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2008 Land Rover LR2 Review

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Model: Land Rover LR2
Engine: 3.2-liter DOHC inline 6
Horsepower/Torque: 230 hp/234 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 104.7 in.
Length x Width x Height: 177.1 x 85.7 x 68.5 in.
Tires: 235/55 VR19
Cargo volume: 58.9 cu. ft.
Economy: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway/17.9 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.
Base Price: $34,700 (includes $715 destination charge)

The Bottom Line – This new, smaller entry from Land Rover is deceptive. You expect the standard high-riding, hard-riding Land rover of the past, but this is another beast. It’s still high-riding, but the harshness is gone. It offers very good over-the-road comfort with Land Rover’s traditional off-road capability.

Land Rover’s new LR2 is classified as a premium compact sport utility vehicle, and competes with the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Infinity EX35. It doesn’t have the same styling panache as the other three, but it does look like a Land Rover and performs almost as well.

Like the competition, the LR2 is equipped for off-road travel with permanent all-wheel drive. Also, like the competition, it isn’t that capable for serious off-roading, with the absence of a low-range gear, although you might want to try it.

There is an iDrive-like knob in the front portion of the center console that allows the driver to set up the car for driving conditions. This switch alters suspension and powertrain calibrations to suit on- and off-road conditions.

Land Rovers have a reputation for being high-riding and hard-riding. In this capacity the LR2 differs from the norm. It is smaller, and therefore doesn’t ride as high. It’s also softer sprung, so the ride quality is very good. Some of the harshness we have encountered with previous Land Rovers is gone. The LR2 retains classic Land Rover/Range Rover styling, which is good for its identity.

Unlike previous Land Rovers I have driven, I felt the LR2 was comfortable. There is excellent side support to the front seats. There’s also good second row legroom with contoured seats.

There is excellent cargo capacity behind the rear seats with the seat backs up, and even more, of course, with the backs down.

Up above, there are two sunroofs; a movable one for the driver and front passenger and a fixed one for the rear passengers.

I found the radio to be a very poor design. It was almost impossible to tune it to find the stations I preferred, even after reading the owner’s manual. I was finally able to adjust it by essentially pushing buttons randomly until I came up with a combination that worked. Once tuned, the tone was great and the radio actually pulled in stations from 60 miles away.

The HVAC system, on the other hand, was excellent (at least in the cooling mode). On some very hot days it cooled the vehicle rapidly.

The cruise control was a good design as well and maintained the set speed well. I liked the “British” instruments, with white-on-black lettering on round dials. In addition, the steering wheel had sensible horn buttons, located next to the air bag. In this era of steering wheel-mounted air bags, it’s almost impossible to locate where on the center section the horn is located.

There is the requisite number of cupholders, with two in the center console and a water bottle holder in each door. The door pockets are deep and useful. There’s also a neat small tray located in front of the navigation screen that’s good for cell phones or sunglasses.

I have to admit I was pleased with the LR2, which is something I haven’t always been able to say about Land Rovers. It’s a good size and has very good road manners.

2008 The Auto Page Syndicate