horsepower and enough torque to uproot tree stumps. But the biggest changes come inside. Gone is the bleak, barren Rubbermaid look. Now it's "Interior by Scan Design" with lots of rich, glove-soft leather, satin-finished wood and fewer switches. Thankfully, the LR4 hasn't gone soft in its off-road, four-wheel drive versatility. It'll still climb up the side of the Bank of America building in downtown Tampa if you ask it to. But now there's a lot more luxury, a lot more refinement, a lot more style. And with prices starting at $48,100 - $55,000 nicely loaded - it's almost cheaper than a family vacation to the Serengeti.
Best four-by-four by far? You bet. Tampa-based auto writer Howard Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.