What's New for 2013
Along with subtle exterior and interior styling enhancements, the 2013 Land Rover LR2 gets a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine.
The mission of the 2013 Land Rover LR2 is to effectively deliver the brand's historic attributes of off-road ability and luxury at a price point that can be met by the majority of luxury vehicle shoppers. At this, the LR2 is largely successful. But that doesn't necessarily translate to it being a great small luxury crossover SUV.
With the LR2, you get many of the same features as the pricier models in the Rover lineup, such as the brand's neat Terrain Response system that optimizes traction-affecting vehicle components for any conditions. And its 8.3 inches of ground clearance imparts the same kind of high-stepping ability that enables the grander Range Rover to handle the gnarliest off-road challenges. Truly, the LR2 is the best off-roader in its class.
This year's LR2 is also notable for what's under the hood. Land Rover has dropped last year's underwhelming and not particularly frugal inline six-cylinder and replaced it with a smaller, turbocharged four-cylinder. The Ford-sourced 2.0-liter engine is also used in the flashy (but less useful) Range Rover Evoque. There are other changes as well, including an improved electronic interface and subtle exterior updates.
Even with these changes, though, the 2013 Land Rover LR2 is pretty underwhelming. BMW's X3 offers better handling, a more modern cabin and superior engines, while the highly refined 2013 Audi Q5 is another strong player with a similarly sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and up-to-the-minute styling. As such, we'd only recommend the LR2 if you think you'll truly need its trail-based abilities.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Land Rover LR2 small luxury crossover SUV is available in a single trim level. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, heated and power-folding mirrors, foglights, a panoramic sunroof, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition/entry, Bluetooth, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
Selecting the HSE package gets you adaptive xenon headlights, satellite radio and driver seat memory functions. The HSE Lux package includes all the HSE equipment and adds a 17-speaker surround-sound audio system with six-CD changer, additional power seat adjustments and premium leather upholstery.
The optional Climate Comfort package adds a heated windshield, heated washer jets and heated front seats. Nineteen-inch wheels, a navigation system and satellite radio are offered as stand-alone options.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Land Rover LR2 is powered by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that churns out 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Land Rover claims the new engine will accelerate the LR2 from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. That would be quicker than the LR2 with the old inline-6 but still slow for the class. Fuel economy is also subpar, as EPA estimates stand at 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
Every LR2 has all-wheel drive, but it is a functionally different design than with the larger Range Rover and LR4. The LR2 does have Land Rover's much-copied Terrain Response System, which automatically sets several drivetrain and chassis parameters to optimize traction for four preset selections. Unlike other Land Rovers, however, the LR2's Terrain Response selections come via push-button rather than the signature chunky center console dial.
Standard safety features for the 2013 Land Rover LR2 include 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
One of the signature impressions of sitting in and driving any Land Rover model is the high, upright seating position, and the 2013 LR2 is no exception. Rear-seat occupants get their own "command" seating treatment with a stadium-style setup that assures that the view for those in the back isn't primarily the backside of the front seats. Such good sight lines mean riding in the LR2 is a less confined feeling for all, while the driver benefits from an expansive field of vision, a seldom-mentioned safety advantage.
Updates for the instrument cluster and center console bring some modernity to what remains a somewhat tired-looking layout. The new 7-inch infotainment screen in the center of the dash eliminates many of the buttons formerly scattered about the center console area. Yet there's still a certain starkness here, despite generally upscale-looking materials, leaving some to perhaps question the depth of the LR2's luxury credentials.
Cargo space also lags behind most other top competitors, with 26.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 58.9 cubes with the backseat folded.
Thanks to a chunky curb weight, even the thrust of the new turbocharged engine can do only so much. Downsizing to a four-cylinder engine did improve fuel economy over the old six. But compared to similarly powered rivals, there's no doubt the LR2 pays a fuel economy price for lugging around all that off-road ability.
Road handling never has been a Land Rover strong suit, as the extended ground clearance necessary for proper off-roading (and the corresponding high center of gravity) work against nimble cornering. While the 2013 Land Rover LR2 will find few rivals in tackling tough terrain, most compact luxury crossovers are more rewarding to drive on the road.