Full 2011 Land Rover LR2 Review
What's New for 2011
The 2011 Land Rover LR2 returns largely unchanged, with the exception of a few minor grille and taillight alterations and another reorganization of optional packages.
As Land Rover's bigger models have migrated over the decades from the untamed African plains to the urban highways and boulevards, these go-anywhere terrain-chomping SUVs have had to adapt to new surroundings. Larger Land Rovers have become symbols of success, but they've also become increasingly expensive. What about those buyers looking to downsize and save a good amount of money? The company's answer is the 2011 Land Rover LR2.
The LR2 attempts to deliver the luxury, prestige and relative off-road prowess of the brand's flagship models in a more city-oriented and pocketbook-friendly package. Pleasingly, the LR2 lives up to Land Rover's famous off-road heritage with decent ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive and plenty of electronic aids to help provide superior traction in challenging terrain. As with other Land Rovers, the LR2 can also soak up potholes with ease while the comfortable passenger compartment remains relatively undisturbed.
However, these positive attributes are outweighed by a variety of faults. Sluggish acceleration from the inline-6 engine is the main one, as the modest 230-horsepower output just isn't up to the task of propelling 2 tons of curb weight with much authority. Not surprisingly, the LR2's off-road abilities compromise its higher-speed handling capabilities on the pavement, which is probably where it's going to spend most of its time. Finally, the cabin is more utilitarian than luxurious, and its cargo capacity is less than what most competing luxury crossovers provide.
To its credit, Land Rover dove into the small luxury crossover market before most other luxury brands did, starting with its original Freelander and now LR2. Unfortunately, most other newer models have surpassed the 2011 Land Rover LR2 in terms of all-around competence and performance. Unless you have to have a small luxury crossover with off-road chops, you would be better served by more well-rounded choices like the 2011 Acura RDX, 2011 Audi Q5, 2011 BMW X3, 2011 Mercedes GLK-Class and 2011 Volvo XC60.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Land Rover LR2 is a small luxury crossover SUV available in one trim level.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights, a dual-panel sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, perforated leather seats, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, a trip computer and a nine-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.
Selecting the HSE package gets you adaptive xenon headlights, satellite radio, Bluetooth and driver seat memory settings. The HSE LUX package includes all the HSE equipment and adds a 13-speaker surround-sound audio system and premium leather upholstery. The Climate Comfort package adds a heated windshield, heated washer jets and heated front seats. Nineteen-inch wheels and a navigation system are offered as stand-alone options.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Land Rover LR2 is powered by a 3.2-liter inline-6 that produces 230 hp and 234 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. In Edmunds testing, the LR2 turned in a 0-60-mph time of 9.3 seconds, which is quite a bit slower than its competitors. Fuel economy is also underwhelming, with an EPA-estimated 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined.
All-wheel drive is standard. The lack of low-range gearing keeps the LR2 from dominating more serious off-road obstacles, but the multi-setting Terrain Response AWD system helps to compensate by optimizing engine power, transmission gearing, center differential engagement, throttle response and traction control to increase mobility in four user-selectable conditions: General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand.
The 2011 Land Rover LR2 comes with a decent complement of safety features that includes antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, roll stability control, hill-descent control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain and thorax airbags and a driver's knee airbag.
Interior Design and Special Features
As is typical of all current Land Rovers, the entry-level LR2 surrounds occupants with plenty of supple leathers and rich wood trim, but unlike the others, some materials fall short of the direct competitors for a luxury SUV. An upright seating position up front provides plenty of legroom and headroom for larger adults, though some may find the low-mounted (and firm) rear bench a tad uncomfortable.
From the driver seat, the instruments and controls are a bit busy and hard to read at a glance, but the optional touchscreen navigation system is mercifully simple and easy to operate. Cargo space comes up short against the competition, allowing for only 26.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 58.9 cubes with the backseats folded.
The 2011 LR2's smooth, luxurious ride is typical for a Land Rover. In terms of performance, though, the LR2 struggles to keep up with the competition, with slow acceleration, uncommunicative steering and pronounced body roll when cornering -- all hallmarks of a vehicle tuned for legitimate off-road capability. The brakes are capable and have a solid pedal feel, but when used aggressively, make the front end dive quite dramatically. The LR2 easily bests the competition when it comes to off-road performance, thanks in large part to the model's ground clearance and Terrain Response system.