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TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Land Rover LR2 to produce this road test summary. Editors also have compared the LR2 to other compact SUVs and crossovers to give you a better sense of the options in this vehicle's class. TheCarConnection.com's companion full review condenses quotes from other respected Web sites into a comprehensive look at the 2010 LR2 to provide you with the best advice possible while you shop for your next car.
Land Rover has attained its place in the world primarily due to a single model: the Range Rover. The British brand sells a whole range of vehicles, though, and in 2008 it added the Land Rover LR2 to a lineup that also includes the Range Rover Sport and the seven-seat LR4. For 2010, the LR2 returns to the lineup with very few changes. For a base price of $36,350, it competes with the likes of the Volvo XC60, BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class.
New in 2008, the Land Rover LR2 carries into the new model year with only a couple of new colors to change its look. The design is angular-appealingly so, though you may notice it stands out in a sea of less capable "soft-roaders" like the sculpted Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5. The front fender vents, the big squared-off headlamps, and the linear shapes all play off Land Rover heritage. And even with its urban-sized body, the theme plays out well-it's more practical and rakish at the same time. The two models have some distinguishing features-the base SE adds black bumpers, while the HSE gets body-color pieces, as well as a rear spoiler-and an appearance package bestows a distinct grille and other trim distinctions to the base version. Inside, the LR2's interior is a lookalike for the larger Range Rovers in some ways, but it's less rich and doesn't have the lavish wood fittings of the more expensive vehicles in the Land Rover lineup. Vertical elements like the vents and door handles keep the interior from looking too low, and a strip of wood on the dash touches on Range Rover tradition.
There's a single powertrain offered in the 2010 LR2, and it provides adequate acceleration and poor fuel economy. The LR2 shares a 3.2-liter inline-six with the Volvo XC60, in fact. It propels the LR2 to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds. The gearbox is a responsive, smooth-shifting six-speed automatic that includes a manual-shift mode and a sport mode for more engaged drivers. While it's not terribly quick off the line, the LR2 does feel responsive at highway speed and when passing. It's tuned well for some off-road torque, too, though the throttle is faster than that of most of the bigger, dirt-plugging Rovers. The steering isn't quick or particularly communicative, but the 2010 Land Rover LR2 maneuvers very easily in parking lots, tight city streets, and narrow country roads alike, and it corners with little of the lean or drama of larger, heftier, and more trucklike SUVs. It also has a balanced ride quality.
Another key difference from its bigger brethren: The LR2 doesn't have a low range for its four-wheel drive. Hard-core off-roaders might see this as heresy, but since it's geared for on-road driving, the LR2 defers to street comfort. Its Haldex all-wheel-drive system does have Terrain Response and Gradient Release controls to help it work through inclines and grades safely, even those involving the winter elements, rocks, or sand. According to Land Rover, the LR2 can traverse nearly 20 inches of water and has 8.3 inches of ground clearance, and its angles of approach and departure are 29 and 32 degrees, respectively.
The LR2 may be a small Rover, but it has enough room for adults to sit in front and in rear seats comfortably. The seats themselves don't have much side-to-side support, and knee room is a little constricted by the dash. Space is abundant enough for three children or small adults to sit across the back row, and behind the rear seat, there's enough cargo space for a few roll-on suitcases. The center console's large enough for two cup holders mounted a little too far back, but there's a decent-sized glove box and door-panel storage. The driving position is lower and more carlike than in larger Land Rover models, and visibility is more of an issue, since the rear roof pillars are wide and block some of the view.
Neither NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) nor the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) has tested the LR2 for crash safety. It does offer plenty of safety equipment. Among the standard features are dual front, side, side curtain, and a driver's knee airbag; anti-lock brakes; stability and traction control; and a suite of electronics controls to make its all-wheel-drive system more user-friendly. It does not offer some of the more tech-driven safety features found on other crossovers like automatic braking, a rearview camera, or lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems.
The list of standard and optional equipment on the 2010 Land Rover LR2 leans strongly toward the luxury side of its brand. All LR2s offer standard adaptive headlamps; xenon headlights; air conditioning; power features; leather upholstery; and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary port. Option packages add features such as a panoramic sunroof; DVD navigation; HD Radio; Dolby surround sound; Bluetooth; heated mirrors; a garage door opener; a CD changer; satellite radio; a heated windshield; and 19-inch wheels.