Full 2014 Land Rover LR2 Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Land Rover LR2 returns with just a few minor upgrades, including an improved touchscreen interface, better satellite radio functionality and a newly available 17-speaker Meridian surround-sound audio system.
Compared to just about every other small luxury crossover SUV, the 2014 Land Rover LR2 blazes its own path -- literally. Thanks to a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and ample ground clearance, the LR2 is the most capable model in its class you can buy when it comes to dealing with poor weather and off-road trails. But if you're not in full need of such capabilities, the LR2's attractiveness dims in the face of newer alternatives.
Mainly, Land Rover's LR2 comes up short in key areas that are likely to be more important to a majority of luxury crossover buyers. Some of the latest technology and safety features, such as in-vehicle smartphone app integration and blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning systems, aren't available on the LR2. Fuel economy and power from the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine are sufficient but hardly class-leading, and no other engine is offered as an upgrade. And as one of the older models in its class (and the Land Rover lineup), the LR2's overall look and design don't have as much of an impact as they once did.
Granted, this Land Rover is still a pretty nice vehicle. But we think most consumers who aren't regularly hitting up that mountain pass to the ski chalet will be happier with other choices. The 2014 BMW X3 offers gutsier engines and better on-pavement handling. The 2014 Audi Q5 is another worthy contender with stylish good looks and a much nicer interior. The newer 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is another option to consider. Not only is its handling sportier than the LR2's, it has a decent amount of off-road capability of its own, not to mention fresher styling and a wider array of tech features. And if you really do need a trail-ready SUV, the surprisingly upscale 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is priced similarly and offers much more in the way of powertrain options.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Land Rover LR2 is a small, four-door luxury crossover SUV with seating for five passengers. It's offered in a single trim level.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors and keyless ignition/entry. Inside you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power front seats (six-way driver, four-way passenger), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen display and an 11-speaker Meridian sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio input jack.
The available HSE option package bundles xenon headlights, a rearview camera and driver memory settings. The HSE Lux package includes all the above plus upgraded leather upholstery, eight-way driver and six-way power passenger seats and a 17-speaker Meridian surround-sound audio system.
The available Climate Comfort option package adds heated front seats and steering wheel, a heated windshield and heated washer jets. Stand-alone options include 19-inch alloy wheels, a navigation system and satellite radio.
Powertrains and Performance
Under the hood, the 2014 Land Rover LR2 sports a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. All-wheel drive is also standard on the LR2, and Land Rover offers driver-selectable settings to optimize traction in different driving conditions.
Land Rover estimates the LR2 will run from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. Fuel economy is below average for a four-cylinder luxury crossover, with an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in combined driving (17 city/24 highway).
The 2014 Land Rover LR2's list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, hill-descent control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.
Interior Design and Special Features
Step inside the 2014 Land Rover LR2 and you'll find a cabin that feels more open than many vehicles this size. Much of the credit for that positive first impression goes to large windows and the panoramic sunroof that combine to bring in lots of natural light. Add the high seating position, including the elevated stadium-style rear seats, and you have an interior where everyone gets an equally good view of the scenery going by.
The combination of a large 7-inch touchscreen, which has been updated for better functionality this year, and analog buttons and knobs means most controls are easily accessible. The overall look of the cabin is on the plain side, however, and many buyers will find it a letdown compared to newer offerings in this price range, particularly Land Rover's own Evoque.
Up front, occupants will find seats that offer good comfort and plenty of room to stretch out in. The backseat is a little tighter, especially for taller passengers needing legroom. Cargo space is also in short supply compared to other compact crossovers, with a total of 58.9 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded down.
In normal driving, the Land Rover LR2 offers a surprisingly comfortable ride quality for a vehicle with considerable off-road mojo. Its handling is stable enough on curvy roads as well, but with its hefty curb weight and high center of gravity, it's certainly not sporty. The same can be said for the turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the LR2's hood. It provides sufficient acceleration for everyday motoring but is unlikely to set anyone's pulse racing.
Get it on an off-road trail, though, and the 2014 Land Rover LR2 has no equal in the small luxury crossover category. It's not quite as capable as its larger Range Rover siblings over truly gnarly obstacles, but it will still take you pretty far off the beaten path without breaking a sweat.