On one hand, Land Rovers are legendary off-road performers. On the
other, they are luxurious cruisers for the well-to-do. As the newest and
smallest Land Rover, the LR2 attempts to blend the best qualities of a
fine sedan with the rugged off-road ability of an SUV.
I parked my Rimini Red
LR2 tester next to a Range Rover. It was obvious how compact my LR2 was.
I also noted the LR2’s much more laid-back windshield, softer body
contours, and more stylish headlamp and taillight treatments. Land Rover
designers are combining traditional brand design cues with a modern
sensibility to attract new, younger buyers.
The LR2 definitely
preserves the Land Rover high “command driving” position, but it’s not a
difficult climb into the comfortable interior. As they did with the
exterior, Land Rover designers have worked to create a carlike ambiance
that still draws upon the brand’s legendary blocky, high-efficiency
Interior surfaces boast
a high luster and fit together beautifully. Tall glass evokes an SUV
more than a car, and the standard double sunroof lets in abundant light.
Taking advantage of the tall roof, Land Rover’s planners ordered up
stadium seating, so rear passengers sit a little higher than those in
front and enjoy an open, panoramic view.
The metallic horn bars
on the steering wheel are likely a Land Rover tradition. The gauges are
readable and attractive, but are one of the areas where the difference
between the high-priced Range Rover and the more affordable LR2 are
obvious. Using “wood-effect finishes” rather than real wood trim is
another cost-related decision. It certainly looked nice enough, though.
The LR2 features a new,
Volvo-developed inline six-cylinder engine under its clamshell bonnet
(hood). It is carefully engineered to be short enough to mount
transversely (side to side). This creates greater space in the cabin and
aids efficient layout of the safety systems.
The new engine
generates 230 horsepower and 234 lb.-ft. of torque. Eighty percent of
maximum torque is available across the entire rev range, so you won’t
find yourself wishing for more grunt when you need it. The 4,255-pound
car accelerates from 0-60 miles per hour in 8.4 seconds.
The LR2 uses a new
six-speed automatic that was specially developed for the brand. The
electronic system offers settings for Auto, Sport, or CommandShift
manual shift modes. Sport mode holds low gears longer and shifts down
Land Rover claims
combined fuel economy of 25.2 miles per gallon, and the EPA rates it at
16 City, 23 Highway. I averaged 14.3 miles per gallon on premium fuel.
The EPA score for Air Pollution of 7 is good; the Greenhouse Gases score
of 5 is average.
intelligent permanent all-wheel-drive system sends nearly all of the
torque to the front wheels until you run into a change in hazardous road
conditions, at which time it instantly sends some or most of the torque
to the rear wheels as required. A Haldex electronically controlled
center coupling is employed for instant and effective transmission of
torque, more sophisticated than that found in most other garden variety
SUVs and crossovers.
connects the engine, gearbox, center coupling and chassis systems to
respond to the varying driving conditions. Choose one of four settings
using a rotary dial on the center console for General Driving, Grass,
Gravel, Snow, Mud and Ruts, or Sand. In my urban, on-road driving, I
stayed in the first setting.
Terrain Response works
with other electronic systems for enhanced safety and off-road control.
For example, Dynamic Stability Control normally removes torque to wheels
that lose traction, but the Terrain Response system can leave a little
torque there if the system senses that it’s needed. Terrain Response
also fine-tunes the traction control and anti-lock braking systems.
Hill Descent Control (HDC)
automatically restricts downhill speeds, whether the ground is slippery
or not. Gradient Release Control works in tandem with HDC to ensures
that the brakes are released safely on extremely steep hills, where
everything you do matters.
This new Land Rover is
priced to compete with other entry-level luxury SUVs and crossovers such
as the BMW X3 and Lexus RX. My tester carried a base price of $36,150,
including shipping. It also featured a few options, such as the $1,050
Lighting Package and $3,500 Technology Package. These packages added
niceties such as Bi-Xenon headlamps, memory driver seat and mirror
settings, a navigation system, and other upscale features. The total tab
was fairly priced at $41,400.
The LR2 offers a
very enjoyable day-to-day driving experience, and has the brains and
muscle to take you safely through poor road conditions or off road
entirely if necessary. It is distinctive without being too flashy, maybe
just like you.
Schaefer © AutoWire.Net
Byline: SUV Review
provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
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Column Name: The LR2
is distinctive without being too flashy
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