2010 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
November 20, 2009

The 2010 Land Rover LR2 has the hallmarks of SUV styling, with a much more street-friendly driving feel than other big Rover utes.

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.

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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.

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2010 Land Rover LR2

Styling

It's smaller-scale luxury, but the 2010 Land Rover LR2 echoes the best styling traits of the larger Range Rover.

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. New in 2008, the Land Rover LR2 carries into the current model year with only a couple of different colors to change its look. 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.

The LR2's design is angular-and it's 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. AutoWeek states that the Land Rover LR2 "looks good in an upscale-y sort of way." It "has the more traditional SUV look commonly found in larger models-and some cheaper ones like the Ford Escape," Cars.com remarks, but the LR2 is "definitely more distinctive and handsome than most SUVs." With its front fender vents, big squared-off headlamps, and linear shapes, the LR2 plays off Land Rover heritage. Kelley Blue Book says it's "softened a bit around its edges," but points out how "numerous current-generation corporate cues" are echoed in its sheetmetal, from "functional side vents reminiscent of the Range Rover Sport," and a "subtle LR3-style rear roofline kickup." TheCarConnection.com's editors agree; even with its urban-sized body, the Land Rover's squared theme plays out well, while the LR2 is more practical and rakish at the same time. The two models have some distinguishing features-the base SE comes with black bumpers, while the HSE gets body-color pieces, as well as a rear spoiler-and an appearance package gives 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. Edmunds reports the LR2 "has an unmistakable Land Rover feel to it, which means plenty of leather and wood to go around," though TheCarConnection.com's editors point out a single wood strip doesn't offer nearly as much tree-trimming as the bigger Rovers. Minus the quibbling, "the LR2's interior design is modern and appealing," says Cars.com, adding the "interior architecture mirrors the pricier LR3, with squared-off dashboard controls and a four-spoke steering wheel." Elsewhere inside, 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. ConsumerGuide sums up opinions when it says the interior sports "high-quality wood and leather trim, solid-feeling plastics, and a blocky design imparting an upscale but sporty feel."

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7

2010 Land Rover LR2

Performance

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 Land Rover LR2 driving experience is less about off-roading, more about on-roading-yet it squeezes plenty of both in a useful, capable performance envelope.

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. Car and Driver reports power as "230 horsepower and 234 pound-feet of torque," which gives the LR2 "decent rather than startling performance." AutoWeek reiterates "power is only decent, not great," while ConsumerGuide says the Land Rover 2010 LR2 "lacks solid midrange punch and struggles a bit up steep grades." Kelley Blue Book defends the small Land Rover and calls it "a solid and confident cruiser."

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. Kelley Blue Book says that the 2010 Land Rover LR2's "six-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts in either mode," but Cars.com finds the gearbox "adequate, though there was occasional kickdown lag and gear hunting."

The LR2 doesn't rank highly for fuel economy. The EPA estimates it at 16/23 mpg-"disappointing mainly because the LR2 is less powerful and pokier than the Acura [RDX] and BMW [X3]," Cars.com says, while adding "usually the payoff for lower performance is greater efficiency, not less."

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 and brakes with little of the lean or drama of larger, heftier, and more trucklike SUVs. ConsumerGuide observes the 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." Reviewers from around the Web like its balanced ride quality, though. AutoWeek notes that the Land Rover LR2 "does a great job soaking up potholes." Cars.com reports "ride quality is comfortable even on long hauls ... ride is firm, but it's softer than its sport-oriented German and Japanese competitors." Edmunds contends the "brakes are strong with a progressive pedal feel, but the suspension allows a bit too much front-end dive."

The most critical difference from its bigger brethren? The LR2 doesn't have a low range for its four-wheel drive. Hardcore off-roaders might see this as heresy, but since it's geared for on-road driving, the LR2 defers to street comfort. Car and Driver notes the "permanent all-wheel drive works through a Haldex clutch pack that's mounted in front of the rear differential." They confirm the LR2 has 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. Kelley Blue Book also points out the LR2 has the "ability to pull a 4,400-pound trailer." In TheCarConnection.com's experience, the LR2 possesses more than enough trail-riding capability for most users.

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2010 Land Rover LR2

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Land Rover LR2 can seat four adults in comfort; quality's above average, but small-item storage is not.

The LR2 may be a small Rover, but it doesn't lack for interior room.

The LR2 has enough room for adults to sit in front comfortably. Kelley Blue Book reports "adult-friendly seating space in the front and rear quarters," and Car and Driver agrees "inside, head- and legroom are class competitive." The seats themselves don't have much side-to-side support, and knee room is a little constricted by the dash. Cars.com says the "standard leather driver's seat was comfortable in terms of cushioning and an adjustable inboard armrest."

Backseat space is abundant enough for three children or small adults to sit across, though "large folks might find it slightly cozy, but there's adult-size legroom and headroom on supportive, chair-height seats," says ConsumerGuide. To Land Rover's credit, Cars.com asserts the LR2 has "considerably more...rear headroom" than the Acura RDX and BMW X3.

Behind the rear seat, there's enough cargo space for a few roll-on suitcases. 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." Elsewhere, storage is lean, too. The center console is large enough for two cup holders mounted a little too far back, but there's a decent-sized glove box and door-panel storage. Cars.com says "cabin storage is in limited supply" and the "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."

Editors from Web sites, including TheCarConnection.com, have mostly good things to say about the LR2's fit and finish. Materials are of a "quality that definitely sets it above more modestly priced compact SUVs," says 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, is 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." Noise levels are mostly tamed; ConsumerGuide calls the engine "a bit loud at full throttle" but "nice" and "unobtrusive otherwise." Cars.com observes "the cabin was otherwise admirably quiet."

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8

2010 Land Rover LR2

Safety

Though it hasn't been crash-tested, the 2010 Land Rover LR2 has some advanced standard safety features.

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-an "impressive" amount, Cars.com says. 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. Cars.com adds the LR2's stability control "can detect impending rollovers and attempt to prevent them by applying individual brakes."

The LR2 has rear parking sensors, but it does not offer other more tech-driven safety features like automatic braking, a rearview camera, or lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems.

The driving position is lower and more carlike than in larger Land Rover models, and TheCarConnection.com's editors find visibility to be a minor issue, since the rear roof pillars are wide and block some of the view. Others discover "fine outward visibility," including ConsumerGuide, which adds "the thin heating wires embedded in the optional heated windshield take some getting used to."

Review continues below
8

2010 Land Rover LR2

Features

The 2010 Land Rover LR2 takes care of business with upscale standard features and hooks up audiophiles with high-end sound options.

The list of standard and optional equipment on the 2010 Land Rover LR2 leans strongly toward the luxury side of its brand.

Car and Driver reports an embarrassment of riches for this Land Rover 2010 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." 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. Edmunds also points out standard "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."

Kelley Blue Book notes that "the list of LR2 factory extras is decidedly brief," with most extras bundled in somewhat expensive option packages. The added features include 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.

Review continues below
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