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2011 Land Rover LR2 Performance

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The sole powertrain that comes with every LR2 gives it brisk if not truly quick acceleration, but fuel economy lags.

The 2011 LR2 carries the same 3.2-liter in-line six found in the Volvo XC60, a relationship that dates back to a few years ago, when the companies both were owned by Ford. The distinctive six ushers the LR2 to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, and it's a smooth piece as most in-line sixes tend to be. The transmission is a responsive, quick-shifting six-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode and a sport mode baked in for more enthusiastic driving. All paired up, the drivetrain may not feel very fast off the line, it's plenty responsive at highway speeds and in passing. The throttle's a bit touchy but the engine also has a fair amount of low-end torque, too, which puts it in good stead for off-roading with bigger, dirt-loving Rovers.

The 2010 Land Rover LR2 drives more civilly than any small Land Rover before it-which brings it up to mid-pack-and there's a good measure of off-road ability still built in its chassis.

The LR2 does not have the ultimate off-road capability, though. There's no low range for its all-wheel-drive system--and to hardcore off-roaders, that's a heretical move. The LR2 clearly is biased toward street driving and comfort, but Land Rover has adapted its driveline with electronic controls to give it more trail-riding bona fides. The Haldex all-wheel-drive system gets Terrain Response and Gradient Release controls, which can be dialed through a set of pre-programmed modes to cruise through snow, sand, rocks or pavement. And while it's probably not prepared to run the Paris-Dakar Rally, the LR2 can ford through nearly 20 inches of water and it has 8.3 inches of ground clearance, with approach and departure angles of 29 and 32 degrees, respectively.

On the road, the LR2 feels at home turning easily into parking spaces, tight city streets, and narrow country roads alike. The steering isn't quick or particularly communicative, but it corners without the heavy body roll of larger, heftier, and more trucklike SUVs. It rides quite comfortably, too--the bias toward on-road driving means it doesn't need a costly air suspension to keep jounces and bounces to a minimum.

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