According to most reviewers, along with the editors of TheCarConnection.com, the inline six-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission give the 2009 Land Rover LR2 decent overall performance and better-than-expected handling, considering its tall, boxy body.
AutoWeek states that "power is only decent, not great," and Consumer Guide says the Land Rover 2009 LR2 "lacks solid midrange punch and struggles a bit up steep grades." Car and Driver reports that the Land Rover LR2's "transversely mounted [3.2-liter] six-cylinder makes 230 horsepower and 234 pound-feet of torque," providing "decent rather than startling performance"; off-roaders will note that "improvements allow it to operate on a greater incline without losing oil pressure." Nonetheless, Kelley Blue Book comes to the Land Rover LR2's defense, noting that "this compact, all-aluminum engine features a variable intake system, Cam Profile Switching (CPS) and Variable Valve Timing (VVT) that optimize its responsiveness...a solid and confident cruiser, with the muscle to run zero to 60 miles per hour in a claimed 8.4 seconds and the ability to pull a 4,400-pound trailer."
Car and Driver reports that the 2009 Land Rover LR2's engine transmits its power to the drivetrain through "a six-speed Aisin-Warner automatic transmission that has manumatic shifting.” Cars.com finds the Land Rover LR2's transmission to be "adequate, though there was occasional kickdown lag and gear hunting." Kelley Blue Book says that the 2009 Land Rover LR2's "six-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts in either mode."
The 2009 Land Rover LR2 does not include a four-wheel-drive low range, as the toughest off-road vehicles do. Car and Driver notes the "permanent all-wheel drive works through a Haldex clutch pack that's mounted in front of the rear differential." This source adds, "there is no low range, but the vehicle is equipped with hill-descent control." The 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) form the basis of the LR2's off-road credentials; its design favors on-road performance but allows impressive ability for snow, mud, and rocky trails.
The EPA estimates mileage of the 2009 Land Rover LR2 at 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic. Cars.com says this "is disappointing mainly because the LR2 is less powerful and pokier than the Acura and BMW," noting that "usually the payoff for lower performance is greater efficiency, not less."
Consumer Guide reports that the Land Rover LR2 has a "stable and well-planted on-road feel, though [the] tall body leans more than we like in fast turns, and the steering is a tad sloppy and slow." The editors of TheCarConnection.com note that the steering isn't that communicative and feels heavy, but the 2009 Land Rover LR2 maneuvers very easily in parking lots, tight city streets, and narrow country roads alike.
Edmunds reports that the "brakes are strong with a progressive pedal feel, but the suspension allows a bit too much front-end dive."