2008 Land Rover LR2 review: 2008 Land Rover LR2

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2008 Land Rover LR2

(Part #: CARS2008LandRoverLR2)
4.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The premium stereo in the 2008 Land Rover LR2 has very good audio quality and plays music from multiple sources. The navigation system uses an attractive interface while the car has all the off-road gear we expect in a Land Rover.

The Bad We had some issues with the stereo and cell phone interfaces, which are confined to a two-line radio display while there is a perfectly good LCD at the top of the stack.

The Bottom Line We were very impressed with the 2008 Land Rover LR2, which combines solid cabin gadgetry with a luxury interior. And all this comfort rides on Land Rover's legendary off-road platform. At its price, it's a great value.

8.8 Overall
  • Cabin tech 9.0
  • Performance tech 9.0
  • Design 8.0

You could technically call the 2008 Land Rover LR2 a crossover, as it carries its SUV-like body on a smooth-riding independent suspension. But the LR2 comes with Land Rover's Terrain Response System and some pretty good off-road stats, such as 8.3 inches of ground clearance and the ability to wade through 19.7 inches of water. We were also pleased to see that Land Rover seriously upgraded its cabin electronics for the LR2 over what we've seen in other Land Rover models.

The LR2 shows many of the design cues of its bigger brothers. The roof of the cargo area lifts a little, similar to the LR3. Engine vents in the front fenders mimic that of the Range Rover. And the grille has a similar crosshatched metal look as the Range Rover's. The LR2 shows off its Land Rover make well, even if you can see the top of the car while standing next to it.

With the LR2, Land Rover brought its electronics into the 21st century. The exquisite Alpine stereo plays MP3 and WMA CDs, and includes an auxiliary input. Past Land Rovers showed no compatibility with digital music. Although the navigation system still isn't integrated with other car systems, it presents a very nice interface similar to what we saw on the Jaguar XK Coupe. The Bluetooth cell phone integration works almost as well as what we saw in the BMW 328xi. Best of all, our fully loaded review car came in under $40,000.

Test the tech: Supreme Court of Sound
We noticed prominent speakers mounted to the D pillars in the cabin of the 2008 Land Rover LR2 and figured this car must have an impressive stereo. A look at our spec sheet showed that the stereo is an Alpine 12 channel 440-watt Dolby ProLogic II 7.1 surround sound system with 12 speakers. A turn of the volume knob verified that this stereo would require some expert judgment. So we called in our Supreme Court of Sound, our golden ears, CNET MP3 player editors Donald Bell and Jasmine France, and Download.com Music editor Kurt Wolff.

Our Supreme Court of Sound lines up by the LR2.
We loaded our Court into the car and proceeded to drive around the streets of San Francisco. We subjected them to three songs: "Get Back," from The Beatles' Love CD; "Suite Guaracho Pt. 2," from Ursula 1000's Ursadelica, and "El Cuarto De Tula," from the Buena Vista Social Club CD. During our drive, members of the Court commented on the quality of the separation, how each instrument could be heard clearly. They also noted that the sound varied considerably from the back seat to the front, with the bass being stronger in the back.

Jasmine and Donald judged the backseat sound. Jasmine said, "the music was bright and bassy overall, but I got a lot of high-end detail and clarity." Donald commented on how he could feel the bass from the subwoofer through the back of the seat, yet it still felt restrained. Donald pointed out that "the sound was rich and balanced and I was surprised at how much detail I could pick out in the music." Kurt noted, "In the front seat, the separation was pretty intense, more so than I ever get on my home stereo; the bass seemed a bit weak up front and far stronger, bigger, and roomier in the back."

The Court was generally impressed with the audio quality, although at high volume they pointed out that it was potentially too bright. The Court's critical ears gave the audio quality an overall rating of 7.5, a respectable rating.

In the cabin
As we would expect for a Land Rover, the cabin of the LR2 is luxurious, with quality materials and good fit and finish throughout. But we wouldn't necessarily expect this comfortable of an interior from a car with a base price of $34,700--from that perspective the LR2 was off to a good start

The LR2 includes a nice list of standard cabin features, such as leather seats, a front power sunroof, a fixed sunroof over the rear seat, and dual zone climate control. To start the car, the key fob must be inserted into a slot in the dashboard, at which point you can push the engine start button.

Our LR2 came with the $3,500 Technology Package, which adds navigation, the premium stereo mentioned above, and Bluetooth cell phone integration. Besides a few minor issues, we like this set of electronics. We would prefer if there were better integration between these systems--as it is, the LCD at the top of the stack only shows navigation, while a radio display set lower is used to show audio and phone information. It would be nice to see audio tracks and phonebook entries on that nice, roomy LCD.

With a Dolby ProLogic II 7.1 surround sound system, the LR2 made some impressive noise.
The stereo is excellent not only for its audio quality, but for its capabilities. It comes with Sirius satellite radio, which is always nice, and a six-disc in-dash changer. Better yet, this changer reads MP3 and WMA CDs. And the radio display not only shows track, artist, and album information for MP3 and WMA files, it also shows that information for standard CDs formatted with CD text.

For MP3 players, there is an auxiliary audio input placed conveniently at the back of the center console, making it easy to keep the patch cable clear of the driver's space. Another interesting feature of the Technology Package is the rear seat audio controls set at the back of the console. These controls let rear seat passengers plug in headphones and control any CDs in the changer.

Once you program a destination, the navigation system lets you choose from three routes.

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