As one would expect given Land Rover's off-road heritage, the LR2 is the mountain goat of the premium compact crossover segment. The little 'ute isn't quite as compelling as more modern rivals when it comes to day-to-day driving but stands out from the pack as Land Rover's most affordable model.
The LR2 was given a minor facelift last year so its front fascia and rear end look fresh, but the rest of the body has changed precious little the second-generation of Land Rover's entry-level crossover was introduced in 2006.
New wheel designs and additional paint colors were added to the catalog in order to help differentiate the current model from its predecessor.
Inside, the LR2 features a streamlined center console with simple, more elegantly arranged controls. All models regardless of trim come with a five-inch vehicle info screen integrated into the instrument cluster and a multi-function steering wheel.
Like other Land Rovers, the LR2 provides an elevated driving position and plenty of window area for a good view of the world outside. It also features the company's "stadium seating" layout, where rear passengers sit slightly higher than front occupants for increased visibility.
Cargo space measures in 59 cubic feet with the rear seats folded and 26.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up, which is respectably commodious for a compact crossover.
Under the Hood
The LR2 recently swapped its fuel-thirsty V6 for a more efficient turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Sourced from former parent company Ford and paired with a carryover six-speed automatic, the mill produces 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft. of torque and returns 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. In comparison, the old six was good for 232 horsepower, 234 lb-ft of twist and 15/22 mpg.
Although the LR2 is often viewed as a road-focused crossover due to its carlike unibody construction, it offers a number of features geared specifically for off-roading. The 'ute comes standard with Land Rover's unique Terrain Response system, which optimizes vehicle settings to maximize traction in different weather conditions and on manifold surfaces like grass, gravel, mud, sand and more. For more information about Terrain Response, visit our Spotlight On: Land Rover Terrain Response in-depth article.
Additionally, all LR2 models leave the factory with all-wheel-drive and a Gradient Release Control system, which improves driver confidence and control when releasing the brakes on steep and slippery slopes.
These elements, along with 8.3 inches of ground clearance, make the LR2 perhaps the most off-road-ready small luxury crossover on the market, although it still can't quite match up to old-school SUVs like the Jeep Wrangler.
When the time comes to leave the trails behind, the LR2 is plenty refined on the pavement, although customers seeking dynamic handling might be better served by another crossover.
Trim Level Breakdown
The LR2 is offered in base, HSE and HSE LUX trim levels.
The base model LR2 comes standard with leather upholstery, power front seats, dual zone automatic climate control, a two-part panoramic sunroof, a proximity key, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, bi-xenon headlamps, adaptive front lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers and rear park distance control. Audiophiles will appreciate the 17-speaker, 380-watt Meridian AM/FM/CD sound system, which is new for the latest model year. It features HD radio, Sirius satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
The HSE brings a rear-view camera, Xenon headlights with LED running lights. The HSE LUX adds an upgraded 825-watt Meridian stereo along with softer, more supple Windsor leather upholstery.
The list of options include a DVD-based navigation system with a touch-screen display and a Climate Comfort package with heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and heated windshield-washer jets.
All LR2 models come equipped with dual front, side and full-length side curtain airbags along with a driver's knee airbag, traction and stability control systems, electronic brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist.
The LR2 competes against a number of more powerful and fuel efficient small crossover rivals like the BMW X3, Acura RDX, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60.