2008 Land Rover LR2 Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 6, 2008

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 splices the ruggedly stylish look that draws people to the legendary British brand with honest practicality, without the gas-guzzling and clumsy handling.

In compiling this comprehensive review covering the 2008 Land Rover LR2, the car experts at TheCarConnection.com considered reviews from some of the Web’s top critics. Then TheCarConnection’s editors, who have driven the Land Rover LR2, brought their driving experience to the assessment.

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 is an all-new compact SUV model, occupying the space in the Land Rover lineup formerly filled by the Freelander. The 2008 Land Rover LR2 SE was launched early in the model year, with the upmarket HSE version joining in later.

A 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine gives the 2008 Land Rover LR2 very respectable acceleration; it can reach 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, according to Land Rover. It's coupled to a smooth-shifting and responsive six-speed automatic transmission, with a manual mode and a sport mode for better response. The powertrain is especially snappy and responsive for highway passing, while it also has enough low-end torque for most off-road needs.

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) 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. However, the system in the 2008 Land Rover LR2 does not include a four-wheel-drive low range, as the toughest off-road vehicles do.

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The 2008 Land Rover LR2 has design cues--such as the front-fender vents--that echo those of its bigger brothers, the LR3 and Range Rover Sport, but it's a little bit more rakish, practical, and carlike. Both storage and passenger space are abundant; in back, there's enough space for two adults or three children.

The LR2's driving position is lower and more carlike than that of Land Rover's other vehicles. The steering isn't that communicative and feels heavy, but the 2008 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, however.

Features and options on 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 touchscreen 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 2008 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.

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 has not yet been crash-tested, but its list of safety features 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.

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2008 Land Rover LR2

Styling

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 fits the British SUV mold, with clean lines and an upscale cabin.

TheCarConnection.com sees mostly positive comments about the 2008 Land Rover LR2's appearance inside and out.

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 is an all-new compact SUV model, occupying the space in the Land Rover lineup formerly filled by the Freelander. The 2008 Land Rover LR2 SE was launched early in the model year, with the upmarket HSE version joining in later. The 2008 Land Rover LR2 has design cues--such as the front-fender vents--that echo those of its bigger brothers, the LR3 and Range Rover Sport, but it's a little bit more rakish, practical, and carlike.

AutoWeek states that the Land Rover LR2 "looks good in an upscale-y sort of way," while Cars.com notes that it "has the more traditional SUV look commonly found in larger models--and some cheaper ones like the Ford Escape," but is "definitely more distinctive and handsome than most SUVs." ForbesAutos feels "the more elfish [2008 Land Rover] LR2 maintains a commanding presence, due to the prominent contours of its roofline...it's not as squared off as the LR3 and not as restrained as the posh Range Rover, but it incorporates forms from both larger SUVs."

This Land Rover definitely shares family traits with other members of the Range Rover family. "Although softened a bit around its edges, the LR2's angular sheetmetal still displays numerous current-generation corporate cues, highlighted by front and rear lamp designs and functional side vents reminiscent of the Range Rover Sport, and a subtle LR3-style rear roofline kickup," reports Kelley Blue Book.

There is plenty of praise for the interior as well: "The [Land Rover] LR2's interior design is modern and appealing...interior architecture mirrors the pricier LR3, with squared-off dashboard controls and a four-spoke steering wheel," says Cars.com, while ConsumerGuide reports that the Land Rover LR2's "cabin takes a cue from more expensive Range Rovers by offering high-quality wood and leather trim, solid-feeling plastics, and a blocky design imparting an upscale but sporty feel."

In any event, Edmunds comments that the Land Rover 2008 LR2 "has an unmistakable Land Rover feel to it, which means plenty of leather and wood to go around."

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7

2008 Land Rover LR2

Performance

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 has adequate thrust, but offers good levels of control and braking power.

Respected car reviewers agree that the 2008 Land Rover LR2's engine performance belies its powerful appearance, though overall handling is satisfactory.

A 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine gives the 2008 Land Rover LR2 very respectable acceleration; it can reach 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, according to Land Rover. It's coupled to a smooth-shifting and responsive six-speed automatic transmission, with a manual mode and a sport mode for better response. The powertrain is especially snappy and responsive for highway passing, while it also has enough low-end torque for most off-road needs.

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." AutoWeek states that "power is only decent, not great," and ConsumerGuide says the Land Rover 2008 LR2 "lacks solid midrange punch and struggles a bit up steep grades." Nonetheless, Kelley Blue Book comes to the Land Rover LR2's defense, stating 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."

The 2008 Land Rover LR2's engine transmits its power to the drivetrain through "a six-speed Aisin-Warner automatic transmission that has manumatic shifting," reports Car and Driver. 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 2008 Land Rover LR2's "six-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts in either mode."

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) 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. However, the system in the 2008 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."

Mileage is about what one should expect for this type of vehicle; the EPA estimates mileage at 16/23 mpg 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."

The steering isn't that communicative and feels heavy, but the 2008 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. ConsumerGuide reports that the Land Rover LR2 is "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."

