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TheCarConnection.com's SUV editors drove the new Land Rover LR2 in order to give you an expert opinion. TheCarConnection.com's SUV enthusiasts researched available road tests on the new Land Rover LR2 to produce this conclusive review and to help you find the truth where other SUV reviews might differ.
The LR2 was a completely new vehicle for 2008, and carries into this year with just a few changes in appearance. Design cues, such as the front-fender vents, echo those of its bigger brothers, the LR3 and Range Rover Sport, but the 2009 Land Rover LR2 is more rakish, practical, and carlike.
The 3.2-liter inline-six powers the 2009 Land Rover LR2 to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds; it's coupled to a smooth-shifting and responsive six-speed automatic transmission, with a manual mode and a sport mode for better response. It’s especially snappy and responsive for highway passing, while it also has enough low-end torque for modest off-road needs.
Unlike most of its competitors, the 2009 Land Rover LR2 does not include a four-wheel-drive low range—which many hard-core trail drivers will say is the true indicator of an off-road-capable vehicle. The LR2 does feature a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a Haldex center differential and Gradient Release Control (as well as standard Terrain Response system on all but base models), which has a design that favors on-road performance but allows impressive ability for snow, mud, and rocky trails.
Both storage and passenger space are abundant in the 2009 Land Rover LR2. In back there's enough space for two adults or three children. Compared to other Land Rover models, the LR2's driving position is lower and more carlike. The steering isn't uncommunicative and heavy, but the 2009 Land Rover LR2 maneuvers very easily in parking lots, tight city streets, and narrow country roads alike and corners with little of the lean or drama of larger, heftier, and more trucklike SUVs. Rearward visibility is obscured by the thick back pillar.
The list of safety features on the 2009 Land Rover LR2 is longer than most SUVs'. It includes front side-thorax airbags, side curtain bags, and a driver's knee airbag, along with electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and a host of other off-road-focused electronic aids that may help.
Both the SE and HSE models include bi-xenon headlamps, adaptive front lighting, rain-sensing wipers, and park distance control (front and rear). A two-part panoramic sunroof is also available, and air conditioning is standard on all models. Options include a touch screen DVD satellite navigation system, and a choice of top-level audio systems includes DAB digital radio and 12-speaker Dolby Pro Logic IIx Surround Sound with fiber-optic interconnects. Separating the 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE from the base model is a range of cosmetic upgrades, such as body-color bumpers and side sills; a rear spoiler; titanium door handles; and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
A new HST exterior styling package is the big news for this year’s Land Rover LR2. The package includes a more aggressive mesh grille design, painted front and rear bumpers, side sill enhancements, and dual HST exhaust tips. The HST Package is also offered in a new exterior color, Martinique Blue. The 2009 Land Rover LR2 also gets new 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels or Shadow Chrome finished aluminum alloy wheels as a low-cost option, along with a range of material options for the interior and instrument panel.
- Manageable size and agility
- Easy to park
- Passenger space
- Tough enough for light off-roading
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- Obscured rear visibility
- Back-of-the-pack (16 mpg) fuel economy