Land Rover's smallest SUV, the LR2, is also the first corporate offering designed primarily for U.S consumers. This premium compact four-door SUV is based on Ford's versatile C1 unit-body architecture, but displays a bold character that's uniquely Land Rover, includes seating for five and is powered by a strong six-cylinder engine. Although it lacks a dual-range transfer case and air suspension, the LR2's slick full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) package and Land Rover's sophisticated Terrain Response System make it an extremely capable, all-season on/off-roader. Available only in well-appointed HSE trim, the LR2's most direct competition will come from other upscale active-lifestyle vehicles like the Acura RDX and BMW X3. However, its mid-$30,000 price point means buyers will have plenty of other (and newer) "crossovers" to cross-shop.
YOU'LL LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you favor tradition with lots of modern topspin, being able to carry an impressive payload of people and/or cargo in style and comfort and the ability to keep going far beyond where the pavement ends, an LR2 should be high on your list.
YOU MAY NOT LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you're a hardcore off-roading fanatic who regularly spends weekends negotiating the great untamed wilderness in low-range crawl mode, pass on the LR2 in favor of a more dedicated go-anywhere alternative like Land Rover's own LR3, a Nissan Xterra or a Toyota FJ Cruiser.
WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THIS CAR
Minor exterior and interior enhancement mark the big changes on the 2009 Land Rover LR2. 19-inch wheels are now standard and a 12-volt socket has been added to the rear cargo area.
The 2009 Land Rover LR2 is 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. Its six-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts in either mode, and the "intelligent" all-wheel-drive system that can instantly transfer power between either axle is bolstered by a comprehensive Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) package, traction control and powerful four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS). Add in a sophisticated Roll Stability Control system, Terrain Response System programming (that adapts for all types of paved or unpaved surfaces) and Land Rover's patented Gradient Release Control and Hill Descent Control, and you end up with an SUV that's amazingly poised, regardless of how or where you travel.
OUR FAVORITE FEATURES
Terrain Response System
This exclusive Land Rover standard feature matches up throttle, transmission, anti-lock brakes and ESP programming, by using one of four different computer algorithms that optimize power delivery characteristics, no matter what kind of surface you're driving on – from grass to snow to sand to plain old pavement.
Excellent Interior Space
In keeping with a longstanding Land Rover tradition, the LR2's cabin is roomy and flexible. The rear seat can comfortably accommodate two adults or three children, and folds flat to expand cargo capacity from 26.5 cubic feet to a maximum 58.9 cubic feet of space.
You'll find plenty of Land Rover heritage inside the LR2 with traditional high-end materials and build quality. Although barely three inches longer than Land Rover's first small SUV, the Freelander, the LR2 gains almost four inches in wheelbase, which leads to a considerably larger cabin with adult-friendly seating space in the front and rear quarters. Both seat-up and seat-down cargo capacities are good for this class, and the rear bay is easily accessed by a large, one-piece rear hatch with a bumper-level cutout. Legible gauges and fairly intuitive positioning of main controls, plus loads of cup and bottle holders, covered and open stow areas and three 12-volt powerpoints (two up front and one in the rear) further add to its charm as a daily driver.
Although softened a bit around its edges, the 2009 Land Rover 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. Despite short front and rear overhangs and 8.3-inches of ground clearance, that enhance the LR2's off-road capabilities, entry and exit to both front and rear seats is a low-stress exercise. Its large glass area – including a dual-panel panoramic sunroof – aid outward visibility and enhance the feeling of spaciousness. The package is aggressively anchored by standard 19-inch alloy wheels mounting R-rated 235/55 all-season performance tires.
NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
The multifaceted 2009 Land Rover LR2 bolsters its impressive mechanical roster of all-wheel drive, Roll Stability Control (RSC), Terrain Response System, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Hill Descent Control/Gradient Release Control with numerous people-pleasing touches. Topping the list are a host of power assists, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, nine-speaker AM/FM/MP3 sound system with six-disc CD changer, wood or metallic-look accent trim, power front bucket seats, 60/40 flat-folding rear bench seat, panoramic sunroof with a front sliding element and fixed rear glass, cruise control, rear park assist, front and rear foglights, headlamp washers and rain-sensing wipers. Passive restraints include dual front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, plus an inflatable driver's knee bolster.
With its extensive array of standard features, the list of LR2 factory extras is decidedly brief. The 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 and rear-seat audio controls. The Lighting Package brings corner-following Bi-xenon HID adaptive front lighting, memory driver's seat and mirrors and approach and puddle lamps. A Cold Climate Package adds heating to the front seats, windshield and windshield washers, while the HST Package adds several grille and body kit enhancements. Stand alone options include a personal telephone integration system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Santorini Black exterior paint.
UNDER THE HOOD
Powering the 2009 Land Rover LR2 is a 3.2-liter DOHC in-line six coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission. Shared with Volvo, this compact, all-aluminum engine features a variable intake system, Cam Profile Switching (CPS) and Variable Valve Timing (VVT) that optimize its responsiveness. In the LR2 it also receives additional modifications to improve resistance to dust, mud and water intrusions, as well as supplemental oil pan baffling to ensure consistent lubrication when the LR2 is being driven on severe inclines. The new six-speed automatic transmission is a solid match, providing both a Sport mode that holds gears longer for quicker acceleration and a CommandShift gate that lets it function like a sequential manual gearbox.
3.2-liter in-line 6
230 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
234 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22
The 2009 Land Rover LR2 HSE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $36,000, and with all the options tops out just over $44,000. Compare these prices to the Acura RDX, which starts around $34,500 or the BMW X3 at nearly $40,000, and the LR2 seems fairly competitive. New Car Blue Book Values that represent prices consumers are actually paying at any given moment can differ substantially, so click on the New Car Blue Book Values to compare. Land Rover's entry-level models have historically maintained only average residuals compared to other entrants in their segments and the LR2 is no exception, posting weaker resale values over time than either the Acura RDX or BMW X3.