This source adds that the "test model's brakes felt touchy at times." Edmunds, on the other hand, says "brakes are strong with a progressive pedal feel, but the suspension allows a bit too much front-end dive."

AutoWeek notes that the Land Rover LR2 "does a great job soaking up potholes." Cars.com reports the Land Rover 2008's "ride quality is comfortable even on long hauls...ride is firm, but it's softer than its sport-oriented German and Japanese competitors."

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2008 Land Rover LR2

Comfort & Quality

If you're willing to sacrifice some cargo space, the 2008 Land Rover LR2 furnishes a pleasant cabin with ample seating space.

TheCarConnection.com notes that the 2008 Land Rover LR2 provides plenty of room for passengers, but somewhat less for their cargo.

The LR2's driving position is lower and more carlike than that of Land Rover's other vehicles. Kelley Blue Book reports "adult-friendly seating space in the front and rear quarters," and Car and Driver acknowledges that the Land Rover LR2's "Inside, head- and legroom are class competitive." According to Cars.com, the "standard leather driver's seat was comfortable in terms of cushioning and an adjustable inboard armrest," and they note the Land Rover LR2 "has considerably more front and rear headroom than the Acura and BMW." ConsumerGuide says, "Large folks might find it slightly cozy, but there's adult-size legroom and headroom on supportive, chair-height seats"; they do note that, as is the case in most such vehicles, the "[Land Rover] LR2 isn't wide enough for three adults to sit comfortably in back."

"Cabin storage is in limited supply" aboard the Land Rover 2008, according to Cars.com; "door pockets are generous in size, but there's no covered center storage console in the SE, and the glove compartment isn't as large as its sizeable door suggests." Edmunds adds, "Cargo space behind the rear seats is a bit small at 27 cubic feet due to the LR2's high cargo floor. Maximum capacity is only 59 cubic feet, but the rear seats do fold completely flat."

The 2008 Land Rover LR2's materials are nonetheless among the better ones, of a "quality that definitely sets it above more modestly priced compact SUVs," according to Cars.com, which adds that "layout is ergonomic overall, but the slot that the transmitter fob must be slid into to start the car is hard to see, find and reach behind the steering wheel." Edmunds, on the other hand, was not as impressed with the Land Rover LR2's interior: "Materials are average in quality and the overall look isn't very elegant, and the busy instrument panel is a little hard to read at a glance."

ConsumerGuide reports that this Land Rover’s engine "is a bit loud at full throttle but sounds nice and is unobtrusive otherwise. Wind rush is moderate at highway speeds and some tire thrum is noticed on grooved or coarse pavement." Otherwise, says Cars.com, "the cabin was otherwise admirably quiet."

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2008 Land Rover LR2

Safety

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 has the requisite safety gear and adds off-road specialty features, but it hasn’t been crash-tested.

TheCarConnection.com's team of experts saw precious little outside information on the 2008 Land Rover LR2's safety specs.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has published crash-test results for the Land Rover 2008 LR2. The LR2 does sport a list of safety features 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.

Cars.com reports that the Land Rover LR2's "[safety] feature complement is impressive." They also mention the "Ford's Roll Stability Control, which can detect impending rollovers and attempt to prevent them by applying individual brakes," as standard on the Land Rover LR2.

ConsumerGuide reports that 2008 Land Rover LR2 drivers enjoy "fine outward visibility, though the thin heating wires embedded in the optional heated windshield take some getting used to."

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2008 Land Rover LR2

Features

The 2008 Land Rover LR2 has a long list of standard features and a relatively short options list that includes navigation, Bluetooth, and larger wheels and tires.

TheCarConnection.com doesn't note a lot of extras available for the 2008 Land Rover LR2, but with all the standard goodies, it might not need them.

Car and Driver reports an embarrassment of riches for this Land Rover 2008 model: "in keeping with the truck's newfound luxury status, power front seats, leather seating, and a sunroof are all standard, as are seven airbags." Edmunds adds to this list by reporting that the Land Rover LR2's "standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Alpine stereo with a six-disc MP3/CD changer and auxiliary input jack, push-button ignition, automatic headlights and wipers, and rear parking sensors."

Car and Driver reports that "items such as swiveling high-intensity headlamps and a DVD-based touch-screen navigation system are included in options packages" for this year's Land Rover LR2. Kelley Blue Book notes that "the list of LR2 factory extras is decidedly brief," adding that the Land Rover 2008 "Technology Package includes a DVD-based touch-screen satellite navigation system, Bluetooth hands-free integrated cell phone, a 12-speaker Alpine/Dolby Pro Logic II 7.1 Surround Sound audio system, rear-seat audio controls and SIRIUS Satellite Radio." The Land Rover LR2's "Lighting Package brings corner-following bi-xenon HID Adaptive Front Lighting, memory driver's seat and mirrors and approach and puddle lamps." There is also a 2008 Land Rover LR2 Cold Climate Package, which "adds heating to the front seats, windshield and windshield washers. Custom Narvik Black paint is available from the factory, while dealers offer 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 235/55 tires."

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Styling 8
Performance 7
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