2009 Land Rover LR2 review:

2009 Land Rover LR2

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The LR2's navigation system is pretty average, with its graphical menus the only standout feature. The system is DVD-based, so it can be slow at times to look up addresses. Route guidance is adequate, but there is no traffic information or other advanced features. It only offers minimal off-road help, with a compass screen, the capability to trace a route, and destination input by GPS coordinates.

A Bluetooth phone system comes with the Technology package, present on our car. We had inconsistent results trying to pair an iPhone to the car.

The LR2 offers minimal digital music features, with just an auxiliary input, a six-disc CD changer that can read MP3 CDs, and Sirius Satellite Radio. The monochrome radio display shows MP3 CD folders on a three-line display, as well as satellite radio information. We found this display difficult to read in bright sunlight.

The radio display proved difficult to read on a sunny day.

The only aspect of the LR2's cabin tech we particularly liked was the Alpine audio system, which uses Dolby Pro Logic II and 7.1 channel surround sound. Its 14 speakers, getting power from a 440-watt amp, bedeck the cabin, and include a center channel, subwoofer, plus four surround speakers to complement the usual array of woofers and tweeters.

Sound quality is excellent with this Alpine system, almost up to the level of our favorite THX audio system found in the Lincoln MKS. We noticed very distinct percussion reproduction and well-balanced sound throughout. Highs got to the verge of shrill, but never became painful. Vocals came through cleanly.

Under the hood
As with other Land Rovers, the 2009 LR2 makes off-road work easy with its terrain selection dial and hill descent control. We got the LR2 to easily traverse some gravelly hills, going up a steep incline then handling an even steeper descent, its wheels maintaining grip using the car's intelligent all-wheel-drive system. Normally, drive power is put to the front wheels, but almost all of it can transfer to the rear wheels when required.

Land Rover's Terrain Response System makes it easy to select a handling program for different types of terrain.

Land Rover manages to transversely mount a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine in the LR2. With 230 horsepower and 234 pound-feet of torque, the engine has no problem pulling the LR2's 4,255 pounds. The accompanying six-speed automatic transmission is supposed to have driver adaptive logic, along with sport and manual modes. Sport mode holds lower gears a little longer, but doesn't feel terribly different from drive mode.

Although the engine has a relatively small displacement, it doesn't do particularly well on fuel economy. The EPA rates it at 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Although the trip computer stayed between 19.2 mpg and 19.8 mpg the entire time we had the car, our tank average calculation showed 15.4 mpg for mixed city and freeway driving.

Despite a vertical stability program and antisway bars both fore and aft, the LR2 wallows in the corners, showing no capability for hard cornering. The suspension has a lot of travel, which normally means a comfortable ride. Over more serious bumps the car will float up and down, but mitigate any hard hits from the shocks or suspension.

In sum
The 2009 Land Rover LR2 comes in at a very reasonable base price of $35,375. Our car came equipped with the $3,500 Technology package, adding navigation, Bluetooth, and that very nice sounding Alpine audio system. Transportation and dealer fees ran the total price up to $40,525.

In our ratings, the LR2 does best for performance, earning points for its off-road capabilities and comfortable ride. However, it loses a little for its poor fuel economy. It only rates average for cabin tech, with the Alpine audio saving it from mediocrity. The design score suffers from the lack of cabin tech integration, only maintaining an average rating for the practical size and configuration of the LR2.

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