Land Rover LR2 History
2013 Land Rover LR2Enlarge Photo
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The Land Rover LR2 is the brand's smallest off-road vehicle. While small and luxurious, it's also surprisingly capable when taken away from the asphalt. It's priced from the high $30,000s, competing with the Cadillac SRX, BMW X3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.
For more information, including pricing with options, see our full review of the 2013 Land Rover LR2.
Part of the Land Rover "family" vehicle lineup, the LR2 joined the lineup in the 2008 model year as part of a mission to sell more mass-market SUVs with the Land Rover image--distinct from the more upscale Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. It arrived in showrooms with a single powertrain configuration that it shared with the Volvo S80, one of the final fruit of the Ford Motor Company's ownership of both brands.
From the 2008 through the 2012 model years, the LR2 came with a 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine that launched it to 60 mph in about 8.4 seconds, within the range of other compact luxo-utes. The engine came coupled to a six-speed automatic with clean, effortless gear shifts, and it offered a manual-shift and a sport-shift mode. The LR2's Haldex all-wheel-drive system moves power around to all four corners, but it lacks the low transmission range of the rest of the Land Rover lineup. The LR2 does have more than 8 inches of ground clearance, though.
The steering wasn't quick or particularly communicative on earlier models, but the Land Rover LR2 maneuvered very easily in parking lots, tight city streets, and narrow country roads alike, and it cornered with little of the lean or drama of larger, heftier, and more trucklike . It also has had a balanced ride quality. The interior has enough room for adults--just enough in the back seat--and enough cargo room for a few roll-aboard suitcases.
With only minor changes in its first five years on the market, the LR2 received a mid-cycle makeover for the 2013 model year. It still sports the crisp lines that distinguish it from the softer Audi, Volvo and BMW utes, and it's easily recognizable as a part of the Land Rover heritage on a smaller scale. What's different at first glance isn't obvious outside--new headlamps and reframed grille--but a new interior drastically reduces the clutter inside the LR2, cutting down on the jumble of buttons that marked the earlier models. A new touchscreen and new gauges offer clearer displays, and Meridian sound is now the standard audio setup.
The more important changes come beneath the skin. The in-line six is gone, replaced by a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo four shared with the Range Rover Evoque--which was developed from the LR2's architecture. Lighter than the outgoing engine, it's also more powerful and offers more torque lower in the rev range--and with a new undertray that adds support beneath the engine, there's better noise and vibration control than in the Evoque. The LR2's now quicker by a couple of tenths, noticeably quieter and more responsive, and steers more quickly than before.Crash-test scores aren't available for the LR2. It offers side curtain airbags and stability control with anti-roll software built in; a rearview camera is now standard, and useful, since the thick rear pillars make visibility more of a problem than in larger Land Rovers that seat the driver higher.